NMB - Terms of reference

Background

In 2014, as part of the GRO project, NERC commissioned Deloitte to advise on the future NERC Head Office (HO) / centre relationship. Their report, which was accepted by Council in July 2014, articulated the separate roles of NERC and the research centres, and that the fulfilment of these roles required a long term 'value managed' relationship.

NERC aims to focus on its role as a commissioner of research and innovation with research centres operating as providers. This requires a revision of internal management and governance arrangements to better reflect this distinction, regardless of whether centres become legally separate and independent in the future. The revised structure meets the need to deliver management of NERC as a commissioner including its national capability requirements through three bodies: the NERC Management Board (NMB), the National Capability Partners' Forum (NCPF) and the Centre Assurance Boards (CABs). The proposals have been developed on the basis that the majority of corporate business (NERC as a commissioner) will be the responsibility of the NMB in the future.

The proposals were agreed by NERC Council in July 2016.

Purpose

The NMB, within the strategic direction and guidance of Council has responsibility for advising, supporting and challenging the executive chair on NERC as a commissioner planning and decision-making, and for the successful implementation of the Strategy, Corporate Plan and Delivery Plan.

Scope

The NMB scope covers the following areas:

  • directing the development and implementation of Council's strategies, policies and decisions
  • overall corporate management
  • previous NERC Investment Committee responsibilities
  • effective financial management
  • capital decisions and spend
  • centre allocations (within an NC commissioning framework)
  • resource decisions not taken elsewhere, eg by the Science Board etc.
  • developing and maintaining corporate information systems
  • ensuring that NERC is managed according to the required standards of accountability, regularity and propriety, achieving high standards of efficiency, effectiveness, economy and health and safety, see further details on health and safety below
  • NERC as a commissioner issues
  • cross-council, Research Council Change Programme issues
  • cross-centre issues with relevance to more than one centre.

Membership and ways of working

The NMB is comprised of the following:

  • The NMB will be chaired by the NERC executive chair
  • Membership of NMB will comprise of:
    • NERC executive chair
    • NERC chief operations officer (COO)
    • Director, research & innovation
    • Director, corporate affairs
    • Associate director, strategy & evidence
    • Two NERC non-executive directors.

The NMB operates in the following ways:

  • NMB meetings will be held on monthly basis (apart from August).
  • Individual centre directors will be invited as necessary.
  • When a collective discussion with centre directors is required, this will be built into the NMB agenda and the centre directors will be invited to attend the meeting accordingly.
  • A minimum of four members of the NMB will be present for the meeting to be deemed quorate.
  • Conflicts of interest will be declared, according to NERC practice, although the nature of NMB business is unlikely to require members to leave the room.
  • NMB will formally report to the NERC executive chair and will provide regular reports to NERC Council and the NERC Audit & Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) as necessary.
  • NMB may ask any other officials of the organisations to attend to assist it with its discussions on any particular matter.
  • CABs and the NCPF will provide regular reports to NMB.
  • The NMB will be subject to performance reviews and an effectiveness review on a regular basis.
  • The NMB will be supported by a Secretariat.

Health and Safety

NMB will have to consider how well NERC and centres as a whole are managing health and safety with the topic as a standing item on their agenda, and will also receive the NERC Health and Safety Annual Report. CABs will have to provide information on their centre's health and safety performance and provide the discussion / explanations / challenges that are reported to NMB by the executive chair or chief operating officer (COO) to allow it to form an opinion, discuss the matter and make decisions. There will also need to be a feedback loop between the NMB and CABs on local or cross NERC health and safety matters.

Transparency

In line with NERC's approach to corporate responsibility, the agenda and a summary of the meeting will be published on the NERC website.