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Senior Management Team meeting - 15 August 2023

19 Sep 2023
  1. Welcome
  2. Minutes and Action Log from previous meeting
  3. Commissioner 
  4. Communications
  5. Policy Documents – Amendments and Updates – for approval
  6. Finance
  7. Any other business

Michelle Macleod Commissioner (MM)
Phil Chapman Director of Operations (PC)
Sharon Smit Accountable Officer/Head of Corporate Services (SS)
Sharon Clelland Head of Legal Services (SC)
Ilya Zharov Head of Policy & Reviews (IZ)
Laura Duguid Finance Manager (LD)
William Little Senior Investigator (BL)
Jennifer Fisher Secretariat (JLF)

1. Welcome and Apologies

PC opened the meeting and welcomed all Senior Management Team (SMT) members.

Apologies were noted from Rhoda Braddick, Communications Manager (RB).

Matters proposed to be considered in private
SMT agreed to consider agenda items 8-15 in private, for the reasons set out on the agenda.

2. Minutes and Action Log from previous meeting

Draft Minutes
SMT approved the minutes of the July 2023 meeting.

Action Log
AP3 2023/24 - Ongoing

AP4 2023/24 – Ongoing

Members noted the update provided.

3. Commissioner

Update paper
MM provided a summary of the update report (circulated in advance), drawing attention to the following areas:

Civil Case
Appeal Hearing scheduled for 16-17 August at Parliament House, Edinburgh. MM noted that she will attend the hearing on both days. An update will be provided at the conclusion of the hearing and an internal staff message will be issued on receipt of the decision.

Members noted the update provided.

Senior Management Team – Terms of Reference

MM provided a brief overview of the SMT Terms of Reference paper (circulated in advance).

The Terms of Reference were approved subject to any revisions / comments received via correspondence.

4. Communications

Update paper
PC provided a summary of the Communications update paper (circulated in advance), drawing attention to the following area:

Website/Intranet Development
Beta Testing has now concluded. PC and MM noted that the feedback received from accessibility user groups had been helpful and positive. The report provided following testing, all associated actions are currently being considered and implemented.

Next Steps - finalising testing and moving towards go live in September 2023 – MOU’s, Privacy Notices and updates in relation to the Publication Policy and Information reports remain under review / work ongoing – a further update will be provided when available.

Members noted the update provided.

5. Policy Documents – Amendments and Updates

SS provided a summary of the amendments made to the Records Management and Digital Recording Policy (circulated in advance).

Records Management Policy – amendments
SS advised of minor, non-legislative amendments made to the policy i.e., web retention timescales and the operational instruction issued to staff in relation to retention of ‘Day Books’.

Members approved the policy.

Digital Recording Policy
SS advised that digital recording within business areas is permissible only were.

  • there is a legitimate business need to do so

  • recording falls within the guidelines as set out within the policy

  • records are retained in line with the Records Management Policy.

SS highlighted that digital recording within MS Teams must only be used for training events for content which will be made available to other staff at a future time and that all recordings of training events must be approved by a member of the SMT, in advance.

Members approved the policy subject to any revisions / comments received via correspondence.

Update 24/08/2023:
Amended Policy issued via email

Policy Note – Cost Data Associated with Investigations
SC provided a summary and explained the rationale for the creation of the Policy Note (circulated in advance).

Following discussion, it was agreed that the policy note will be included, as an annex, within the PIRC Freedom of Information (FOI) Policy – due to be reviewed by SMT in September 2023.

MM advised that all FOISA responses will be subject of a quality assurance check by SC or MM, prior to issue.

SS advised that a Staff Communication will be issued reminding staff of the importance of laptop security and ensuring that, at the end of the working day, laptops are shut down completely, not just user ‘log off’. SS advised that a full shut down is required as this activates the BitLocker password protection which encrypts laptop data and provides an extra layer of IT security, should the device be lost or stolen. Additionally, staff should perform a full shut down, prior to uplift and transporting the laptop.

Update 18/08/2023:
Staff Communication issued

Members approved the policy note and noted the updates provided in relation to FOI responses and laptop security.

6. Finance

Management Accounts
LD provided a summary of the Management Accounts to end July 2023 (circulated in advance), drawing attention to the following areas.

  • Underspend in staffing costs due to timing of staff recruitment.

  • Latest forecast provided to SG does not include Pay award information published earlier in the week – this has subsequently been amended to show projected increase in staffing costs.

  • Running costs – variances highlighted - Overspend in accommodation costs due to invoice for new accommodation received in July 2023. The uplift in budget for this invoice has not been received but is accounted for and will be included in the ABR (Autumn Budget Revision).

  • Legal Costs – on budget.

  • A full-year forecast will be added to the Management Accounts report and will be available from August onwards.

  • Annual Accounts finalised

SS noted that the annual forecast provided to SG will now contain information in relation to committed costs i.e., employment contracts, website contracts etc. LD continues to work with SG to progress matters and will provide further updates when available.

Members noted the updates provided.

7. Any other business

Oracle Cloud
SS noted that the introduction of Oracle Cloud (Complete HR, finance and purchasing tasks) has been delayed until April 2024. Further updates will be provided when available.

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