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How to utilise lay members, NHSCC explains


19 January 2016

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There are opportunities to maximise the impact lay members have with simple steps, an NHS Clinical Commissioners survey found.

While most lay members felt that their skills were being utilised, communication, clarity of the role and career development are areas for improvement, the survey of 200 lay members – covering nearly 70% of all CCGs – found.

There are opportunities to maximise the impact lay members have with simple steps, an NHS Clinical Commissioners survey found.

While most lay members felt that their skills were being utilised, communication, clarity of the role and career development are areas for improvement, the survey of 200 lay members – covering nearly 70% of all CCGs – found.

“The key message from lay members was that governing body members should talk more to each other to understand one another’s skills, knowledge and perspective. An understanding of the non-executive role helps many people in board roles to be more effective,” the survey report concluded.

Some of the most significant areas for improvement identified by lay members included developing tighter job specifications, with more clarity around their time commitments for essential and contracted responsibilities, and ensure they are able to maintain their independence.

Susanne Hasselmann, chair of NHSCC Lay Members Network and a lay member at South Eastern Hampshire CCG added: “As the guide makes clear, lay members bring an essential independent perspective to the CCG governing body – being separate from its day to day running gives them a unique view of the organisation and therefore a valuable perspective that will help the CCG and the services it delivers for patients and local populations.”

Commissioners should also assist lay members’ development by giving feedback in structured appraisals, and encourage your lay member to find a mentor to support their ongoing development.

Additionally, try to gain an understanding of who the lay members are, and their skills and experience, then ensure they receive an induction and training, with adequate time allocated for this, NHSCC recommended.

See the full guidance here.

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