12 November - non-executive directors webinar

12 November 2021

This week’s session began in conversation with Jeremy Vanes (chair) and Saba Gondal (non-executive director) from Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Overheard during the discussion:

“Around 12.5% of our staff are from a black origin and during Covid-19 unfortunately 100% of our staff deaths were from the black community which for us is really difficult.”

“For every single board level conversation we have a cultural diversity of input in it from different communities due to the diverse nature of our board so representation is a lot better. The whole conversation is rich from the start.”

“There is something around age and the level of diversity we bring into the pipeline. I kept applying for NED roles and they said I had lots of good skills and thinking but they kept saying I was a bit too young.”

“The NeXT Director programme is excellent but possible not as well used by chairs. As someone who’s had a board career in the private sector, it is difficult to break through without NHS experience.”

“There are plenty of suitable BAME candidates out there - they are just not being given a leg up or a chance to shine. More positions need to be created for BAME candidates to executive shadow or take on interim positions to learn, promote from within your organisation, set up talent pathways – so much can be done to improve the pipeline.”

“It takes tremendous effort to build up the trust and confidence around our commitment to EDI, however it only takes a careless throwaway comment to demolish everyone's hard work. As NEDs, we have to be very careful and deliberate on what we say and how we act, as our whole Trust look up to us to set a good example. We have to be authentic, committed and visible. Not just lip service.”

“Recruitment consultants in my experience have a poor understanding of diversity. There is a lot of focus on cultural diversity and women. There is much less urgency around diversity of thought. And there is a lot of focus on the same pool of culturally diverse candidates, who are rightly getting pretty fed up. There is a steep learning curve for them and if at all possible, I avoid using them.”

“The one challenge I think we should give ourselves is put equal effort into our processes and how we need to change in addition to developing the pipeline of culturally diverse recruitment. Not just focusing on the candidates from a diverse perspective but our processes and the way we’ve been trained to look for expertise from a diversity perspective.”

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