30 September 2013

NIABT Board of Trustees Meeting

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2013/2014

Date: Monday 30th September 2013

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 5:07pm.


Judith Cochrane MLA

Leslie Cree MBE MLA

Alban Maginness MLA

Robin Newton MLA

Michael Bell, NI Food and Drink Association

Alan Dickson, PricewaterhouseCoopers

David Gray, RSM McClure Watters

Edward Haughey, Norbrook Laboratories

John O’Farrell, ICTU

John Rooney, Rooney Fish

Richard Stewart, Treasurer/ Director of Corporate Services

Tara Whaley, British Telecom

In Attendance:

Louise Close, Deputy Secretary

Andrienne Magee, Outreach Office


Lord Ballyedmond, Norbrook Laboratories

Susie Brown, Secretary

Phil Flanagan MLA, Chairperson

David McClarty MLA

Glyn Roberts, NIIRTA

Dr Joanne Stuart OBE, Attrus Ltd, Vice Chairperson

John Stewart, Director of Information and Outreach

1. Apologies:

Due to the absence of Chair and Deputy Chair, Judith Cochrane MLA presided over the meeting.

Due to the absence of Secretary, Louise Close as Deputy Secretary, acted as Secretary for the meeting.

Apologies are noted above.

Tabled Items

The following media articles were noted by the Board:

  • An article from Chair Phil Flanagan MLA in the publication Agenda NI
  • A press clipping from the Finance and Personnel Minister’s briefing
  • Press Releases relating to two fellowships undertaken by Phil Flanagan MLA, Clarkes Quarries in Lisnaskea and British Telecom in Eniskillen.

2. 2012/13 Trustee Report and Accounts

The Chair referred the Board to the 2012/13 Trustee Report and Accounts and invited David Gray from RSM McClure Watters to present the details.

[5.14pm John O’Farrell joins the meeting]

Mr Gray provided an overview of the Report noting that he was entirely satisfied that the accounts were an accurate reflection of the statements. In response to issues raised by the Board members, he discussed the detail in relation to excess reserves and the variance factors associated with incoming revenue figures.

Agreed: The contents of the Trust Report and Accounts were agreed by the Board.

RSM McClure Watters to resubmit revised accounts for signatures after the income has been broken down as per previous Trustee Reports.

3. Declaration of Interests:


4. Minutes of the meetings held on 3rd June 2013:

Agreed: The Minutes of the Board meeting held on 3rd June were agreed by the Board.

[5.23pm David Gray left the meeting]

5. Matters arising:

The Chair advised the Board that the majority of matters arising at the last meeting formed the agenda for 30th September. In addition it was noted that John Stewart was working on a paper which would look at developing links with Kosovo and that this paper would be brought to the next Board meeting.

Agreed: Members to be provided with a paper on the development of links with Kosovo at next Business Trust Board meeting.

6. Rotation of Board Members:

The Chair referred the Board Members to an Options Paper which provided guidance on the rules pertaining to the rotation of Trustees. It was noted that retiring Board Members could re-nominate for a position on the Board without any restriction on the length of that tenure and it was proposed instead that, in line with best practice, a maximum term should be fixed to ensure an acceptable level of “churn”

Option 2 was the preferred option, however, both a two year term and a one year break were both considered too short and a longer duration is to be considered.

It was suggested that:

  • A fixed term option should only be considered alongside staggered retirement to ensure continuity and quality of knowledge within the Trust.
  • Members should postpone making a decision until the next Board meeting when the Chair and Deputy Chair would be present.
  • Value measurements, such as percentage number of meetings attended, should be imposed to ensure that Trustees would maximize their contribution to the Board.

Agreed: A revised paper will be brought to the next Board meeting on Monday 18th November.

7. Financial Update – Membership Subscriptions

The Chair referred the Members to a copy of the latest figures in relation to Business Trust Member subscriptions. It was noted that:

  • Twenty-five membership invoices (15% of membership) for the year 2013/2014 remained outstanding.
  • Six of these twenty-five Members have indicated that they intended to pay their membership.
  • In the year 2012/2013 ten business members were removed for non-payment of membership.
  • Three invoices remained outstanding for the 2013 Westminster trip.

8. Past and Upcoming Events

The Chair referred the Board to a listing of past and future Business Trust events ranging from June 2013 to October 2014.  She highlighted the fact that the briefing from newly appointed Finance and Personnel Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA, on 10 September was the first briefing to be held at the new 4.00pm time slot and that the event had proved to be a great success attracting over 100 attendees including 23 MLAs with the feedback from both the business community and MLAs extremely positive.

9. Westminster Programme:

The Chair referred the Board to a copy of the attendance list and programme in relation to the forthcoming visit to Westminster. It was noted that individual roles would be allocated to MLAs and to Trustee business members in attendance. Gratitude was expressed to Lord Ballyedmond in respect of his kind offer to host dinner.

[5.37pm Alban Maginness MLA left the meeting]

10. European Programme:

The Chair referred the Board to a copy of the attendance list and draft programme in relation to the forthcoming visit to Europe. It was noted that the NI Executive had been working on the programme based on discussions with secretariat staff and feedback from previous visits. As with the Westminster Programme, different roles would again be allocated to the delegates.

11. Correspondence

The Chair referred the Board to the following items of correspondence:

  • Copy of a letter from Alec McRitchie’s to NIABT Secretary, Susie Brown, 2nd July 2013, acknowledging his time spent as Trustee from the inception of the Trust.
  • Copy of a response letter from Trust Secretary, Susie Brown to Alec McRitchie, 19th July 2013, thanking him for his contribution to the Board.

It was noted that the Trust had invited Baroness Harris, Chair of the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) in Westminster, the Trust on which the NIABT was based, to meet with the Board at the Westminster visit and that a reply was expected shortly.

It was further noted that the IPT CEO, Nick Maher, would be meeting informally with the NIABT delegation in Westminster.

  • Copy memo dated 30th September 2013 from Susie Brown to NIABT Chair, Phil Flanagan advising that the Enterprise Trade and Investment Committee had invited NIABT members to join the Committee on an educational visit to a Dublin Small Medium Enterprise (SME), Solarprint on Thursday 5th December 2013.

The Chair highlighted the fact that Solarprint had successfully drawn down funding through the Framework Programme 7 and that they wished to help other SMEs understand the process and therefore aid and support applications for funding under Horizon2020 (which has replaced FP7).

There followed a discussion about the benefits of this partnership visit with the ETI Committee and of the need to provide guidance and direction for local business in applications for European funding grants.

Agreed: An invitation is to be issued to all members.

The NIABT is to investigate having this topic covered in a briefing.

12. 2014 President’s Dinner

The Chair drew the Board’s attention to the fact that, at a previous Board Meeting, it had been agreed to invite Daniel Calleja Crespo as the keynote speaker for the 2014 President’s Dinner. She noted that, although Mr Crespo had expressed his desire to attend, he was unable to confirm this diary appointment until December 2013 and asked the Board if they would be content to wait until December as oppose to selecting another speaker.

Agreed: The Board agreed to wait until December for confirmation in respect of Mr Crespo’s availability as keynote speaker for the 2014 President’s Dinner.

13. Large Business Steering Group

The Chair referred the Board to a copy submission in relation to the next Large Business Steering Group event. She drew attention to the fact that a dinner had been scheduled to take place on 26th November at which existing large business members would be encouraged to invite a non NIABT business guest. It was noted that the Committee Chairs of Finance and Personnel, Employment and Learning and Enterprise, Trade and Investment had all confirmed their intention to attend this event which would involve a rotation of the Chairs and business guests to maximize the networking opportunities.

Agreed: The Board agreed to support the Large Business Steering Group event scheduled to take place on Tuesday 26th November 2013.

14. Membership Applications

The Chair referred the Board to a list of new applications from local organisations to join the Trust.

[5.58pm Robin Newton MLA left the meeting]

There followed a discussion revolving around the following issues:

  • The necessity to operate a clear policy in relation to the acceptance of a subsidiary company or of a department within a company or organization as a member.
  • The possibility of scrutinizing company accounts in the assessment and identification of membership fees.
  • The acceptance of company applications at “face value” and possible benefits of employing a credit reference agency in the vetting of applications.
  • The need for clarity in the practice of NIABT umbrella organisations and PR companies opening up NIABT membership to their own member companies.
  • The benefits of having academic representation in the Trust.

Agreed: Board to review the rules and guidelines in respect of Trust new member application forms.

The Board agreed to accept all but one of the new applications.

15. Membership Removals

The Chair referred the Board to a list of businesses shortly due to be expelled from the Trust due to nonpayment of fees. It was noted that at least six of these businesses were still likely to renew their membership and that for the purpose of collating feedback, exit proformas would be issued to any who chose to leave.

The Chair drew the Boards’ attention to the fact that, with another ten approved applications, the business membership figure will stand at 144.

16. Risk Register

The Board noted the contents of the June 2013 NIABT Risk Register and agreed to return this item to the agenda of the next meeting.

Agreed: Any thoughts on the Risk Register to be raised at the NIABT meeting scheduled to take place on Monday 18th November.

17. NI Charities Commission Update

The Chair advised the Board that the NI Charities deemed list (a list of existing charities previously held by HMRC) would be migrating over to the NI Charities Register over the next four years. It was noted that from November 2013, existing charities on the deemed list would be transferred in batches of around 200 and that there were in total approximately 7000 charities on this list.

It was further noted that, when transferring to NI Charities Register, charities would be asked to complete an annual on line monitoring return.

18. Any Other Business

There was no further business.

Date of Next Meeting

The Chair confirmed that the next meeting would be held on Monday 18th November at 5.00pm.

The meeting was adjourned at 6.15pm.

Mr Phil Flanagan MLA

Chair, Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust

25th November 2013