Minutes of the Wholesale Distribution Steering Group – March 2021

The Wholesale Distribution Steering Group have the objective of overseeing the design of a new end-state model for wholesale cash distribution. This is to support the UK in an environment of declining cash volumes.
Published on 20 April 2021

Date of meeting: 16 March 2021 | Location: This meeting took place via audio link

Minutes

Item 1 – Standing agenda items

January 2021 minutes:

The group agreed the January 2021 minutes, and approved their publication

Sharing information on stakeholder management

None.

Item 2 - Governance for the next phase of work

Proposal for structuring the next phase of the work

Members reviewed various options for structuring the next phase of work; this included establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle to oversee the programme, which was presented at the last WDSG meeting, along with other alternative options. Members concluded that the preferred option was to contract directly with Eversheds Sutherland, who will act as lead consultants, and provide legal advice and project management resource. This was agreed as being the most efficient and expedient structure for the next phase of work.

Proposed roles and responsibilities

Four key roles were considered critical for successfully delivering the next phase of the work:

  1. The project sponsor who will represent the sponsoring members’ views and commercial interests.
  2. The programme director who will be responsible for setting clear and measurable goals aligned to the project’s vision.
  3. The project manager who will be responsible for the end-to-end delivery of the project.
  4. The secretariat.

Members reported that they have assessed and identified personnel suitable to undertake each of these roles. It was agreed that these appointments should be made.

It was agreed that further consideration will be given to any ‘clean team’ requirement once Eversheds has been formally contracted to the project. It is expected that this work will require input and resource from the current NCS operators.

Proposed governance structures, including WDSG

The proposed governance structure for the next phase is to have a three tiered model:

  1. The WDSG chaired by the Bank of England - used for the escalation of critical issues and providing strategic direction.
  2. An Industry Escalation Meeting (IEM) chaired by the Project Sponsor - will focus on the successful delivery of the programme, and address issues escalated by the Project Working Group.
  3. The Project Working Group chaired by the Project Manager - will be responsible for prioritising work against the project deliverables.

It was noted that Eversheds will review the Terms of Reference and membership criteria for the IEM, to ensure sensitive information can be shared between members with the appropriate protection in place.

Next steps

Members agreed to establish the contractual relationships with Eversheds and other third parties. The target is to commence work after Easter. It was agreed that further detail on the scope of work for the next phase, alongside the project plan and clean teams requirements, will be presented at the next WDSG for members to agree.

The Bank confirmed that it has sought external legal advice on its future engagement in the project. The advice confirmed that it was reasonable and legitimate for the Bank to continue in its role as chair of the WDSG, subject to some principles of engagement. The Bank will update the WDSG Terms of Reference to reflect these principles, and the changes to the overall governance structure, for members to agree at the next WDSG meeting.

The group discussed the frequency of WDSG meetings for the next phase of work, which is expected to be undertaken at pace. Members proposed increasing the frequency of meetings, perhaps to weekly, as a mechanism to regularly review progress and respond quickly to emerging issues. It was agreed that more frequent meetings would be helpful, but that this should be first tested with the Programme Director and Manager.

Item 3 – Review Action Log

Actions were reviewed and closed where applicable

Item 4 - AOB

The Chair informed members that Dougie Belmore has now left Virgin Money and Derek Walker will replace him as the representative for WDSG. An email was circulated in February to confirm that Virgin Money are changing their role in the wholesale market and stepping back from commercial contracts. Because of this it was proposed that Virgin Money would have an observer status at WDSG from now on, instead of full member status, and won’t be funding the next phase of the work. Members were content with this proposal.

It was noted that since the last WDSG the FCA and PSR have reconvened on broader access to cash considerations. Members agreed it was important to understand the output from these discussions and how it aligns with the Wholesale Development work.

Committee attendees

Bank of England - Sarah John (Chair), Nick Butt, Elisabeth Bertalanffy-Fournier, Ronan McClintock, Molly Galligan

Sponsor (pending formal appointment) - Russell Saunders

Barclays - Tim Allen

HSBC - Sue Yarham

Lloyds Banking Group - Martin Barrett

Natwest - Richard Talbot

Santander UK - Robert White

HM Treasury - Derek Dunne

Virgin Money - Derek Walker

Danske - Kevin McMullan

BOI - Julie Fitzgibbon

AIB - John Garrett

G4S - Paul Van Der Knapp

Vaultex - Phil Vaughan

Royal Mint - Andrew Mills

Apologies

Camilla Pegg (Bank of England), Anne Jessopp (Royal Mint), Azin Roussos (HM Treasury), Russell Hancock (Post Office)

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