11 February 2021 – Mental Health Network – governance during the COVID-19 pandemic webinar

11 February 2021

Overheard during the webinar:

[During a discussion about the changing role of NEDs]

“The [role of] health and wellbeing guardian was floated a while ago, which had a very operational job description, which didn’t feel appropriate for a NED role. It wasn’t about assurance, oversight and scrutiny but responsible for producing reports and line management. […] We need to have proper assurance roles for non-execs, and not replace roles which need to be staffed within their organisations.”

“There is an extra layer in London, where they are looking for an increasing number of NEDs shared across trusts. The main concern is that it renders the NED job so large and broad – especially with additional responsibilities with a lead role – that it becomes difficult to do alongside full-time employment. This risks leading to NEDs being older and more established, and making it more difficult to achieve the diversity we seek.”

“The rate of change [in trusts] is now quite dramatic and both the non-exec and exec are being stretched into system work and integration. Execs are spending about 15-20% time on system and integration work, which might mean less time needed looking internally, but this isn’t guaranteed. There is a risk that the role grows and grows, which could lead to individuals leaving the role, which in turn leads to risk. Looking to ration the time NEDs spend could be one approach.”

[During a discussion on the NHS reform white paper]

“There were concerns around the implications for foundation trusts when the initial white paper was leaked, and this seems to have been reversed slightly. The two key areas are the likelihood of NHS trusts continuing under the current constitution, and the lack of control over capital. This flexibility seems to have returned into today’s white paper.”

“It’s reform in the right direction, but I feel it’s quite muddled. The disappointment is that this isn’t a real integration of health and social care with any sense of equality. Social care organisations are present on the partnership board but this isn’t where resourcing decisions are made.”

“Whether by design or accident, it is a big risk that acutes could have too much power within the system and it will be more important for mental health trusts to work together across providers, as well as within their own system.”

These meetings are by invitation only. For further details, visit our website https://www.good-governance.org.uk/events/.

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