The NHS National Leadership Council (NLC) has, through NHS West Midlands, let a tender to write and edit Governing the NHS for 2010 and beyond (working title).
The new publication will, according to the NLC, define the standards, behaviours and roles for board members in today’s NHS by reworking” Governing the NHS – Guidance for Boards, issued by the NHS Appointments Commission and Department of Health in 2003.
The NLC Board Development Philosophy
According to the National Leadership Council, “Boards have a difficult role and operate in a changing and increasingly complex environment. It is important that the Chairs, non-executive and executive directors understand their individual and collective roles, supported with clear guidance to help them add value. Currently, there is confusion about how these roles should be effectively discharged, requiring clarity of standards applying to all types of NHS organisations and systematic “unitary‟ board development to continually enhance performance.
“The boards of all NHS organisations have a clear duty to drive strategy, providing independent challenge and scrutiny for the achievement of agreed objectives. Robust governance and dynamic leadership are essential for all boards if they are to enact their respective commissioning and providing responsibilities effectively and efficiently. Whilst ‘what boards do’ is important, the ‘way they do it’ is also key, with boards needing to give due consideration to maintaining relations and enacting professional behaviour. The governance role of the board is critical, covering all aspects of the organisation‟s activity including quality of care, patient safety, as well as finance. The publicity surrounding events in Mid Staffordshire, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells and elsewhere has highlighted how governance failures can contribute to poor quality clinical care. Following the launch of High Quality Care for All in June 2008, with the publication of the NHS Constitution in January 2009, the governance arrangements required for modern health services have changed. The new priorities and drivers that influence the role of boards include:
– Quality as the defining principle of the NHS
– Patient safety, patient experience and effective outcomes
– Equality and diversity
– Competition and choice
– Value for Money
– Productivity, Innovation and Prevention
“To meet the challenges requires a marked cultural shift and this adaptive change needs to be lead by the board. Our executive and non-executive communities need to be supported to fulfil this role together.”
It is against the above philosophy that the new publication will be judged. Healthcare Governance Review believes that this is an excellent opportunity to put an end to the confusion and chaos in the NHS and Department of Health about the nature of governance in the NHS, get back to first principles and demonstrate that good governance adds value to NHS organisations.
The tender documentation can be downloaded below: