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Board Meeting Monday 1st November 2010 Boardroom, SPSO, Edinburgh 10.30am – 5.00pm Minutes Present: Professor Alan Miller (Chair) Shelagh McCall Matt Smith In Attendance: Sharon Barbour (Minute Secretary) Bruce Adamson (Item 6.1) Lyndsay Cameron (Items 5 & 6.1) Kavita Chetty (Items 6.1 & 8) Duncan Wilson (Item 6.1) Apologies: Professor Kay Hampton 1. There were no declarations of interest. 2. The minutes of the meeting held on 6th September 2010 were approved. 3. MATTERS ARISING AM confirmed that DW has been working on integrating KPIs into OP2 and should be in a position to update the Board regarding this at the December 1 Board meeting. Integrating KPIs has been flagged up as a necessity both internally and externally re recommendation of Key Issues Memorandum provided by the Commission’s external auditors. Update re Flexi/Toil policy: staff contracts do not provide guidance on this. Having checked with the Scottish Parliament, their policy is to pay overtime to staff re overnight stays. The current policy of the Commission is to give staff equivalent of 0.5 day as TOIL for any overnight stays incurred as consequence of Commission business. AM confirmed that he has communicated the recommended changes re the MOU to the EHRC Scotland Director. The MOU will be an agenda item for the EHRC Scotland Committee next month and thereafter will go to EHRC Board for approval. 4. CHAIRS REPORT AM confirmed that there have been three major milestones since the Board last met in September. These are the launch of the Care About Rights project, the ICC Biennial conference and the outcome of the Cadder decision and subsequent emergency legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament. Kavita Chetty will provide a separate update re Care About Rights. ICC Biennial AM confirmed that he has received extremely positive feedback following the conference, with good relationship building with the Scottish Parliament and the institutional link which the Commission has within the UN system has been successfully demonstrated along with the international contribution which the Commission can make. Following on from AM’s comments, the Board wished to record their gratitude to all the Commission staff for their hard work in making the Biennial such a success. AM confirmed that the Euro Chair position which is currently held by the Irish Commission is due to expire in Spring 2011. This role involves chairing four European NHRIs who act as bureau members. Several NHRI’s propose to nominate the Commission to take up the post of Euro Chair in the Spring and AM proposed to the Board that the Commission accepts such nomination. In addition, the Irish are currently seeking permission to be granted EU funding to establish a secretariat, which if successful would be set up within the next few months. AM is confident that if the secretariat is set up this will mean the role of Euro Chair should not have significant financial/resource implications or staff overburden for the Commission. He envisages that himself, Bruce Adamson and an intern would complement the work of the secretariat. Decision – in principle the Board accepted the benefits of the Commission accepting nomination, but welcomes further information on potential of a secretariat being established. 2 Post Cadder decision & Emergency Legislation AM provided the background to the Cadder judgement which was made last Tuesday (26th Oct). The Scottish Government introduced emergency legislation the following day which was passed in only a number of hours. On Wednesday morning (27th Oct) the Commission had first sight of the Bill and sent an open email to all MSPs in advance of the afternoon debate outlining the reasons why they should oppose the Bill and the concerns of the Commission regarding the provisions of the Bill. The outcome however was that the Bill was voted in favour with only one amendment. The following evening AM appeared on Newsnight Scotland to express his criticisms of the Bill on behalf of the Commission and to highlight the shortcomings of the legislation that had been passed. It has been announced that a judicial enquiry into the Supreme Court judgement is to be launched by the Justice Secretary which will be conducted by Lord Carloway. AM proposed to write to the Justice Secretary seeking confirmation that the Lord Carloway remit will include a proper review of the implementation of the extended powers of detention of suspects. If such assurance is not forthcoming the Commission will look at other avenues available to it in tandem with the Lord Carloway enquiry which is due to release its findings in Feb/March 2011. The Commission would release its findings shortly after this. 5. BUDGET UPDATE A monthly budget update paper was provided by Lyndsay Cameron. She confirmed that the Commission is still waiting on some final invoices following the Biennial. No further clarification of the budget report was required. 6. MATTERS FOR DECISION 6.1 Comprehensive Spending Review, SHRC Budget 2011/12 AM updated the Board re outcome of the SPCB meeting held on 6 October. As the SPCB has to present its budget to the Finance Committee on 23 November, the purpose of the meeting was for the officeholders to confirm where they have successfully made cuts and the potential for making future cuts. AM outlined the position of the Commission as being fit for purpose with a staffing structure that works extremely well. The main issue for the Commission is that the current office location. Staff had been made aware of the voluntary redundancy offer but this was not taken up by anybody in the Commission. The Commission is therefore committed to finding savings by other means. The 15% real term cut over three years in terms of the Scottish Parliament budget has not changed since the outcome of the comprehensive spending 3 review. The Commission could significantly reduce its budget in year 2011- 2012, by relocating its office to Edinburgh to co-locate with SPSO. In addition to this the Commission proposes to reduce its current CPD budget by 60%. All staff have been consulted on both of these proposals. While reducing office rental costs for the Commission, co-locating with SPSO would also generate further cost savings of £60,000 for SPCB. The Chief Executive, Paul Grice, has expressed his appreciation that the Commission is willing to consider relocation. Further cuts in the Commission’s budget could also be identified when planning for SP2. Regarding the proposal to co –locate with SPSO in Edinburgh, a business case paper and risk assessment was prepared in advance by AM and LC and circulated to the Board for a decision to be made on proceeding with an office move from Glasgow to Edinburgh. Any move, however, would require two desks to be retained in Glasgow for operational reasons, with additional laptop provision, just as at present the Commission has two desks in Edinburgh. The Board debated the proposal and a variety of concerns/issues were addressed as follows: Re-location costs. There is a robust positive business case (other than budget savings) for the Commission to be located in Edinburgh as majority of external meetings are already conducted in Edinburgh. The biggest risk to the Commission’s operational delivery would be if does not retain the staff it currently has. Other cost saving measures such as staff cuts could jeopardize the work of the Commission and damage morale. The relocation would take place on the basis that two desks are retained in Glasgow for the use of staff residing in Glasgow. Access to a meeting room should also be guaranteed. Both AM and DW confirmed that working patterns would not alter significantly from current working arrangements whereby some staff currently work in Edinburgh on a regular basis instead of Glasgow or undertake home-working. It was noted that there would be extra demands placed on team leaders to ensure regular structured team meetings. Contracts – currently all staff with exception of one member, have contracts which stipulate that their place of work is Glasgow. It was agreed that should the office re-locate to Edinburgh, employees who currently reside in Edinburgh should have their contracts changed to Edinburgh and for all others this would be a matter for personal decision. If any staff member left, that vacancy would be re-advertised in due course as an Edinburgh based contract. It was clarified that the SPCB determine the Commission’s budget and staffing structure, but conditions of staffing are a matter for the Commission. Travel costs – for those with Edinburgh contracts, any travel to be undertaken to Glasgow (as with anywhere outside Edinburgh) would have their travel costs met by the Commission. For those remaining on Glasgow 4 contracts (residing in Glasgow) they would still be required to travel to Edinburgh from time to time, and as such their travel costs would be met by the Commission. It was noted that there would be increased travel expenses for KH and MS to attend Board meetings or other Commission business in Edinburgh, although this was not deemed to be a significant cost increase. Decision – The Board approved an office re-location to Edinburgh. 7. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 7.1 Draft Commissioners Handbook. Further editing will be completed by AM and LC for discussion and decision at December Board meeting. 8. AOB MS has agreed to be co-sponsor of National Action Plan programme under OP2. Care About Rights Update KC provided the Board with an update on this project. The launch took place on 9 September in Glasgow. It was well attended with a diverse audience. Since Sep, three ‘training the trainer’ events have taken place, in Inverness, Glasgow and Paisley. Seventy people have now been trained and they will in turn train a further twenty people each. The Commission has also been approached to conduct a session for BUPA which is likely to take place in Jan 2011. Other organisations, have also expressed an interest. A letter has been sent to Shona Robison MSP inviting her to meet with AM to discuss the project. External training course are also running in various locations and after distribution of training packs to registered care services most courses have been fully booked. It is hoped that by Feb 2011 the Commission will be in a position to evaluate the scheme. There have also been meetings with the Care Commission regional team managers and the employment development team. Outreach sessions have taken place in Inverness and Galashiels and there has been positive feedback from these. The Commission’s website will have a section dedicated to Care About Rights to offer an online training tool. This will hopefully be operational by Christmas. The Scottish Gov will host a lunchtime seminar in Jan 2011 and Irene Oldfather MSP will be organising an event at the Scottish Parl also in January. Other key developments in the Dignity & Care programme include: The Commission has responded to the Social Care Procurement guidance consultation and recommendations have been taken on board, so the Commission must continue to stay engaged with the implementation process. 5 The Commission has also been invited to participate in the work of the Electoral Commission in investigating the issue of voting rights for older people in care homes. Regarding the policy area of self-directed support this is an area of work that the Commission can contribute to re social care policy issues. Date of next meeting – The next meeting will take place on Wed 15th Dec at SPSO, Edinburgh. 6
"Scottish Human Rights Commission"