An interesting article published recently in the Guardian has Andrea Sutcliffe, CEO of the NHS Appointments Commission, reinforcing the saying that non executive board members “need not only skills in finance or marketing, but must also represent their communities: They are responsible for the stewardship of billions of pounds of tax payers’ money, for services that touch people at their most vulnerable, and for thousands of staff in their organisations."
One NED is quoted in the article as saying "As a non-executive you are the link with the community and you bring people’s experiences to the board,"
Read the Guardian article here.
Any board’s principal role is, of course, to represent the interests of owners – whoever those owners might be. In a commercial company the owners are usually the shareholders. In the NHS the owners are really the Government of the day, as represented by the Department of Health, who are elected by the ultimate NHS owners, the public – except in the case of NHS foundation trusts whose owners are the members, represented by the Board of Governors. Healthcare Governance Review subscribes to the views of Dr John Carver, the world’s leading authority on nonprofit and public sector board governance, who firmly sees the board as the fundamental link between owners and the organisation. Seeing the public as owners, rather than merely ‘customers’ (or patients/service users), and treating them as such could, in the longer term, lead to potential improvements in the governance and performance of NHS organisations by harnessing their power as owners rather than patients.