Foundations of good governance

The third edition of The foundations of good governance: a compendium of best practice produced by NHS Providers and DAC Beachcroft, provides practical support to those concerned with implementing the systems and processes that support good governance. We also recommend NHS Leadership Academy's The healthy NHS board 2013: principles for good governance as a good source of well considered guidance.

‘Unprecedented’ is a word often used figuratively, but we use it literally here when we say that the NHS has entered a period of unprecedented change. What the shape and extent of the NHS provider sector will be in five years time is largely unknown as new care models evolve and as devolution begins in earnest.   At the same time the NHS continues to face tightening resources alongside a requirement to improve or at least maintain quality of care for patients and service users. The choice facing NHS provider organisations is to be part of the changes taking place, to lead, contribute or influence developments - or to be swept up by the change taking place around them. In these circumstances strong and effective leadership will be indispensable. While being no guarantor, the disciplines of corporate governance provide a methodology for dynamic leadership that is capable of delivering change and long tem sustainability.

We know that good governance does not happen spontaneously and that it takes hard work, vigilance and frequent attention to maintain it. So once again, NHS Providers and DAC Beachcroft have worked in partnership to produce an updated and much revised version of this compendium. The essence of good governance lies in its practical implementation. So, once again, we have also created a compendium containing practical advice to enhance understanding of what good governance looks like and to support its implementation.

Our aims remain the same as in the first two editions:

In this edition we have however deliberately produced material which is relevant to both NHS foundation trusts and to NHS trusts. We indicate clearly where there is a difference in the requirements facing foundation trusts and trusts.

NHS Providers and DAC Beachcroft realise that the future of autonomous NHS provider organisations, accountable to the communities they serve, is uncertain. What is certain is that sustainable organisations led by capable boards delivering effective high quality services will be central to autonomy and to the concept of board leadership. We therefore hope that the third edition of this compendium in both printed and electronic form will make a real contribution to continuing and indeed strengthened, good governance in the NHS.

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