Scotland: committee meeting minutes September 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the Committee for Scotland held virtually on Wednesday 9 September 2020 at 9.30am.

Members:      

  • Ray Macfarlane (Chair)
  • Sam Anderson
  • Liz Davidson
  • Gillian Findlay
  • Stuart Housden
  • Alice Mayne
  • Martyn Wade

Apologies:

  • Beltus Ojong Etchu

Committee Business

1. Welcomes and apologies         

Oral

The Chair welcomed everyone to the second meeting of the financial year for the Committee for Scotland, noting that due to the continuing Covid situation this meeting was being held virtually.

  • Ray welcomed Drew Bennellick, Head of Land and Nature Policy UK who is currently involved with the DEFRA Green Recovery Fund in England and is attending to observe and answer any queries arising about this funding.

2. Minutes from the last meeting held on 10 June 2020 and matter arising      

  • Sam Anderson requested that the Wider Strategic discussion is cross referenced with comments submitted prior to last meeting.  In response the minutes have been amended to detail that Covid-19 experiences has highlighted/heightened inequalities. These were agreed and the minutes subsequently signed by the Chair.

3. Declarations of interest

  • Stuart Housden declared an interest in the Orkney Wildlife Project (item 10).  RSPB is the applicant and as Stuart was the Director of the RSPB Scotland until 2017 and Executive Director of RSPB UK Wide until October 2017 this represented a conflict of interest and it was agreed that he would absent himself from the room for the discussion and decision.

4. Chair’s Report

Oral

The Chair noted the following: 

  • The Scotland team were thanked for their hard work assessing the Heritage Emergency Fund applications. In Scotland 105 projects were awarded Heritage Emergency funding.
  • Caroline Clark was thanked for attending the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee highlighting the needs of the sector alongside representatives from the National Trust for Scotland, Abbotsford and Historic Environment Scotland.  
  • The Chair attended the Scottish Lottery Distributors Chair and Chief Executives Forum meeting in August.

5. Corporate Update

Eilish McGuinness, Executive Director of Business Delivery and Colin Bailey, Executive Director, Business Services provided an update on corporate activity.  Key points noted were as follows:

  • Since the launch of the Corporate Strategy the Fund has been through significant change including the unprecedented impact on the heritage sector of the Covid 19 pandemic.  The Fund has taken account of these changes and has published a refresh of the Corporate Strategy in June 2020 making it clearer how the strategy relates to the Strategic Fund Framework outcomes.
  • The Heritage Emergency Fund is now closed.
  • The Fund has been awarded £115m in partnership with Historic England to deliver the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage in England only.  The UK Government allocated sums to the devolved governments via the Barnett Formula with Scotland receiving £97million.
  • In order to effectively manage, fund and deliver the emergency and recovery phases of Covid-19 it was necessary to close our standard grants programme.
  • A review of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is underway considering four key areas of our work; our workforce; culture, operations and governance. The review will consult both internally and externally.

Colin Bailey, Executive Director, Business Services, presented a verbal update on the Equality; Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) workforce matters detailing what is currently in development and in the pipeline.

6. Area/Country Director’s Report

The paper was presented by Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland highlighted the following key areas.

  • This September the Scottish Government published its Programme for Government setting out its legislative programme & priorities for remainder of the parliamentary year 2020-21. Its key themes include Green recovery, addressing digital exclusion, and driving digital innovation.
  • In July we supported ‘My School, My Planet’ a £275,000 pilot across the UK to re-engage pupils with their school environment, support wellbeing and encourage a greater connection with their natural heritage through outdoor education programme. The project is being delivered by Learning Through Landscapes, a Stirling-based charity and seven Scottish schools are signed up.
  • Greenspace Scotland were commissioned to develop Scottish guidance on re-opening and managing parks, gardens and greenspaces safely during the pandemic.  This was launched in July.

7. Area/Country Budget Overview

This paper was presented by Riona McMorrow Head of Investment.   Riona confirmed our standard grants programmes remain closed for the time being due to the Fund’s response to the Covid 19 pandemic. 

SF4 Grant Increase applications for discussion and decision

8. Charles Rennie Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms restoration, preservation and creating a legacy for future generations; HG-16-01484

Applicant: The Willow Tea Room Trust

Request: Award grant increase of £1,107,400 to make a total grant of £4,687,100

Previous grant award: Charles Rennie Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms restoration, preservation and creating a legacy for future generations.  Board of Trustees awarded a grant of Award Grant of £3,579,700 (60%) in June 2017.

Reason for grant increase:  Increased construction costs and the loss of income over a sustained period due to Covid 19.  

The Committee for Scotland AWARDED a grant increase of £1,107,400 to make a total grant of £4,687,100  (66% of total project costs).

9. Govanhill Baths Wellbeing Centre; Project HG-15-00056

Applicant: Govanhill Baths Building Preservation Trust

Request: Award Grant Increase of £540,000 to make a total grant of £2,450,000

Previous grant award:   Govanhill Baths Wellbeing Centre: The Committee for Scotland awarded a grant of Award Grant of £1,500,000 (23%) in 2018.

Reason for grant increase:  Tender returns significantly higher than anticipated.

The Committee for Scotland AWARDED a grant increase of £540,000 to make a total grant of £2,040,000 (23% of total project costs).

10. Orkney Native Wildlife Project; HG-16-02405

Stuart Housden left the room before discussion commenced.

Applicant: RSPB Scotland

Request: Award Grant Increase of £743,000 to make a total grant of £4,231,400 (51%of the total project costs)

Previous grant award:   Orkney Native Wildlife Project: The Committee for Scotland awarded a grant of Award Grant of £3,488,000 (48%) in 2018.

Reason for grant increase:  Impact of Covid 19 on project delivery.

The Committee for Scotland AWARDED a grant increase of £743,000 to make a total grant of £4,231,400 (51% of total project costs).

SF4 Grant Increase applications for discussion

11. The Burrell Collection Redevelopment Project; Project Reference

Applicant: Glasgow City Council

Request: Award Grant Increase of £2,250,000 to make a total grant of £16,250,000.

Previous grant award:   The Burrell Collection Refurbishment Project: The Board of Trustees awarded a grant of Award Grant of £14,000,000 (25%) in 2017.

Reason for grant increase:  Impact of Covid-19 on project delivery.

The Committee for Scotland agreed the application should be recommended for support at the Board of Trustees.

12. Any other business

Oral

Caroline provided a brief overview of the proposed Race and Heritage: a series of curated perspectives sessions that is to be delivered to Committee and staff members.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 2 December 2020.