Minutes of the VSS Board Meeting No 76

Board Meeting Type: Strategic Board

Wednesday 9 December at 14:00pm

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 (until 3:10pm)

Andrew Walker (AW) Head of Operations

Tara Lewsley (TL) Acting Head of Corporate Services

Nicola Nugent (NN) Health and Wellbeing Case Manager (until 3:10pm)

Melissa McCartan (MM) Business Support Officer (minutes)



A Apologies


No apologies received.


B Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse (COSICA)


The Chair welcomed the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse, Ms Fiona Ryan to the VSS Board meeting. MB requested all in attendance to introduce themselves and outline their role within the VSS.

MB delivered a presentation on the service delivery model for victims of HIA and engaged in a Q&A session between the VSS Board and Fiona Ryan.


MB, NN and the HIA Commissioner, Fiona Ryan left the meeting.



C Minutes of Previous Meeting


BMcD requested one minor amendment to be made to the previous minutes.


The minutes of the previous Board meeting held on 10 November 2020 were then agreed.



C Impact of Covid-19 Covid-19 Sector Survey Report


AW presented the Covid-19 Sector Survey Report.

It was noted that 49 responses were received from 33 funded organisations which has enabled VSS to better understand how we as an organisation can continue to adapt and develop support and services for victims and survivors.

AW provided an update on VSS immediate follow up actions following the findings from the survey report. It was noted VSS issued a Covid-19 call for funding on 23 November 2020 to ensure additional support could be put in place at a community level to address many of the areas identified within the survey. Some of the issues identified include social Isolation and loneliness, technological difficulties and access and increased pressure on staff, volunteers and practitioners.


It was noted VSS will undertake a further review following the allocation of additional funding in order to ensure there is no remaining gaps in health and wellbeing support and services.



C1 Impact of Covid-19: Staff Health and Wellbeing


TL presented the Covid-19 Staff Health and Wellbeing Survey results.


It was noted that the VSS Staff Health and Wellbeing Working Group issued a survey on 14 October 2020 to assist with future planning of support for VSS staff whilst working remotely. In total there were 31 out of 41 responses received.


TL provided an update on the support provided to staff to date and highlighted the key follow up actions following the survey results. There was discussion around the staff assessment of home work area which enables staff to identify and requests for equipment needed to work from home safely and effectively. It was noted VSS will continue to circulate this in order to minimise risk to staff whilst working remotely.


There was discussion around the future of staff working arrangements and the transition period between working from home and returning to the office.

D Date of Next Meeting


The next VSS Board meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 20 January 2021.