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Events this month across Odgers Interim
Our events programme is always busy and this month has been no exception. Two of our consultants, Emma Whittle and Paul Smith, recap on recent events in this month’s Perspective:
NHS Confederation Conference
The NHS Confederation is a membership body for organisations that commission and contribute to the National Health Service. The year’s annual conference, held in Manchester Central, invited chairs, chief executives and non-executive directors' senior figures and decision makers from health and social care. Over the three days, we attended key note speeches from healthcare leaders and attended subsequent breakout sessions to discuss prominent themes raised.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive for NHS England, spoke of how circumstances are fast changing for the NHS: different challenges and financial concerns, all of which demand a change in response and action. Setting a tone for the conference, he explained how there will be a reset on the NHS’s money in 2016, and that leaders need to be realistic about the fact that this will be difficult, while delivering on key national priorities. Concluding, Simon stated that he was optimistic, but not naïve, about this year’s outlook.
This feeling fed into many of the following discussions, of which a common topic was the need to improve technology across healthcare and how this would boost quality outcomes and speed up assessment of data. Professor Bob Watchter, who recently reviewed the NHS IT system cited digitisation to be the “most robust mechanism for transformation” and encouraged leaders to learn from each other’s IT implementation. We also heard of the importance of making use of the transformation fund available to the NHS, and learning from experiences rather than keeping entrenched systems, particularly across national bodies. Many industry leaders spoke of the need for joined-up services across healthcare in order to meet challenges and continue improving operations.
A heavily attended talk was that of Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Healthcare, where he discussed the need for a “decade of quality” from 2016, following a year of concentrating on the deficit. Hunt explored how health services need to find a way of ‘balancing the books’, by tackling variation, instituting system-level change, developing a more strategic, long-term plan for cost-reduction, and keeping an eye on the future.
Overarching throughout the conference was a feel that this year is a time for action rather strategising. Healthcare systems must be more innovative, digitised and joined-up in their approach than ever to ensure that services continue to improve. To meet modernising targets such as a ‘paperless’ NHS by 2020, leaders and key decision makers must put changes place sooner rather than later to achieve success.
Odgers Interim Annual Financial Services Dinner
Our annual Financial Services Dinner is a landmark fixture in the industry calendar. As ever, it attracted some of the industry’s leading figures, from the major retail banks to challenger financiers to insurers and funds.
The roundtable discussion focused on the importance of business transformation in the future growth of financial services businesses. In particular, we debated the emerging roles of Chief Change Officers (CCOs) and ‘Heads of Change’ within the sector. We also discussed the change function and how it has evolved over time to become critical to the growth of any organisation with the current pace of change in technology and business strategy. For many, the extremely unpredictable economic environment that financial services find itself in was a critical factor in the growing relevance of these positons.
The conversation moved on to the impact of the digital world on financial services. It was clear that there is a shared determination to improve digital capabilities and embrace technology, but also a collective fear of being left behind the competition and missing out on the opportunities it presents.
In light of this, the group analysed the evolution of change management, and where it sits within an organisation. Should the function and indeed the CCO, have a more commanding position around board room tables and an important job of driving corporate strategy.
With much more change expected in 2016 and in the years to come, there was a consensus that organisations must move quickly to ensure that they have the right people and leadership structures in place to help see the industry through such a volatile and transformative period.