After the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust tragedy and the 400 recommendations in the subsequent Francis report, how can a non-executive director on a trust board have confidence that the operation they are overseeing is being run properly?

At yesterday’s Public Sector Performance Roundtable, Paula Higson presented the six questions she has developed through working with board members to help non-executives be more effective in their role.

They are: –

  • How do I know we are delivering our services safely?
  • How do I know we have sufficient, highly motivated and skilled staff?
  • How do I know we are delivering value to our patients and users?
  • How do I know we are financially viable?
  • How do I know our stakeholders are supportive of what we do?

She then went on to describe the kind of information that should be furnished to answer these questions. With safe service delivery there was a set of information around mortality rates, hospital acquired infections, emergency readmissions, incidents, near misses that you might expect. However, there were also the governance systems information that should be provided too about H&S assessments, food safety, accidents, radiation exposure and the corrective action. Finally aspects of the wider site including information on legionella, safe construction, etc. For many institutions, this information is spread across the board pack as different people and departments have the responsibility for different aspects of what the organisation does. But in reality, this is the question the board really should have their finger on, so that they can focus on what really matters.

The Public Sector Performance Roundtable meets every quarter to discuss performance, its measurement and management and to share good practice. More info.

Mike Bourne

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