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Thursday 04 April 2024

NHS England launches new fitness test for directors

By MiP

Managers and clinicians meeting in a board room

NHS leaders in England will expected to show how they are driving service improvement, delivering transformation, promoting equality and developing a just culture as part of new “competency framework” for directors introduced by NHS England at the start of April.

The framework, which applies to trusts, ICBs and NHS England itself, sets out six “domains” within which board-level managers must assess themselves. Each domain contains a series of “competency statements” against which directors must mark themselves on a sliding scale from “almost always” to “no chance to demonstrate”. These assessments will then be discussed with chairs or chief executives as part of the annual appraisal process.

The six domains, which NHS organisations have been instructed to include in all board-level job descriptions from April, are:

  • Driving high-quality and sustainable outcomes
  • Setting strategy and delivering long-term transformation
  • Promoting equality and inclusion, and reducing health and workforce inequalities
  • Providing robust governance and assurance
  • Delivering a compassionate, just and positive culture
  • Building a trust relationship with partners and communities

The competencies strongly emphasise equality and inclusion, with requirements to “speak up” against racism, bullying and sexual harassment, challenge unsafe or unfair practices and ensure a “safe culture” for staff who want speak up.

“Competency frameworks underpin good management practice, but they don’t make management good by themselves,” commented MiP chief executive Jon Restell. “Good culture and do-able jobs are just as important, if not more so. The present drive to make the executive management overhead go further, coupled with micro-management and too much regulation, will eat the framework for breakfast.”

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