“It’s time to think differently”: Ansvar’s Anthony Black on long-term strategic planning for your organisation
20 Jun 2019

Article by Lauren Broomham, Editor, The Source. Featured in The Daily Commission eNewsletter 15 June 2019
Anthony Black

We had plenty of interest in Ansvar Risk Consultant Anthony Black’s tips (30 May 2019 76th edition) on what boards can do to prepare for the new Aged Care Quality Standards starting 1 July 2019 – so a follow-up on some of the issues raised in his points.

Firstly, in Anthony’s advice to boards for the long-term – he stated boards needed to be considering three major influences within their strategic plan that will be key to their success over the first few years: consumer led services; governance capabilities – particularly governing for vulnerable people; and clinical governance.

I asked Anthony (pictured above at our 2019 LEADERS SUMMIT) to clarify what he means by each of these terms:

  • Consumer led services – this refers to services that are customer centred; encourage choice and autonomy and are responsive to individual needs and desires. “They ensure the consumer is involved in decision making, including discussions regarding risks and risk taking. We are experiencing changes in expectations of consumers of care services, challenging the paternalistic culture of ‘we know best’”, Anthony said.
  • Governance capabilities – particularly governing for vulnerable people – Anthony tells us it is a reasonable expectation that governance in an organisation gives specific consideration of how decisions made could specifically affect those who are vulnerable in their care. “Governing for vulnerable people is different,” he said. “It requires clear understanding of how risk can lead to harm, designing and monitoring services that respond in creative and sometimes individual ways to meet needs and ensuring the organisation’s capabilities adequately reflect the special knowledge set required for understanding and responding to services for vulnerable people.”
  • Clinical governance – an integrated component of organisational governance (a system within a system), alongside financial governance, risk governance etc. Anthony says having a clinical governance framework is crucial for aged care providers and should have oversight from boards. “It ensures that customer care and safety is at the centre of decision making by establishing the culture and leadership expectations for clinical care, the arrangements for monitoring and performance of clinical risks, ensures the relevant clinical expertise required is available and supported, defines how consumers partner in care and ensures safety and quality systems are monitored and improved.”

 Anthony has also offered up some ideas for the kinds of skills and professions that boards should be recruiting for.

  • Experience with care and social services/clinical care: these board members are usually recruited from either a medical, nursing or allied health background, but the Consultant says boards should particularly be looking for people who have a strong focus on systems of care, clinical risk and innovative ways of breaking down bad habits. “Understanding the complexities of governance from the angle of multiple funding models, government stakeholder relationships and aged care and disability care are very valuable,” he said.
  • Consumer engagement: seek out members who have experience in consumer engagement or innovative consumer-led models.

And recruiting ‘remote’ board members? Does it happen?

Anthony states he knows of some organisations that have recruited board members from other states or held remote board meetings via video conferencing in order to accommodate a wider pool of directors to recruit from.

“Reality is some (particularly smaller) regional and rural areas will not have the skill sets required within their towns,” he adds. “It’s time to think differently.”

Food for thought.