Board assurance prompt for the COVID-19 crisis

01 April 2020

In a guest GGI briefing on 26 March, Dr Usman Khan stressed the importance of the non-executive director (NED) role in times of crisis. Dr Khan wrote: ‘Asking the right question in the right way and at the right time, the non-executive director has the potential to add game-changing value’. Today we issue a board assurance prompt designed to help NHS board NEDs and chairs identify what those questions might be.

Today’s GGI board assurance prompt is aimed at chairs and non-executive directors of NHS provider boards.

This document is designed to provide a succinct summary of some of the key coronavirus-related issues for NHS chairs and NEDs.

Issues covered include some of the primary challenges facing the NHS, such as the health and wellbeing of the workforce, partnership working, evolving models of care, embracing digital ways of working and, of course, numerous governance considerations.

The board assurance prompt will also help to define the sort of questions NEDs and chairs could usefully be putting to boards as the crisis continues and help them scrutinise the assurance that is provided.

The questions cover the main areas of boards’ responsibilities, from major incident procedures to plans covering service escalation, workforce and communications.

In any fast-moving crisis, board assurance prompts such as this can only hope to offer a snapshot in time of the main issues. GGI will update this document as new information arises. We will also issue further board assurance prompts as the need arises.

As we said last week, we are doing this because boards do not stop being accountable at times of national crisis and because, in our view, it is precisely at such times that boards must step up and do – and be seen to be doing – the right thing.

If you have any comments or suggestions about this board assurance prompt – or suggestions for future versions – please contact us at .

Prepared by GGI Development and Research LLP for the Good Governance Institute.

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