Perspectives

Governing NHS boards through COVID-19

How is your board coping?

This latest piece examines the innovative approaches that trusts have devised to assist NHS boards as they continue to respond to the current situation.

Over the last few weeks the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded at extraordinary pace, causing all of us to fundamentally rethink our priorities and to redefine ways of working. Board leadership at a time such as this is not the same as business as usual. Ways of working must be adapted, processes simplified and authority delegated. Key is to determine what the role of the board is during these unprecedented times.
 

Responding to COVID-19

Boards of NHS provider organisations have responded with urgency. From our discussions with a number of providers around the country, it is clear that there has been a rapid response to bring about new ways of working during these unprecedented times. Commonly adopted initiatives include:

  • moving to video-conferencing for board and committee meetings, along with defining revised protocols for board etiquette;
  • revisiting agendas and forward plans to determine what is absolutely necessary, which in many cases has led to a reduction in both meeting content, along with a reduction in the frequency of meetings;
  • minimising the number of additional attendees/presenters invited to the meetings, and in some instances redefining meeting quoracy; and
  • revising Standing Financial Instructions (SFIs) and Standing Orders (SOs) to ensure they enable sufficient autonomy to the executive team at a time when pace is key.
     

Sharing best practice

Despite the commonly adopted initiatives described above, it is apparent from our discussions with NHS provider boards, as well as those in other sectors, that there is no blueprint for governance in these times. As a result, providers are developing a number of innovative approaches devised to increase flexibility, whilst also maintaining rigour.

Download the full report to learn more.

Governing NHS boards through COVID-19
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