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                              AT 8.45 AM

Present:             Nigel Hamilton
                     Will Haire
                     John Hunter
                     Gerry Lavery
                     Andrew McCormick
                     Aideen McGinley
                     Gerry McGinn
                     Stephen Peover
                     Nick Perry
                     Stephen Quinn
                     Bruce Robinson
                     Alan Shannon

In Attendance:       Chris Stewart              Agenda Item 4
                     Bernie Rooney
                     John McMillen              Agenda Item 5
                     Des Armstrong
                     Rosalie Flanagan
                     Colm Shannon
                     Debbie Sweeney      (Secretary)

1.      Apologies: Stephen Grimason
                   Pat Toal

2.      Minutes and Summary

        The minutes of the meeting held on 14 October would be circulated with the
        minutes of 21 October for next week's PSG.

3.      Matters Arising

        Any matters arising will be discussed at PSG on 28 October.

4.      NEDs

        Chris Stewart said at PSG on 1 July PSRU was asked to develop a model for
        generic NICS-wide competition. The new paper of 14 October 2005 proposed
        an open and transparent selection and appointment methodology. It gave
        greater independence and flexibility to ensure the Permanent Secretary, as
        Head of Department, was fully involved in the final selection and appointment
        process. The running of a single competition would provide good value for
        money and the avoidance of duplication across Departments.
     Chris explained that the model had been developed with input from PAU,
     DFP, CPG and Recruitment Service, along with guidance from Treasury
     entitled 'Corporate Governance in Central Government Departments: Code of
     Good Practice' which was cleared by Ministers and issued as DAO (DFP)
     18/05, and following discussion PSG agreed:

     •   the role and person specification for an independent Non-Executive
         Director, subject to one amendment, including an additional requirement
         under skills, 'to have experience of risk management';

     •   the structure of a 3-stage selection process;

     •   the Whitehall and Industry Group would manage the first 2 stages of the

     •   guidance for NI Departments should be published on the NICS intranet.

     It was agreed that further work regarding NEDs should be carried out, namely:

     •   Amend title in NICS guide to Independent Board Member (IBM).

     •   Amend person specification to include experience of risk management.

     •   Undertake a review of public appointees levels of remuneration across NI
         and consider level of remuneration for IBMs.
                                      [Action: Chris Stewart/Geoffrey Simpson]

     •   Clarify the differences between Independent Board Members and private
         sector Non-Executive Directors and include in guidance the differences
         between Independent Board Members and NEDs on NDPs.

     •   Prepare a submission for Ministers informing them of HM Treasury Code
         and proposed NICS-wide generic competition.
                                                          [Action: John Hunter

     •   Inform NIAO of PSG's intention to run a NICS-wide generic competition.

     •   A review of Corporate Governance arrangements across Departments.
                                                       [Action: Chris Stewart]

5.   Procurement

     John McMillen updated PSG of progress on the development Pogramme and
     Project Management (PPM) skills within the NICS and the public sector in NI.

     John emphasised the importance of Programme and Project Management
     skills within the NICS. John informed PSG that three major research projects
     would be undertaken in the autumn, namely:

     •   a study, commissioned by SIB and CPD, of public sector capacity and
         capability to deliver ISNI and other programmes;
     •     a review, by CPD, of the development of PPM as a professional
           specialism in GB and the potential for its adoption in Northern Ireland;

     •     a survey of NICS to determine current scale, skills and deployment of PPM

     John said a half-day seminar for SCS had been held on 'Skills for the
     Information Age' and although a considerable amount of development had
     taken place there was a need for a more co-ordinated approach.

     PSG were in agreement with John's paper and Nigel Hamilton asked
     Aideen McGinley to consider a mandatory SRO Masterclass for SCS as part
     of Sub-Committee C.
                                                 [Action: Aideen McGinley]

     John outlined his second paper on Design Quality Champions which followed
     from a paper recently circulated to the Procurement Board on Design Quality.
     He said that there was a need for a leadership role required within
     Departments with substantial construction programmes and recommended a
     member of the SCS be appointed to take responsibility for ensuring the
     implementation of all aspects of AE. The SCS members appointed would
     represent the Department in the Government Construction Client Group and
     SRO would be required to ensure AE is implemented at the project level.
                                                [Action: Permanent Secretaries]

     For ease of reference, Nigel Hamilton asked John McMillen and
     Des Armstrong to extract the conclusions and recommendations from the
     National Audit Report and NIAO Report and circulate to PSG.

     Nigel asked John and Des to return to PSG for a review of both papers in six
     months' time.
                                                       [Action: John McMillen,
                                                             Secretary to Note]

6.   Tour de Table


     Andrew McCormick informed PSG that the possibility of pandemic flu was
     advanced. The NI Interim Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan had been
     updated and re-launched and was available on the DHSSPS website. The
     Minister would chair an inter-Departmental group of senior officials to take
     steps to ensure that Government in Northern Ireland was prepared to manage
     a pandemic flu outbreak.


     Rosalie Flanagan updated PSG on the BIIGC meeting held on 19 October in
     Dublin. A copy of the Joint Communiqué would be circulated to PSG or can
     be accessed on the NIO website: www.nio.gov.uk/media.
                                                          [Action: Secretary]
Terra Firma

Bruce Robinson updated PSG on Terra Firma's acquisition of Phoenix gas.

Security and Politics

Nick Perry informed PSG that the IMC Report had been issued.

The Secretary of State would hold bilaterals between now and Christmas.

The Secretary of State would be attending a NIAC on Policing and Security on
Wednesday 26 October.


John Hunter said the Budget announcement would be made on Tuesday
25 October.     The Ministerial team and, where possible, Permanent
Secretaries or senior officials should attend the launch.

Nigel Hamilton asked colleagues to pass on his thanks for their contributions
to the budget paper.
                                                             [Action: PSG]


John Hunter updated PSG on NICS pay. The Secretary of State was to meet
for a second time with NIPSA.


Colm Shannon said the consultation exercise on Advertising was coming to
an end. BDS would be commencing a strategic review of EIS services and,
given the commitment to centralise advertising as part of the Secretary of
State's reform agenda, the review provides the means to address the
structured implications of a corporate approach.

The final BDS report will be completed by February 2006 and considered by

Access to Papers

Nigel Hamilton reminded Permanent Secretaries of the protocol regarding
papers from the devolved administration.

Titanic Launch

Stephen Quinn said the Titanic launch had received positive coverage.


Andrew McCormick said that the Minister had announced his decision to
introduce legislation to control smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public
    PQ – Civil Servants

    Alan Shannon said that a PQ on Civil Servant demotions by branch had been

    It was agreed John Hunter would seek legal advice on the issue.
                                                        [Action: John Hunter]

    PSG 25 November

    Agenda: Training Review – Peter Small

25 October 2005

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