Towards a framework for enhancing the performance of NHS boards: a synthesis of the evidence about board governance, board effectiveness and board development

Chambers N, Harvey G, Mannion R, Bond J, Marshall J
Record ID 32014001325
Authors' objectives: We know that there are knowledge gaps in relation to the composition and characteristics of effective boards in the NHS, their impact and the range of tools and techniques available for developing effective boards. This realist synthesis study, therefore, aims to add to existing knowledge by (1) providing a theoretical contribution to board governance and relating it to the NHS context, (2) offering fresh insights into effective board composition, structures, processes and behaviours in the NHS, (3) furthering an understanding of how NHS boards can affect organisational performance and (4) summarising and analysing the range of board assessment tools and development interventions available for the NHS.
Authors' recomendations: We found no simple theory about how boards should operate. The use of certain models for boards may be more appropriate than others, depending on what the priority is in terms of organisation outcome. We have identified some important distinguishing characteristics in the public and non-profit sectors. On the whole, evidence lends some further support for a theory about the dynamics of an effective board in relation to high challenge, high trust and high engagement, modified in the light of our developing understanding about the linkages between different contexts and desired outcomes. We identified five areas in which board development approaches should be more focused. We suggest three main areas for further research: the composition of NHS boards, the conditions under which health-care boards are able to exert a sustained focus on clinical quality and an evaluation of the impact of board development activities on organisational performance.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2013
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England
MeSH Terms
  • Governing Board
Organisation Name: NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
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Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
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