Board Development Tool

The NHS Board Development Tool

This well proven tool, the first of its kind developed for the NHS, has been used with over 250 NHS organisations. The Board Development Tool (BDT) challenges Boards to consider how they operate as a corporate entity and, in doing so, enhance Board effectiveness.  Does the Board understand and deliver its core functions? Does it engage with stakeholders and proactively manage its reputation? Does it set strategy? Does it tackle “wicked issues”? This facilitated diagnostic leads Boards to think laterally and externally, and provides a platform from which they can plan future action.

The aim of the BDT
The aim of the BDT is to provide a framework for reviewing and improving NHS Board performance.  The BDT provides a common framework and language for whole Board development starting with an objective assessment of Board members’ perceptions of performance.

Based on robust research, the BDT draws on evidence from the NHS, as well as the Public and Private Sectors, to measure the characteristics of high performing Boards. It is different to traditional corporate governance frameworks because it measures the group level behaviours that drive high levels of Board performance.

The BDT reviews the performance of the Board across five domains and highlights areas of strength and potential areas for Board Development.  There are two versions of the BDT, one for providers and one for commissioners, and the BDT for commissioners has recently been reviewed and updating in light of world-class commissioning.

The BDT for providers focuses on:

  • Focus on Core Business
  • Delivery
  • Effective Teamworking
  • Engagement with Stakeholders
  • Leadership of the Board
The BDT for commissioners focuses on:
  • Engagement with strategic stakeholders
  • Defining the PCT’s strategic intent
  • Holding to account
  • Board dynamics
  • Board Leadership
Benefits to your organisation

The Board Development Tool (BDT) approach has been designed to deliver the following benefits to your Board:

  • Helps to create a shared vision of what a high performing NHS Board looks and feels like.
  • Enables comparison of your Board’s current performance with that vision.
  • Presents a tested model for NHS Board performance based around five ‘domains’.  
  • Captures and presents the different perspectives of the various types of Board member (e.g. Executives & Non-Executives).
  • Enables a comparison of your Board’s performance ratings with those from Boards of similar organisations (according to size, budget, SHA, type)
  • Draws on expert support as you go through the process from two of our experienced and accredited facilitators.
  • Engages you in a continuous process for monitoring your Board’s results year-on-year.
  • Leads to an action plan for improvement based on an objective review of Board performance.
  • Links you into a network of support and resources that has been designed specifically to drive NHS Board performance improvement.

The BDT is focused on developmental outcomes.  All findings and outcomes are confidential which are led by the Chair and owned by the whole Board.

The BDT process is an 8 – 12 week process which includes consultation with the Chair, Chief Executive and PEC Chair (where applicable), data collection through an on-line tool, one-to-one interviews with a selection of Board members, and an observation of a Board meeting.  Findings are fed back in a half day whole Board workshop.

The cost of the BDT to NHS organisations is heavily subsidised - we seek a contribution of £2,750.00.  We also ask organisations to cover the cost of travel for external facilitators.

Further information
For further information please email the Board Level Development team at the NHS Institute or telephone 0845 862 0036