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Ensure that lay CCG members have full induction and training

NHS Clinical Commissioners launch guide for CCGs on induction of lay members

Louise Prime

Wednesday, 06 September 2017

Clinical commissioning groups must ensure that their lay members have a comprehensive induction and training programme for CCGs to get the most benefit from their membership, NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) have warned. So, they have published a new guide to support CCGs in their induction and training of lay members.

NHSCC said lay members bring an essential independent perspective to the CCG’s governing body – because being separate to the day-to-day running of the organisation allows them to see the CCG as it is seen from the outside. But NHSCC’s Lay Members Network cautioned that for lay members to play their role as part of the CCG governing body and maximise their potential for the benefit of CCGs, it is important that they are provided with a comprehensive orientation and induction programme.

Earlier this year, NHSCC published a checklist to support CCGs with lay member recruitment and succession planning. The new checklist focuses on induction, mentoring and buddying, networking and ongoing and further training. It also provides a list of organisations that can further assist CCGs with training and induction.

Susanne Hasselmann, chair of NHSCC’s Lay Members Network, said: “CCG lay members provide independent challenge to their organisation’s board and ensure that robust governance arrangements are in place. Although lay members are highly skilled in their own field and should have senior management or board level experience for exercising their role effectively they still require a comprehensive induction and training programme. This checklist aims to support CCGs in this task.”

The guidance urges CCGs to check that, among other things, lay members have:

  • An organisational induction: This should include a one-to-one with the chair or accountable officer to clearly outline the responsibilities of their lay member role, and covering formal/informal support, expectations and personal objectives, and induction and development needs; training on information governance, safeguarding, equality and diversity, CCG working practices, organisational structures, NHS finances and CCG governance arrangements. Lay members should be given an overview of relevant national regulatory frameworks and organisations, such as NHS Improvement, NHS England and the Care Quality Commission. In addition, IT equipment needs to be arranged, as well as software training and IT support for remote working. Lay members should also have access to key documents such as the CCG’s strategy, annual reports, as well as terms of reference and past minutes of the committees they are expected to attend; and to all the publications and trade journals used by the CCG.
  • Mentoring and buddying: Buddying an incoming lay member with another member of the governing body helps to ensure a smooth start. Lay members should be assigned a mentor (NHSCC has a list of mentors who can help).
  • Networking opportunities: CCGs should find out if there is a local/regional network of lay members that the incoming member can join for support, and ensure that the lay member is registered with the NHSCC Lay Members Network to receive bulletins and invitations to relevant events, as well as with the relevant NHS England network.
  • Ongoing and further training: The incoming lay member needs to be aware of the mandatory training requirements from the CCG. Consideration should be given to the practicalities around the lay member completing online induction training, which can be difficult to access from a personal laptop or computer. The lay member’s individual development needs should also be considered – for example, whether they could benefit from training in NHS finances, the basics of good governance, how to effectively challenge, etc.

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