Minutes of the VSS Board Meeting No 75

Board Meeting Type: Strategic Board             

Tuesday 10 November 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

Beverley Clarke (BC)                 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

Elaine Murphy (EM)                   Head of Service Development

Melissa McCartan (MM)             Business Support Officer (minutes)



A      Apologies


No apologies received.


B     NI Veterans Commissioner


The NI Veterans Commissioner, Mr Danny Kinahan and his colleague Alan Murphy joined the meeting at 10:00am.


The Chair welcomed the NI Veterans Commissioner and Alan Murphy to the Board meeting and introduced the VSS team. MB provided an overview of the role of VSS and welcomed the NI Veterans Commissioner to introduce his role and remit, to gain an initial understanding, and to identify and share learning in potential common areas of our work.


The NI Veterans Commissioner and Alan Murphy left the meeting.


C     Minutes of Previous Meeting


The minutes of the previous Board meeting held on 21 October 2020 were approved.


D      CEO Reporting by Exception


In respect of the VSS business delivery plan, budget report and strategic risk register, MB advised the Board that there is nothing new to report since the previous update last month.


MB provided an update on HIA. It was noted VSS was appointed by The Executive Office on 23 October 2020 as the service delivery body responsible for the provision of dedicated health and wellbeing support and care to victims and survivors of HIA. It was noted community partners are expected to be appointed by 1st December 2020 to deliver local and easily accessible support and services. MB asked VSS Board members to hold 30th November 2020 in their diaries in relation to the HIA Board Assessment Panel.


MB welcomed Board feedback in relation to the HIA logo and branding. MB noted Board feedback and advised changes will be made.


D1    Risk Management Strategy


TL presented the VSS Risk Management Strategy for Board discussion. It was noted the Risk Management Strategy has been revised to line with the February 2020 revision of the Treasury's Orange Book. The Board noted key changes made to section 4, section 6 and section 7.


BMcD requested a PDF version of the VSS Risk Management Strategy.


D2    Risk Appetite Review


AW provided an overview of the VSS Risk Matrix Summary and presented the VSS Risk Appetite for Board discussion and approval. In light of Covid-19, the Board agreed to increase Programme Delivery to risk hungry.


E      Board Objective Setting 2020/21


The Board collectively discussed and agreed their objectives for 2020/21.


AP1: SMT to draft 2020/21 Board Objectives and issue to VSS Board for approval.


It was noted Covid-19 should be incorporated into an objective concerned with how Covid-19 is being managed in terms of service delivery performance and risk.


The Board also agreed that HIA should be identified as a new and separate objective. 


F      AOB


It was noted a survey was issued to all VSS funded community and voluntary organisations with an aim to better understand how VSS can continue to adapt and develop support and services for victims and survivors during Covid-19. MB advised December’s Board meeting will focus on the impact of Covid-19 on victims and survivors, VSS staff and funded organisations.


MB provided the Board with an update on Co-Design. It was noted some progress has been made following a Co-Design meeting with TEO in October 2020 and several meetings with CVS.


G      Date of Next Meeting


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