New standards for NHS board members to strengthen leadership and governance

The NHS has published a framework and supporting resources today to help senior board members to strengthen board governance, boost leadership and improve patient safety.

Resources to support current and aspiring board members within the NHS to further develop their skills and careers will be sent to leaders today, including information on development programmes and peer support networks to develop and share good practice.

A Fit and Proper Person Test (FPPT) framework for board members has also been published, which will help prevent directors who have been involved in or enabled serious misconduct or mismanagement from joining a new NHS organisation.

NHS England was commissioned to update the framework as part of five recommendations from Tom Kark’s KC review of the Fit and Proper Person Test.

In response, NHS England will introduce the following:

  •  A new standard reference for people leaving NHS board roles for any reason which will be held on file until the person turns 75, including details on any ongoing or discontinued complaints and disciplinary issues.
  • Data fields in the Electronic Staff Record to record board members’ Fit and Proper Person Tests.
  • An extension of the scope of the FPPT framework to all commissioners including Arms-Length Bodies, Care Quality Commission and NHS England.

Em Wilkinson-Brice, National Director for People at NHS England, said: “It is right that NHS board members are supported to develop in what are incredibly challenging roles, which is why we are publishing resources to aid existing and aspiring leaders in the health service including through development programmes, peer support networks, and mentoring.

“As part of this, a revised Fit and Proper Person Test has been published today building on the recommendations of the Kark review to help ensure that robust governance and assurance processes are in place at NHS England, NHS trusts, ICB boards and CQC.”

All NHS chairs will be personally responsible for ensuring the revised FPPT is adopted within their organisation and reviewed annually.

Richard Meddings, Chair of NHS England: “NHS boards consist of highly committed and hard-working people, but it is important that they are held to the highest standards given they are entrusted to care for tens of thousands of patients and staff.

“NHS chairs will be responsible for ensuring the new Fit and Proper Person Test is implemented at their organisations, so that we can improve patient safety across the health service and prevent directors who have been involved in misconduct or mismanagement from moving from one NHS organisation to another without prospective employers having a full and more detailed background check.”