10 December - non-executive directors

10 December 2021

This week’s session began in conversation with Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner in Wales.

Sophie said:

“The Well-Being of Future Generations Act puts the duty on all four of our main public bodies in Wales to demonstrate how they’re taking decisions in a way that meets today’s needs without compromising the needs of those in future generations.

“It also does a number of other things: it sets out seven national long-term goals for Wales devised in consultation with the citizens of Wales, it also sets out the sustainable development principles on how our public bodies should work in Wales e.g. planning for the long term, preventing problems from getting worse, integrating with others, collaborating with others and involving citizens.

“The commissioner provides advice and support to organisations to help them meet these objectives and to monitor the progress towards this. Critically the commissioner is independent of government but the most critical aspect of the role is to just be the voice of the unborn.

“It’s all well and good that the Welsh government has passed this act however none of the systems of financial management, performance management and governance and planning aligned with the future generation act when it came into force.

“All of the documents say the right things, but it is all about behaviours both within government and health boards. There is a real challenge in how we change a system when we’re trying to manage an increasing demand and when the money is still flowing towards the acute end.

“In the last six months I’ve had more contact from health boards than I ever have before as people are really recognising health inequalities as a result of Covid.

“We need to view future generations as the ‘hard to reach’ which we often use to refer to minority communities as their voice is hard to be heard which is the same for those unborn.

“Young people currently communicate most comfortably over digital methods and social media and we as NEDs, Executives and senior leaders aren’t as in tune with these methods so to act in the best way of those unborn we need to meet young people on their level.”

Overheard during the discussion:

“There should be a much clearer pathway for children and it should be much more joined up. I feel that currently vulnerable children and those most at risk are identified only at the front door of the hospital rather than early on. It’s not being looked at as a whole.

“The inequalities of babies born in the pandemic is widening and it needs to be addressed as they are under developed in a number of areas, primarily social exposure to others.”

“I think there is real potential for the NHS to be a positive force towards this. The ICS is however becoming a health (possible also social care) silo which is worrying. I don’t see the system showing levels of integration across the community and with other organisations that is needed.”

These meetings are by invitation and are open to all NHS non-executives directors, chairs and associate non-executive directors of NHS providers. Others may attend by special invitation. For further details, visit our events page.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk