Meeting key people
It is important that your new chairs and non-executive directors meet key people at the trust as soon as possible. You should arrange for non-executive directors and chairs to meet each other and have one-to-one meetings with the executive directors. They should also meet the rest of the non-executive team and key members of your senior team.
You should also consider arranging for the new chair or non-executive director to meet:
- NHS partners and stakeholders including commissioners and other service providers
- representatives from staff and patient groups, HealthWatch, volunteers and hospital charities
- MPs, councillors, press and other local influencers
- community leaders including those representing the diverse social, economic, ethnic demographics
If you can't arrange a meeting or you don't believe it is is necessary for your all non-executive directors, you should provide a full briefing on the key people and organisations, and their relationship with the trust instead.
It will be important for new chairs and non-executive directors to understand the range and complexity of your trust. You should consider arranging for them to do the following:
- undertake a tour of the major sites of the trust and meeting frontline staff and patients
- engage in established local networking opportunities with colleagues from other NHS organisations
- work with the board secretary to gain a thorough understanding of the trust’s internal governance structures as well as the trust’s strategic and business plans
- be briefed on the trust’s internal policies and procedures, including dignity and respect at work, whistleblowing, equality and diversity, risk management and disciplinary procedures
- take advantage of any statutory and relevant training offered by your trust or partner organisations
Considerations for new chairs and non-executive directors
When you are in your post, you should start by asking the following questions:
- What are the key challenges facing the trust?
- What barriers need to be removed to meet these challenges?
- What are the key opportunities for the trust and what’s being done to maximise those opportunities?
- How is the organisation implementing the recommendations from both the Bruce Keogh and Mid Staffordshire reports?
- Does the organisation have an open and inclusive culture? What role are the board and its members playing in making sure they engage with staff, patients and local community?