Minutes of the VSS Board Meeting No 70

Board Meeting Type: Strategic Board Meeting       

Tuesday 12 May 2020 at 10:00am

Remote – via Zoom



Board Members Present:

Oliver Wilkinson (OW)               Chair

Patricia Haren (PH)                   Board Member

Bertha McDougall (BMcD)         Board Member

Richard Solomon (RS)               Board Member


VSS Officers in Attendance:

Margaret Bateson (MB)             Chief Executive Officer

Andrew Walker (AW)                 Acting Head of Operations

Tara Lewsley (TL)                     Acting Head of Corporate Services

Melissa McCartan (MM)             Business Support Officer (minutes)




A      Apologies


Apologies were received from VSS Board Member Beverley Clarke.



B      Minutes of Previous Meeting


The minutes of the previous Board meeting held on 22 April 2020 were approved.



C     Discussion of Strategic Matter for the year ahead


The Board discussed strategic matters for the year ahead and highlighted which areas they wish to focus on over the next 12 months. This included VSS’ approach to PEACE Plus, Historical Institutional Abuse, the needs of the bereaved and carers and a review of the INP frameworks and Victim Support  Programme.


Other strategic issues the Board wish to discuss is how to progress the VSS needs based model and how to amend VSS’ offering of services with virtual HWB interventions - once data is gathered post Covid-19 period.


It was noted MB, AW and Chairman OW have attended various meetings with VSS funded groups in relation to PEACE Plus and will continue to do so in the coming weeks.



D      Update from Northern Ireland Office on Legacy


NIO attended the meeting from 11:00am to provide the Board with an update on the recent Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) and the Victims Payment Scheme. NIO welcomed questions from the Board and VSS Officers in attendance.


Recent Written Ministerial Statement (WMS)


It was noted the written ministerial statement was issued in March 2020 outlining the Governments new approach to addressing the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland. It was advised that, due to Covid-19, the deadline to legislate within 100 days as set out in the ‘New Decade, New Approach (NDNA)’ agreement, had not proven feasible; and the appropriate moment for further detailed engagement with the NI parties, Irish Government and wider sector was currently under careful review.

Victims Payment Scheme

It was noted legislation of the scheme is due to have effect by the end of May 2020.  NIO confirmed that responsibility for the administration and implementation of the scheme is with the Executive Office. VSS noted communication in relation to the timeline of the scheme by TEO needed to be addressed as soon as possible.



E      AOB


The Chairman requested availability from VSS Board Members to arrange individual Zoom meetings to discuss Board Appraisals.


AP1: BSO to set up Zoom meetings on behalf of OW and issue Zoom invites to Board Members. 



F      Date of Next Meeting


The next meeting of the Board is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 9th June 2020 via Zoom.