Date: 29 February 2024

Time: 14:00

Venue: Microsoft Teams


  • Dr Mark Simpson (Interim Co-Chair)
  • Judith Paterson (Interim Co-Chair)
  • Dr Marilyn Howard (Member)
  • Dr Jackie Gulland (Member)

Apologies: None

In attendance (SCoSS Secretariat)—

  • Stephen Herbert, Secretary
  • Andrew Strong, Head of Policy and Scrutiny
  • Andrzej Hagger, Analysis and Participation Officer
  • Christopher Galloway, Analysis and Participation Support Officer
  • Lisa Kinnear, Governance and Engagement Officer
  • Graeme Hill, Audit Adviser, in attendance for agenda items 9 to 13.

Interim Co-Chair, Dr Mark Simpson, welcomed the Commissioners to the second meeting of the Board in 2024.

Members did not have any relevant interests to declare.

The Minutes of the January Board meeting were considered and, following amendment, agreed.

In attendance—

  • Martyn Lindsay, Team Leader for Challenge Rights Policy;
  • Charlotte Walmsley, Policy Manager for Short-Term Assistance and Re-determinations; and
  • Lesley Mure, Senior Principal Legal Officer.

Scottish Government officials presented to the Board on the purpose and content of the regulations, highlighting specific client scenarios and how the value of short-term assistance is calculated.

The Board discussed the content, and agreed the approach to scrutiny, of the draft regulations.

The Board considered the process and timescale for scrutinising the draft regulations.  The Board noted that the secretariat had contacted stakeholders for initial views on the draft regulations. The Board agreed on a process for questions to be sent to Scottish Government officials for further clarification on the content of the draft regulations and to external stakeholders on specific issues.

The Board agreed, given the timescales for scrutiny of the draft regulations on short-term assistance and carer’s assistance, to hold an ad-hoc meeting on 15 March to consider further the draft regulations and the SCoSS response.

Andrzej Hagger spoke to the expected content of the forthcoming draft regulations. The Board considered the process for scrutinising the draft regulations. The Board also considered and agreed a list of stakeholders to be contacted for their views on the draft regulations. The Board agreed that Mark Simpson would lead on this report.

The Board agreed Dr Mark Simpson and Dr Marilyn Howard as the members of the Charter Sub-Committee.

Andrew Strong noted that the Glen Shuraig review recommended that SCoSS should consider reviewing its stakeholder engagement strategy. The Board discussed the content of a draft strategy and agreed to consider a further draft of the strategy at a future Board meeting.

The Board considered a draft 2024-25 Business Plan and provided a range of comments. The Board agreed that the draft plan be circulated to members for any further comments.  The Board noted that the Business Plan will be considered at a future Board meeting following consideration by the Scottish Government Sponsor Unit.

The Board noted that an updated and revised version of the framework document, which governs the relationship between the Commission and the Scottish Government, was a recommendation of the Glen Shuraig report.  The Secretary of the Commission noted that the revised document had been reviewed by the Scottish Government Sponsor Unit and a range of other offices within the Scottish Government.  The Board considered and commented on the content of the revised framework document. The Board agreed that the draft plan be circulated to members for any further comments prior to consideration by the Accountable Officer

The Board considered a revised financial forecast for 2024-25 based on priorities identified by the Board at the January board meeting which would allow for expenditure within the £450K budget allocation.

The Board agreed the 2024-25 finance forecast and that a mid-year review of the 2024-25 financial position be undertaken by the Secretariat and Sponsor Unit for consideration by the Board.

The Audit Advisor Graeme Hill noted that the risk register was reviewed at the February Audit Sub-Committee and that two new risks were agreed by the Audit Sub-Committee for consideration by the Board.  Both of the new risks related to the 2024-25 financial position.

In addition, the Board agreed that a risk relating to the 2023-24 financial position could be removed from the risk register as it was clear that expenditure would be within the 2023-24 budget.  The Board also agreed that the risk relating to the loss of the Audit Advisor position during March 2024 should be updated and monitored closely.  The Board noted that a legacy report by the Audit Advisor had been considered by the Audit Sub-Committee and that implementation of the recommendations in that report would be considered at the next meeting of the sub-committee.

The Board agreed, subject to the amendments detailed above, the revised risk register.

The Board agreed Board meeting dates for August to December 2024.

Interim Co-Chair, Judith Paterson, updated the Board on the content of her meeting with the Chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee, Dr Stephen Brien.

Andrew Strong provided an update on scrutiny of the social security charter.  The Board noted, in this regard, that three events are scheduled in March with organisations who work with people with communication needs.

Interim Co-Chair, Mark Simpson, noted that this was Audit Advisor, Graeme Hill, last Board meeting. The Board thanked Graeme for the extensive contribution he has made to support and improve the governance of SCoSS, and wished him well for the future.


Meeting closed at 17:20

Date of next meeting: Thursday 28 March

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