Committee Minutes

 

CONFIRMED MINUTES OF THE  MEETING OF THE JOINT NATURE CONSERVATION COMMITTEE, HELD ON  THURSDAY 2 DECEMBER 2004 AT MONKSTONE HOUSE, CITY ROAD, PETERBOROUGH, PE1 1JY

 

Present:

Dr Andrews
Dr Blakiston-Houston
Mr Darby (Chairman)
Professor Doyle
Dr Faulkner
Professor Ingram
Mr Lloyd-Jones
Dr Markland
Dr Moser
Professor Pentreath
Mr Scott

In attendance:

Miss Bigger
Dr Brown
Mr Geairns (item 6)
Dr Jardine
Mr Lawrence (items 7 and 12)
Miss Littlewood (item 14)
Mrs McQueen (item 5)
Mrs Turnbull (item 8)
Dr Vincent
Dr Wilson (item 13)
Mr Yeo
 
 

Contents

 

 
1.         Chairman's opening remarks
 
2.         Declaration of interests
 
3.         Amendments to the minutes of the sixty-third meeting (JNCC 04 P20)
 
4.         Matters arising (no paper))
 
Decision papers
 
5.         Establishment and operation of the Company Limited by Guarantee (JNCC 04 P24)(JNCC XX XXX)
 
6.         Options for the future name of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC 04 P21))
 
7.         JNCC corporate plan 2005 – 2008 (JNCC 04 P22) (JNCC XX XX)
 
8.         Marine Natura 2000: progress in identifying SACs for Annex 1 Habitats, including proposals for four offshore habitat SACs (JNCC 04 P23)(JNCC XX XX)
 
 
Discussion papers
 
9.         The Natural Environment (Delivery) Bill: issues relating to the JNCC (JNCC 04 D12)(JNCC XX XX)
 
10.       The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) and country biodiversity strategies (JNCC 04 D11)(JNCC XX XX)
 
11.       Involvement of the JNCC and the country agencies in the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) (JNCC 04 D10)(JNCC XX XX)
 
12.       Half yearly monitoring report for 2004/05 (JNCC 04 D13)(JNCC XX XX)
 
Presentation
 
13.       New look JNCC website (no paper)(JNCC XX XX)

 

Information Papers
 
14.       Outcome of the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (JNCC 04 N09)(JNCC XX XX)
 
15.       2003 Annual Report of the Special Protection Area Scientific Working Group (JNCC 04 N10).
 
16.       Any other business.
 
 
 
1. Chairman's Opening Remarks
 
1.1 text her
1.1.1.    text.
 
1.1.2.    text.
 
1.2 text.
 
 
2.

Chairman's Opening Remarks

 
1.1 text
1.1.1.    text
 
1.1.2.    text
 
1.2 text
 
 

1. Chairman's Opening Remarks
 
1.1 Apologies were received from Sir Martin Doughty, Rev Dr Stuart Burgess, Mr Thomas and Mr Steer. Chairman extended best wishes on behalf of Committee to both Sir Martin and Mr Steer, who were suffering from illness, and wished them a speedy recovery. He also extended best wishes to Mr Yeo who was in attendance at the meeting but had recently undergone an operation.
 
1.2 Chairman welcomed Dr Elizabeth Andrews to the Committee as the new second member for the Countryside Council for Wales.
 
1.3 Professor Ingram, who had been appointed acting Chairman in the interim, welcomed Mr Darby as the new Chairman of the JNCC, confirming that the Committee would give him every support in his new role.
 
2. Declaration of interests
 
2.1 No declarations were made in respect of the papers being discussed.
 
3. Amendments to the minutes of the sixty-third meeting
 
3.1 The minutes were approved, subject to the amendments already received.
 
4. Matters arising (no paper)
 
4.1 Dr Vincent advised that, in his capacity as acting Chairman, Professor Ingram had written to Defra with regard to the slow progress being made on the Quinquennial Review recommendations. However, the consultation papers were now with the Minister, Mr Bradshaw and it was hoped that the consultation process would soon be underway. Dr Vincent advised that the issue would continue to be raised with Defra at appropriate points and further news would be reported back to the Committee.
 
5. Establishment and operation of the Company Limited by Guarantee
(JNCC 04 P24)
 
5.1 Chairman introduced this item, noting that it followed on from an evening session the night before the meeting at which Committee members had discussed in more detail, and had the opportunity to clarify, the role of company members and directors. The nomination for the role of the Company Secretary had also been discussed.
 
5.2 The paper provided the Committee with a summary of proposals for the way in which the company would be set up and run and the possible ways in which the company may be wound up or dissolved, and the associated issues.
 
5.3Committee acknowledged that the evening session had been very helpful in clarifying issues and outlining the different responsibilities of Committee members under the new structure. Universal assent had been given by Committee members to the policy that Committee members should become members and directors of the company. With regard to the Northern Ireland members, it was noted that as they do not currently occupy a voting position on the Committee they could not have voting rights as members of the company and could not formally become directors of the company. However, they should have the right to attend company board meetings and have the authority to speak at these meetings. This reflected the Secretary of State's intention to ensure that the membership of the company and the board mirrored the membership of Committee. It was noted that the Committee had wished to treat Northern Ireland members in exactly the same way as other Committee members. However, it was agreed that once the Secretary of State permits it, and appropriate changes to primary legislation have been made (giving Northern Ireland members of Committee voting rights), the company arrangements should change accordingly to reflect this – consequently Northern Ireland members would then have the same rights as other Committee members.
 
5.4 A formal vote was taken on the issue of agreeing to set up the company once the RRO is made and Secretary of State approval is obtained and on who should be members and directors of the company. Committee voted unanimously that the company be established once the necessary powers and approvals were obtained and that Committee members should be members and directors of the company, subject to the provisions outlined above for Northern Ireland members. The Northern Ireland members of the Committee signalled their agreement to this decision. Committee also agreed that there should be up to three executive directors on the company board.
 
5.5 In addition, Committee had also discussed nominations for the role of company secretary and agreed in principle that the JNCC Finance Manager should occupy this position. This position would need to be formally appointed at the first board meeting.
 
5.6 Committee was content with the accountability statements (annex 2) but questioned whether there should be an additional point on the statement for Directors highlighting their responsibility to ensure that the board carried out the wishes of the Committee. Mrs McQueen advised that the Committee would exercise control through membership of the company. The objects of the company, which are the provision of services to the Committee, should also ensure that the board follows the wishes of the Committee. A schedule of delegations from the Committee to the company would be produced and this would be drafted to require the company to refer any contentious issues up to the Joint Committee.
 
5.7Mrs McQueen advised that following the Committee meeting, the approved memorandum and articles of association would be passed to Defra for consideration with the public sector governance documents. Defra would examine the documents to ensure that they met the conditions set by the Secretary of State. Initial indications show that comments from Defra are unlikely to have a material effect on the content and overall direction of the documents. Once adjustments have been made, to reflect discussions at the evening session and initial comments from Defra, the memorandum and articles of association would be circulated by post to Committee members for formal approval. If, it was found that more fundamental changes were required after formal consultation with Defra further discussion amongst Committee would be arranged.
 
5.8 With regard to the formal launch of the new company and the possible timing of a general election, Mr Yeo advised that any publicity surrounding the new company (and a possible new name) would be tied in with plans to publicise the new strategy. It was acknowledged that if Ministerial involvement was required it would be important to take account of the election timing.
 
5.9Committee formally voted and unanimously agreed in principle to set up the company limited by guarantee once the Regulatory Reform Order is made and Secretary of State approval is obtained, and that all voting Committee members should be directors and members of the company, with the provision that Northern Ireland members should have equal roles in the company once primary legislation changes and Secretary of State approval had been obtained. Northern Irelandmembers recorded their agreement to these decisions.
 
5.10 Committee also agreed the following
 
i there should be up to three executive company directors;
ii the JNCC Finance Manager would be a suitable candidate for the company secretary role which would be formally appointed at the first company board meeting;
iii the memorandum and articles of association would be endorsed for consultation with Defra by postal action once final changes had been made and would be finally endorsed for submission to Companies House by post unless the need for any fundamental changes be highlighted by Defra;
iv JNCC staff and Vizards Tweedie (JNCC's legal advisors) be authorised to proceed on its behalf in seeking SofS approval in principle prior to the RRO being made, seeking final approval (if necessary) once the RRO is made and submitting the necessary papers to Companies House once the SofS's approval has been sought;
v the first company board meeting should be held immediately after the March 2005 Committee meeting, or as appropriate thereafter should there be slippage on approval of the RRO.
 
5.11 Committee noted that further governance documentation would be presented in March 2005 to complete the package.
 
6 Options for the future name of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee
(JNCC 04 P21)
 
6.1 Mr Yeo introduced this paper advising that it presented a short list of 13 names that had been drawn up following input from consultants, a staff working group and the Committee's FMPR subgroup. The subgroup had agreed a list of criteria against which the names had been analysed and the results were presented in the paper. Mr Yeo also advised that a number of straplines were presented in the paper to accompany the name. Committee were asked to provide some direction on the strapline although a decision was not required at the meeting.
 
6.2 Mr Geairns introduced the results from the consultation exercise with staff, advising that the three most popular names chosen by staff were a) Nature UK, b) Nature Conservation UK and c) Conservation UK. Only 1 in 5 members of staff who responded had indicated a preference for keeping the current name. Further analysis of the consultation results indicated that 'UK' and 'nature' were considered important in the name (with UK being the secondary word) and if 'conservation' were not part of the name it should be included in the strapline. There was a clear preference amongst staff to remove the word 'committee' from the name as it was felt that the word did not adequately reflect the body of staff carrying out much of the support work. In addition, staff had indicated a strong preference for the shortest name possible to facilitate communication with partners and other contacts externally.
 
6.3 Chairman confirmed that the statutory name of the organisation could not be changed without amendments to primary legislation. The name of the company could be promoted on letterhead and publications with an explanatory note referring to the statutory name.
 
6.4 Committee agreed that, as far as possible, it was important to secure agreement across the Committee for the new name. In addition, they agreed that neither 'joint' nor 'committee' should be retained as they were not useful in explaining the work of the organisation. There was a strong majority in favour of the name 'Nature UK' with a number of the suggested straplines ((ii) (iii) and (v)) being highlighted as possible enhancers. The preference was for strapline number (v) 'working together for nature [conservation], nationally and internationally', but Committee recognised that the strapline would need further work and could not be agreed at the meeting.
 
6.5 Dr Moser welcomed the clarifications in the paper following previous discussions on the topic at earlier meetings and noted that both the criteria and the shortlist had been tightened. However, he noted that while English Nature Council were supportive of change there was some concern that the preferred name - 'Nature UK' - did not meet all of the criteria, in particular (ii), (vi) and possibly (v). The members of English Nature Council were particularly concerned about the timing, with respect to the name of the new Integrated Agency (criterion vi). There was a feeling that in addition to the words 'nature' and 'UK' a descriptor should be added to the name to clarify the organisation's role as a co-ordinator and facilitator working with all of the country agencies. Dr Moser suggested a number of possible descriptor words, including 'federation' and 'consortium'. Dr Moser advised that English Nature Council had conveyed the importance of reaching consensus and ensuring that consultation also took place with Defra and the devolved administrations.
 
6.6 There was some discussion about using a descriptor in the strapline and the majority of Committee members felt that this would be the preferred option, as long as the strapline was used closely with the name in all correspondence and publications.
 
6.7 Professor Ingram recognised the importance of making a decision quickly otherwise Committee members would be neglecting their responsibilities as future directors of the company. Equally it was important to make a quick decision for staff who were on the frontline dealing directly with partners and stakeholders. Professor Ingram also recorded the unanimous support amongst the independent Committee members for the name 'Nature UK'.
 
6.8 Dr Blakiston-Houston reminded Committee of the strategic vision which outlined a greater leadership role for the JNCC moving forward from a co-ordination role. Whilst Committee agreed that this formed part of the vision, Mr Lloyd-Jones highlighted the sensitivity of using words such as 'leadership', particularly with respect to the devolved administrations who had devolved authority on nature conservation matters. However, Mr Lloyd-Jones supported the name 'Nature UK' with a strong strapline.
 
6.9 Chairman noted the consensus (apart from English Nature) amongst Committee, for the name 'Nature UK'. Chairman suggested that a further meeting of the FMPR subgroup be convened to discuss and resolve the issue. The membership of the subgroup was confirmed as the Chairmen of the country agencies, John Faulkner, Professor Ingram and Professor Doyle with Mr Darby as Chair.
 
6.10 Dr Moser confirmed that the next meeting of English Nature Council would be the following week and that Chairman would be welcome to attend to present Committee's views.
 
6.11 Committee agreed to convene a meeting of the FMPR subgroup as soon as possible to discuss the name of the organisation. In addition Committee asked Dr Moser to convey to English Nature Council the strong support of the Committee for the name 'Nature UK' and asked staff from the Support Unit to undertake informal consultation with Government. Mr Yeo and Dr Vincent confirmed that further work would be carried out by the internal working group, including further exploration of the strapline and the inclusion of a strong descriptor.
 
7 JNCC corporate plan 2005 – 2008
(JNCC 04 P22)
 
7.1 Mr Lawrence introduced the paper advising that it was the first corporate plan that would be operating under the new corporate arrangements, and reflected priorities and indicative budgets agreed by Committee at their meetings in June and September 2004. Mr Lawrence also noted that the organisation was going through an intense period of change as a result of the FMPR and the new strategy. The financial figures presented in the plan covered three years but focus at this stage had been placed on 2005/06. Programme leaders had based their work programmes on the indicative budgets provided. However, further work was required to reduce the current total which was £250k above the indicative budget. Mr Lawrence advised that an additional paper had been tabled providing a further breakdown of programme budgets. Consultation meetings with Government departments, the devolved administrations and country agencies were currently taking place. The final draft of the corporate plan would be presented to Committee in March 2005. Committee was asked to agree priority targets via post before the next meeting to enable adjustments to be reflected.
 
7.2 Committee welcomed the layout of the plan, endorsing the programme structure. It was agreed that it would be useful to proof the plan for 'added value' elements to ensure that maximum benefit was being achieved from the JNCC's partnership arrangements. Committee also welcomed the inclusion of the project portfolio, indicating that it provided a clearer picture of the scope of work involved in the programmes.
 
7.3 Mr Lloyd-Jones thanked the members of the Support Unit who had met with the Welsh Assembly and highlighted the particular sensitivity in Wales about the use of the word 'leadership'. He noted that the plan also seemed rather anglo-centric, e.g. it mentioned the Gershon efficiency but not similar initiatives within the devolved administration. Dr Vincent advised that that the name of the first programme had been changed from 'strategic leadership' to 'strategic vision' to counter concerns about the use of the word 'leadership'. He also recognised that it would be important to ensure the corporate plan reflected policies across the administrations on efficiency and support areas.
 
7.4 Dr Markland recognised the importance of language and terminology in the plan. In addition he noted that the proposed increase in expenditure was likely to be more than the country agencies would receive and that the relationship of the pay bill to total expenditure might come under scrutiny.
 
7.5 Dr Faulkner thanked Support Unit staff for travelling to Northern Ireland to meet with colleagues at the Environment and Heritage Service. He noted that it would be helpful if the relationship between the thirteen programmes and eight strategic objectives could be demonstrated more clearly in the plan.
 
7.6 Professor Doyle highlighted the opportunities for employing the ecosystem approach in the 'Overseas Territories' programme and suggested that this should be included in one of the programme targets. In addition, he also noted that it might be useful to capture dissemination of the Geological Conservation Review work in one of the 'access to information' programme targets. He queried the terminology used in the vision relating to 'wildlife and natural features'. Mr Yeo confirmed that the term 'wildlife and natural features' in this sense incorporated all geological features.
 
7.7 Committee confirmed that the plan reflected the overall priorities already identified and approved further development of the plan in light of the grant in aid settlement and priorities identified during consultation meetings. Committee also agreed that priority programme targets could be circulated for comment by post in order for them to be reflected in the final corporate plan to be presented at their meeting in March 2005.
 
8 Marine Natura 2000: progress in identifying SACs for Annex 1 Habitats, including proposals for four offshore habitat SACs
(JNCC 04 P23)
 
8.1 Dr Vincent introduced the paper advising that it provided a brief summary of progress in identifying offshore SACs, and proposed four new marine habitat areas for consideration by Committee with a view to their submission to Government as future SACs. The proposed areas had been considered and approved by the inter-agency Marine Natura Project Group of which Professor Pentreath was Chair. Dr Vincent highlighted that the four sites were of a type not present in territorial waters and noted two particular points of detail. Dogger Bank was the largest site Committee had considered and straddled an international boundary with the Netherlands and, beyond that, Germany. Liaison was taking place with both Dutch and German counterparts and the Netherlands had adopted their part of the site. Dr Vincent also drew attention to an area to the north of the Scanner Pockmark site, labelled as a large pockmark, but outside the proposed site. He explained that the reason for not including it within the proposed site was that it lacked carbonate structures. As Committee had previously asked for management actions to be considered alongside consideration of site submissions, these were also tabled at the meeting. Dr Vincent noted, however, that as regulations for offshore sites were still to be published, any suggested management action was given under the JNCC's general advice function. Professor Pentreath noted the achievement of reaching agreement with Dutch counterparts and advised that pressure was being maintained on Defra to produce the offshore regulations.
 
8.2 It was agreed that the lack of funding to carry out surveys (paragraph 2.11) could result in reduced amount of data making it difficult to ensure that an informed decision about the best sites was reached. However, Committee agreed that all four sites should be submitted to Government as future SACs. Mr Scott asked for clarification of the special reasons for submitting the Wyville Thomson Ridge site - Mrs Turnbull confirmed that a special aspect of this site was that it was an area of reef where there was a transition between the warm water of the Rockall Trough and the cold water of the Faroe-Shetland channel. It also contained iceberg plough mark ridges. This combination of a range of hydrographic influences ad topographic features had resulted in a remarkable range of biodiversity.
 
8.3 Committee agreed that it would be useful to include a short paragraph at the front of each proforma outlining the main features leading to the submission of the site. It was important to ensure, however, that the complete package of evidence was considered and therefore the short introductory statement should only accompany the notification document as an informal summary. In addition, Committee asked for clarification on the number of sub-types of habitats used in the identification of offshore SACs. Dr Vincent and Professor Pentreath advised that there was a range of sub-types at a high level and these are listed in paper JNCC 03 P01 adopted by the Committee at its March 2003 meeting. These sub-types remained under review and any modifications would be brought back to Committee for information at a further meeting.
 
8.4 Committee recognised the importance of working closely with international partners in terms of locating and managing sites. The adoption of the ecosystem approach to manage sites was also supported by Committee.
 
8.5 In relation to the management actions for the Saturn Sabellaria spinulosa site considered in June 2004, Professor Doyle questioned why changes in turbidity had not been highlighted. Mrs Turnbull confirmed that the site was already a turbid environment and that, in this case, dredging might in fact help to maintain the balance. Committee agreed that the format used for suggesting management actions for the Saturn site could be used as a template for such advice on other sites.
 
8.6 Committee approved the four new marine habitat SACs for submission to Government, subject to the comments raised above, and approved the suggested management actions for the Saturn site as the basis of its advice to Government. It was agreed that the suggested management actions for the four new sites would be further developed in the format employed for the Saturn site and be brought back to Committee for approval at a further meeting. Any modification to the list of habitat sub-types would be notified to the Committee.
 
9 The Natural Environment (Delivery) Bill: issues relating to the JNCC
(JNCC 04 D12)
 
9.1 Mr Yeo introduced this paper advising that it provided Committee with an update on possible items relating to the JNCC in the proposed Natural Environment (Delivery) Bill. Mr Yeo highlighted in particular three issues which had been agreed following consultation:
 
i providing voting rights for the two Northern Ireland Committee members and extending the special functions to cover the UK;
ii increasing the number of independent members on the Committee from three to five;
iii enabling the JNCC to give advice and exercise the special functions having regard to the principles of sustainable development.
 
9.2 There were three other issues highlighted in the paper which had been suggested for inclusion but would not be included in the draft Bill. Mr Yeo asked Committee which of these, if any, should be pursued with Government:
 
i establishing the JNCC as a body corporate (recognising that there was currently no desire to pursue this within Government or the country agencies);
ii changing the name of the JNCC;
iii giving the JNCC an enabling power to advise the country councils and Government on any of the councils' functions that affect the UK as a whole (e.g. landscape) – the Support Unit felt that this would be a useful inclusion to enable the JNCC to provide advice on landscape issues at UK and European levels, and to take a more holistic approach to its work in line with the Ecosystem Approach.
 
9.3 In discussion Committee agreed that it would be useful to have some expertise on the Overseas Territories on the Committee and this might be achieved through appointment of one of the additional independent members. Committee felt it would be worthwhile exploring the enabling power further and supported the expansion of the remit to include landscape. However, it was recognised that further work would be needed to explore the issue with Government. In terms of the name change it would be worthwhile pursuing this, depending on the outcome of current discussions. It was not considered appropriate to pursue the issue of establishing the JNCC as a body corporate at this time.
 
9.4 Committee agreed, that although the timetable for the draft Bill was very tight, it was still worth considering the points outlined in paragraph 9.3 above. In addition, Mr Yeo agreed that it would be useful to submit a paper to the country agency councils outlining the issues concerning the proposed enabling power. A further paper should be presented to Committee, exploring in more detail the options, once further discussion had taken place.
 
10 The UKBiodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) and country biodiversity strategies
(JNCC 04 D11)
 
10.1 Dr Vincent introduced this paper advising that it had originated from a recent meeting of the Chief Executives at which the UK BAP and country biodiversity strategies had been discussed. The BAP process and the development of country biodiversity strategies has brought complexity and the JNCC's role is now once of reporting progress, providing secretariat services, facilitation and acting as a collation body. With the novel and new approaches being adopted in the country biodiversity strategies it is timely to consider what JNCC's future role should be in this area. Dr Vincent highlighted that there could be a significant role for the JNCC in pinning the UK BAP process back into international obligations but it would not be productive for the JNCC to merely provide a secretariat role.
 
10.2 Committee acknowledged the value of the role outlined by Dr Vincent. However, as there was inadequate time to discuss the issue as fully as required Committee agreed to defer the paper to the next meeting and asked the Support Unit if some of the conclusions outlined in section 7 could be explored in more detail. Mr Scott agreed to forward to Dr Vincent some particular comments about the paper.
 
11 Involvement of the JNCC and the country agencies in the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC)
(JNCC 04 D10)
 
11.1 Mr Yeo introduced this paper advising that the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) is a network of statutory environmental or sustainable development advisory councils in EU Member States and candidate countries. It enables member councils to share knowledge and expertise, and to influence key EU policies. There would be more opportunity for the UK to influence the work of the EEAC over the coming years for a number of reasons. JNCC would be holding the position of 'office supervisor' from 2005, EN has offered to host the 2005 annual conference and both English Nature and the JNCC would be represented on the EEAC's Steering Committee in 2005-06. Mr Yeo highlighted some potential risks, in that the UK councils might be considered to be overly dominant and the increasing profile of the EEAC would require strong governance arrangements. However, he considered that these risks could be managed effectively.
 
11.2 Mr Scott advised that he had requested the paper and supported the office supervisor role being held by the JNCC. He noted an additional risk to the Committee in the sense that this role involved managing staff in Brussels and therefore incorporated some health and safety responsibilities.
 
11.3 Dr Brown noted that English Nature were happy to host the annual conference in 2005 but support from the other country agencies would be welcomed.
 
11.4 Committee welcomed the paper and supported the opportunities for the JNCC and the country agencies to contribute to the EEAC's work over the next couple of years. It was agreed that further discussion should take place outside of the meeting related to the 2005 annual conference and support that could be provided to English Nature from the other country agencies and the JNCC.
 
12 Half yearly monitoring report for 2004/05
(JNCC 04 D13)
 
12.1 Mr Lawrence introduced the paper advising that it updated Committee on the position at the half- yearly point. Target performance had improved on the previous year and staff turnover had remained stable. The risk register had identified the need to ensure that staff understood properly the new strategy. In terms of finances, the budgeted overallocation of £250k had increased slightly at the half yearly point to a potential overspend of £267k. One of the main contributing factors had been a substantial increase in the landlord's service charges relating to building improvements required under the Disability Discrimination Act. Mr Yeo confirmed that the Management Board would be robustly examining project budgets and considering delaying the implementation of some work areas in order to reach a satisfactory financial position at year end.
 
12.2 Committee agreed that it would be useful to present performance against key targets in tabular form. Variances and management actions taken against key budget heads should also be shown. Committee agreed that it would be beneficial, under the new governance arrangements, to try to arrange meetings to ensure that monitoring reports were considered at the appropriate time.
 
13 New look JNCC website (presentation)
 
13.1 Dr Wilson advised Committee that the JNCC had implemented a new content management system which contributed to the achievement of a key organisational target – 'By December 2004, deliver the JNCC website via a content management system so that it contains balanced coverage of UK-level conservation issues, improves the ease with which detailed information and advice can be found, and is ready for rapid adoption of new branding and information to support strategy and FMPR changes'. Dr Wilson explained that the content management system would separate the content from the presentation elements of the site and make it more accessible to staff. Consequently this would enable more focus to be placed on improving and adding to the content of the site and achieving efficiencies. The new website would continue to link to the relevant pages/references in the country agencies' websites. Other websites hosted by the JNCC (such as the CBD Clearing House Mechanism) could also benefit from use of the content management system.
 
13.2 Committee acknowledged the benefits offered by the content management system and thanked Dr Wilson for demonstrating the new features.
 
14 Outcome of the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
(JNCC 04 N09)
 
14.1 Committee received an information paper in September 2004 outlining the major issues to be discussed at the CoP. This paper updated Committee on the outcomes of the CoP.
 
14.2 Committee noted the paper.
 
15 2003 Annual Report of the Special Protection Area Scientific Working Group
(JNCC 04 N10)
 
15.1 The report had been considered by various fora and contained a number of recommendations and referrals to the UK Natura 2000 Steering Group.
 
15.2 With reference to paragraph 4.4(ii), Dr Jardine advised that a meeting had taken place between SNH, the Scottish Executive and the RSPB and SNH may recommend up to 12 more terrestrial or freshwater SPAs in Scotland.
 
15.3 Dr Brown noted that the working group had been set up with a defined task and a period in which to achieve it, and questioned whether a conclusion was in sight. Secretary's note: Under its terms of reference, the Working Group is required to undertake a strategic stock-take of SPA implementation in the UK commencing in 2006 and reporting in 2008. Any further role for the Working Group would have to be determined at that time.
 
15.4 Committee noted the paper and the comments made above.
 
16 Any other business
 
16.1 No other business was raised.