David Varney (Chairman)
Paul Gray (Deputy Chairman)
Bridget Harrison (Finance)
Marie Cook (Minutes)
David Varney explained that an event is currently being designed for members of the Senior Civil Service (SCS) that have not yet been seen.
He went on to say that he would like the Operating Committees to report to this meeting and operational review will be a standing agenda item.
He gave details of the changes in Ministerial responsibilities in the Treasury. Some aspects were still being finalised and would be incorporated in the final version put on the website. Stephen Timms has ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) and David has asked Ann Chant to take responsibility for this topic within the department, only IR will go through measurement against the CSR index this year.
David also gave an update of his meeting with Commissioner Bonner who would like a contact in Washington and the possibility of linking in with Customs and IRS. Mike Eland will look at what is needed.
There was a discussion about efficiency savings, rationalisation of functions and business process re-engineering. A presentation on current progress and plans would be made at a future meeting. Mike Hanson to arrange.
Alison French gave an overview of the paper on sick absence rates and explained there is less management information available than we would like, it is therefore difficult to identify hotspots. The team had tried to identify the issues during the summer and some actions have been agreed to tackle this although results are not expected to be immediate. Discussion followed on the statistics, reasons for absence, what is being done about staff in routine jobs or ones where they have no control over processes etc. Management may improve somewhat but we need to identify the underlying cause(s).
Paul Gray highlighted the management challenge as being how to make change a motivator rather than a reason for sick absence.
We could also check sick absence rates in the area to see if there are comparisons with other organisations. If there is an underlying problem where work may change, there needs to be a HR strategy in place to deal with this.
David Varney asked for a discussion of the frontiers - International Trade paper at the next meeting, to consider the Customs-specific issues before a discussion at EXCOM.
Terry Byrne asked about the current position on filling Law Enforcement vacancies, which is becoming more urgent. A panel is being set up for consistency in senior appointments and Alison French is taking this forward.
The issue of what novel and contentious expenditure really means was discussed and Stephen Jones agreed to have one to one meetings with senior managers to clarify and resolve this issue.
Alison French gave an update on the OGC Gateway Forum of GOGGS (Gateway 4 - ready for service). It was agreed that the business case should be finalised and that a benefits realisation plan would be useful.
David Pickup raised the process of the HMRC Bill and the question of settling powers was discussed.
Mike Norgrove raised the issue of the SOCA Bill, which is in process. An update was given on funding, resource etc. SOCA design will be included at a future EXCOM/MANCOM meeting. Action Mike Eland.
Paul Gray praised the successful opening of Terry Byrne's new Technical Operations Group.