Be brave and meet the challenge

andy-ballardIn these difficult times the newly published NHF Mergers, Group Structures and Partnerships Voluntary Code is timely.  It sits very nicely alongside:

Board members will be aware that they have a duty to deliver a number of essential functions. These duties include:

“Setting and ensuring compliance with the values, vision, mission and strategic objectives of the organisation, ensuring its long term success”.

The Value for Money Standard requires Boards to undertake a:

“Rigorous appraisal of all potential options for improving Value for Money, including the potential benefits in alternative delivery models”.

When asking Boards to recast their Financial Forecasts in July, the regulator said:

“It is for you to decide whether and how you will need to reconfigure your business in the light of these changes”

As such, boards should consider whether they are delivering their vision in the most effective way; asking at the same time – can it be done differently and via a different model? This is where the new code helps.

First and foremost, the code is a voluntary code. It is well drafted and comprehensive. Boards and executives should not shy away from it. It poses difficult questions that should be addressed. If followed it can help Boards make difficult decisions and help evidence your organisation has considered its future in an appropriate manner.

So what should Boards do?

To begin with read the code! Then take some time out. Book an away day. Work through the basics such as:

  • What is our vision for the business?
  • Are we able to deliver that vision?
  • Do we truly provide value to tenants and service users?
  • Will our existing model allow us to do this as effectively moving forward?
  • Could we do more in these difficult times by working with others?
  • If so what might that way of working look like?

It may be that one outcome from the above is a review of your mission, vision and values.

Always a very good start point! You may find that your organisation can do significantly more if it did consider working in partnership with others. Again the code helps. It talks in detail about the different models including:

  • Transfer of Engagements
  • Amalgamation
  • Joining or forming group structures
  • Cost sharing groups.

….each is different and each has different consequences.

Boards have to be brave and meet this challenge. Many Boards say they are happy to talk to others with a view to those others “merging” in some way with them. Others say their organisation is well run and delivers good value but that their neighbours do not. All cannot be the best. Some must be better than average and some less effective. It requires Boards and executives to work together in a constructive way (with the support of a critical friend if need be) and take a long hard look at your business. Seek external assurance and validation. Be sure you know and understand the drivers of your business, the risks it faces and the systems you have in place to mitigate those risks. If need be, be brave enough to review and change your strategic direction of travel.

It is about the strength of your business now and in the future and not about the Boards and your executive.

For more information contact Andy Ballard, Associate Director on 07974 733 334.