Driving board capability through governance insights

Governance Evaluator’s 2015 benchmarking revealed sector‑wide low maturity for clinical governance.

Our 2016 evaluation and independent convening thus far has highlighted a key reason for this: a lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities for clinical governance in 2 areas in particular:

  1. corporate governance, and
  2. directors’ understanding of the health business that they are in.

The induction, orientation and succession planning of our boards is lacking, particularly in relation to service quality.

Knowing your roles and responsibilities for corporate governance is only part of the solution. It is incumbent upon board members to understand the business in which they work. In health, that is the provision of safe and quality clinical services to our communities.

As its orientation and induction time again it’s the perfect time to have a plan for current and new directors to build their capabilities in these areas.

Boards have generated effective and implementable solutions for their action plans in response to their board evaluation

(1) Conduct iterative and ongoing orientation and induction programs

Create a formal process for induction of directors that is iterative, ongoing and includes a re‑orientation program after 6 months, 1 year, etc. Consider inclusion of a day with the CEO, departmental visits and planned ‘walk arounds’.

Run sessions to provide local orientation about their own service, community, key stakeholders. It is important to highlight some key insights about the business of each individual health service:

  • specific strategic direction and associated risks
  • specific issues and risks
  • service mix and client base
  • key local, regional, state and federal stakeholders.

(2) Ensure all new directors sit on the Service/Clinical Quality Committee for orientation to the language and business of providing health services.

(3) Develop individual director development plans after board evaluation.

(4) Ensure new directors have their links to the health Governance Evaluator results and support resources for their board to understand the board’s results and focus, and to create their own individual development plan to identify which videos and resources to use on the platform.

(5) Take advantage of the annual (@ September) DHHS state‑wide orientation program for all new directors. This is a broad, generic overview of the health system, governance and roles and responsibilities under the Health Act, which are essential for new directors to understand. Every board and individual director can access recorded sessions here (request a password from board.appointments@dhhs.vic.gov.au).

(6) Provide opportunities to tap into other health system supports, such as VMIA talks about risk and other associated organisations. Recordings of these are also available.