Since April 2013 Court has been required by Paragraph 12 of Schedule 1 of the Bank of England Act to publish minutes of its meetings. The Act also provides that Court may withhold information from publication where this would in its opinion be against the public interest. Material has been withheld from publication under this provision and, absent further action by the Court, would not enter the public domain until normal archive release after 20 years. However at its meeting in December 2015, Court adopted a process for keeping past redactions under review. At its meeting in December 2022 Court decided that a number of items withheld in 2020 should no longer be withheld and these are reproduced below, with context where necessary. A further review, of items redacted in 2021, will be undertaken December 2023.
Text in bold has already been published.
14 February 2020
Consultation on a proposed Review by the National Audit Office (NAO)
(Gareth Davies (Comptroller and Auditor General), Peter Gray (NAO), Afua Kyei and Sarah John)
Court was content with the proposed terms of reference and appointed Mr Broadbent as responsible executive for purposes of the study.
After the NAO had left, Court briefly discussed the likely course of the review. Sarah John said they would likely call for more co-ordination between the authorities. The Governor said that policy on access to cash was a Treasury responsibility, and it was right that they were acting as co-ordinator in this area. The issue for the cash system was that as volumes sank, costs rose. Whether to set rules to maintain ATM availability in this context would be a matter for the Treasury. The Bank was often thought responsible for retail distribution but in practice oversaw only wholesale.
3 April 2020
RTGS Renewal Committee Update
Mr Kalifa said that the programme was currently on track and currently meeting key immediate milestones even though most staff were now working remotely. The most pressing tasks were to select the Technology Delivery Partner (TDP) in May and to then complete the technical infrastructure that the TDP would work with.
COVID-19 Internal Response
(Stephen Brown, Victoria Cleland, Jonathan Curtiss and Rob Elsey)
The Chair noted that he and the Governors had joined an informal teleconference with the Treasury Committee to report on what the Bank was doing in response to the COVID-19 lockdown. It had been well received. MPs had focussed on two issues in particular: access to finance especially for small firms; and whether the Bank’s recent initiatives could be construed as “monetary financing”, a matter that the next Monetary Policy Report would touch on. One member had asked if home working rendered the Bank more vulnerable to cyber attack.
…Mr Elsey added that there were currently 10,000 meeting/conference calls daily. Cyber resources had been diverted to focus on the risks from remote working; and also to the threat from online hactivists, which had increased in severity.
7 July 2020
(b) Covid Response and Climate Accord
…If there were to be any change in approach it would need to be mandated by Government.
Sir Jon Cunliffe commented that as the UK moved towards assuming the presidency of the COP, such issues would were bound to be raised. There was a risk that this would undermine the extensive work that the Bank had done on climate change, as outlined in the document published alongside the Annual Report.
9 September 2020
(Sasha Mills and Andrew Hewitt)
Sasha Mills updated Court on the work of the Resolution Directorate. She said that Resolution Directorate continued to focus on the strategic goal of ending too big to fail and that heightened contingency planning had increased the workload in Resolution.
23 October 2020
IEO: QE Evaluation, Themes and Recommendations
(Melissa Davey, Jon Bridges, James Howat, Aakash Mankodi, Asja Karanusic, Andrew Hauser, Jamie Bell, Bonnie Howard, Rhys Phillips and Mike Joyce)
Jon Bridges outlined the main themes and recommendations arising from the IEO’s review of QE, ahead of a report being drafted for publication. He noted that the review recognised that QE had become a much bigger and longer-lasting part of the monetary policy toolkit than initially expected. The key points were that it was important for the Bank to invest and continue to advance and apply its understanding of QE for the future; to ensure that QE governance and implementation remained fit for the future; and to consider how to build public understanding and trust in QE.
11 December 2020
Minutes and Matters Arising
Jo Place said that Jonathan Curtiss would be moving to work full time on his roles in the delivery of the OBST programme and ED Shared Services, with a crucial milestone of transitioning of the HR system to a new Oracle platform. He would therefore be stepping back from his shared role as the P&C Executive Director role with Lea Paterson, and interim support would be recruited.
One Bank Services Transformation Programme (OBST) Update
(Jonathan Curtiss, Rob Elsey, Nat Benjamin, Carole Grant-Garwood, Steve McGowan, Angela Durnin, Alistair Baker and Paul Rooney)
...The main risk was if there was a further lockdown this would impact January’s scheduled User Acceptance Testing. The second part was subject to a replan to ensure deliverability. The last was by some way the most complex. Dorothy Thompson, as chair of ARCo, commented that there were substantial risks around both parts of the finance work – some key people there were missing and others were very new – and putting in sub-ledgers before doing the general ledger could require a lot of reworking. Andrew Bailey agreed: a lot of work was needed to understand systems and workflow before any IT was commissioned. Jonathan Curtiss said that was the intention. Diana Noble asked whether the project was still likely to fit within the £26.4mn budget: Angela Durnin said that the team were looking at how to fit within that constraint, but several directors thought that a pressure to skimp would add to risk.