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Using board meetings to influence strategy in GP organisations

By: Ross Clark | Post date: 20/12/2017 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 14/11/2018

Once a GP organisation has created a commercial entity, can you offer some advice and guidance about managing board meetings?

Ross Clark, Partner at Hempsons, discusses how to manage effective board meetings to create strategy within GP organisations.


Once a GP organisation has formally established as an entity, it then needs to think about the board meetings and the management of those because that’s where all the decisions are made. And very often there’s a bit of a misunderstanding about the roles of the board and indeed the individual directors and this applies within a partnership as well – the roles of the partnership and the roles of the individual partners. Now it’s quite simple. The role of the board is strategic. It needs to think about the organisation, what’s best for that organisation, and look to the future to see where it’s going and make decisions linked to a business plan that leads the organisation into the future and actually safeguards against any risks that are on the horizon. So that’s the role of the board. What about the individuals? Well, again, that’s often misunderstood but it’s actually very simple. The role of each individual director is to say his, or her, mind, to speak what they think. Because only then will you get a collective exchange of views. You’ll have an argument sometimes, but you’ll have a discussion that airs all the views and then you can reach a proper consensus decision based on the best outcome from the balance of those views together. So that effectively is how you will have a board that will manage the risks that will deal with the issues and will make strategic decisions going forward. Pivotal in all of this actually is the role of the Chair and the Chair’s got a vital role. The Chair needs to manage that meeting so that means starting on time, having an agenda, but crucially allowing people to talk but not to talk too long, pulling people in who haven’t contributed to get their contribution and that’s as important as allowing other people to speak. And then crucially, bringing the discussion to an end in an orderly fashion to then move to a vote on the issue if a vote’s called for. In that way, the Chair will steer the meeting through all of the agenda items within the time having covered all the topics and reached a consensus. The final element is board minutes. Now this is an important step to record what’s been discussed at the meeting. This shouldn’t be “War and Peace” it shouldn’t go on for pages and pages yet it shouldn’t be one liners as well. It should be a fair reflection of the discussion and then a record of the consensus decision taken. And that’s vital so that that’s recorded, everybody has a chance to review the minutes and then the Chair at the next meeting will sign those off as a correct record of the meeting and then that’s kept for future reference.

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Ross Clark Medical Protection Expert

Ross Clark

Ross Clark is head of services for the North at Hempsons Healthcare Solicitors. He works with all aspects of GP primary care, with a current focus on the establishment of GP Federations and Provider Organisations across England.

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