Minutes of the VSS Board Meeting No 81

Board Meeting Type: Strategic Board

Tuesday 8 June 2021 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 (from 10:20am)


VSS Officers in Attendance:

Margaret Bateson (MB) Chief Executive Officer

Andrew Walker (AW) Acting Head of Service Development

Tara Lewsley (TL) Acting Head of Corporate Services

Bryan Leonard (BL) Head of Health and Wellbeing

Melissa McCartan (MM) Business Support Officer (minutes)



A Apologies


No apologies received.

B Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 April 2021 were approved.

C CEO Reporting by Exception

MB provided the Board with an update on progress against business plan targets and delivering on outcomes. The following key points were noted:


-       HIA is progressing well, with over 150 individuals accessing support and services to date. VSS, TEO and COSICA continue to meet monthly to discuss operational matters/gaps.

-       VSS CEO and Chair appeared in front of the Committee for the Executive Office on 19 May 2021 to provide an oral briefing on HIA.

-       Some Information retrieval and recording of lived experience will be the responsibility of VSS and community partners from June 2021 and will be part of an integrated health and well-being model. Further engagement is required with COSICA and Redress re: finer details.

-       VSS have been asked by DoH to commence a co-design process to identify support and services needed for victims and survivors of Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries and Workhouses in NI. It is anticipated that this process will commence in June 2021 and run until September 2021.

-       On 27 April 2021, Mr Justice McAlinden announced his intention to open the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme (TPDPS) on 30 June 2021. MB advised a sector meeting was held this morning to discuss the opening of the scheme, with a potential delay until August/September 2021.

-       VSS submitted a briefing paper in respect of the Regional Trauma Network (RTN) to the Department of Health on 31 May 2021. This is still on hold.

D Update on VSS Working Groups

AW and BL outlined VSS approach to engaging, co-designing and communicating with VSS funded organisations on the upcoming important strategic developments and provided an update on the following VSS Working Groups:


-       Gender

-       Recording of Lived Experience

-       Social Support

-       Addictions


AW and BL welcomed feedback from the VSS Board members and engaged in separate Q&A sessions.


D VSS Covid-19 Recovery Plan

TL provided the Board with an update on VSS Covid-19 recovery plan and highlighted the key factors that allowed VSS to move to Phase 3.


It was noted the VSS office is now open for victims and survivors of the Troubles/conflict and HIA on an appointment basis only, from 24 May 2021.



There was discussion around the VSS Audit and Risk Committee Terms of Reference. It was agreed TL will review this and bring to the next VSS Board meeting.


08.06.21 AP1: Head of Corporate Services to review Audit and Risk Committee ToR.


F Next Meeting


The next meeting of the Board is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 27 July 2021.