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News from our Board of Trustees
Hello, my name is Antoinette Jackson and I joined the trustee board at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity in March 2021. In May 2022 I became Chair of the board, succeeding Kate Kirk. I am grateful to my fellow trustees for placing their confidence in me to lead our board and to Kate for handing over such an effective group of trustees.
We recently held a governance session to work through the Charity Commission’s self-assessment of good governance and agreed that it would be positive to share more widely the main themes and issues that we discuss as a trustee board. This blog is my first and I would welcome any feedback.
Farewells and welcome
Three long serving trustees stood down at our last meeting – Kate Kirk, Rosy Stamp and Stephen Kay. Their expertise, passion and enthusiasm will be missed. As we said fond goodbyes, it was a pleasure to welcome John Bishop, our new Finance Director to our meeting. John joined us in early October so attended this meeting as an observer. It was opportune for John to be at this meeting as a substantive part of our agenda was to approve the annual financial accounts.
It was also my pleasure to confirm Julia Curtis’ appointment as Vice Chair of the board, to succeed John Short when he stands down in December, and to appoint Neil Tween as Chair of our Finance and General Purposes Committee (succeeding Stephen Kay).
News from the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre
In my update to fellow trustees, I was delighted to congratulate our colleagues at the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre in Wisbech on both retaining their rating of Outstanding following their recent re-inspection from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and on a successful visit from the Duchess of Gloucester to formally open the refurbished centre and garden.
I reported on a successful Bridge the Gap event, thanking everyone involved and noted that Chariots of Fire 2022, for which our charity is the beneficiary, had been postponed in respect of the funeral of the late Queen.
Our board meetings always start with a patient story, an important reminder to us all of our purpose. This meeting we were pleased to welcome Chris Barker who co-ordinates our Caring Communities project. Chris relayed an excellent piece of work, effectively demonstrating the value of this charity funded service. We noted that the current funding for this project runs out in the next financial year and asked our executive colleagues to look at how we can sustain this important part of our provision.
Care services and feedback
Our board meets four times a year and each meeting considers a theme in depth, this time our focus was on our care services. We were pleased to receive a presentation from Sara Robins, Clinical Services Director, on quality improvements in all service areas and an overview report from Alex Manning, Chair of our Clinical Governance Committee, who highlighted significant events over the last year. Alex also talked about an in depth investigation into a complaint that had been discussed at the most recent meeting of the committee. We receive very few complaints and ensure that we share learning from those we do receive. In this case trustees were impressed with the open and honest response from our executive colleagues in examining how we might have done things better. We have an impressive data dashboard that we monitor. It shows us the excellent work our teams undertake and the areas where we need to pay closer attention.
Our Finance and General Purposes Committee had scrutinised the draft financial accounts on our behalf as well as meeting with our auditors and receiving their audit report. A significant part of our funding comes through a contract with the Integrated Care Board (ICB). The committee was happy that the arrangements for that contract were in hand and therefore recommended the accounts for approval. Following discussion and receipt of assurances from our Chief Executive about the contract’s status, trustees approved the accounts and letter of representation for signing. These will be available via our website soon.
Our Remuneration and Nominations Committee had previously recommended that our charity should apply the pay award made to NHS colleagues and we ratified this decision. Whilst the pressures on our budget are significant, we know that it is important that we pay our colleagues appropriately and so were pleased to implement this.
We received a report from our Chief Executive and from each of our Directors, reviewed the strategic risk register and received minutes and verbal updates from each of our standing committees.
We packed all of this into two hours and I am grateful to my fellow trustees and our executive colleagues for all of their insightful contributions to ensuring effective governance of our charity.
I hope that you have found this a useful overview of what we discussed and would welcome any feedback.
Our next trustee board meeting takes place in December 2022 and I will write a blog following on from this.
Antoinette Jackson, Chair of trustees