New non-executive directors for health in Birmingham and Solihull

Four new non-executive directors (NEDs) have been announced for the new Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board (ICB), set to be established in July 2022.

These roles will be central to the leadership and oversight of the health arm of the Birmingham and Solihull health and social care Integrated Care System (ICS), which sees partners including hospital trusts, commissioners and local authorities coming together for the first time to pave the way for better health and care outcomes for their populations.

The Birmingham and Solihull ICB will be the NHS organisation with responsibility for planning to meet local health needs, allocating resources, ensuring that services are in place to deliver against ambitions and overseeing delivery of improved outcomes for their population. These independent members of the new ICB will start their roles in the coming months to support the development of the new organisation.

They will have oversight of key areas of business including finance, inequalities, audit and people. The appointments which have been made are:

  • Patrick Vernon, Chair of the Inequalities Board
    • Patrick Vernon is a former non-executive director for Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and Healthwatch England. He received an OBE in 2012 for his work on tackling health inequalities and ethnic minority communities. In 2019 he was awarded a lifetime achievement award for campaigning and advocacy work by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation. In 2020 Patrick established the Majonzi Fund, which is providing grants to families and community organisations to hold commemoration events for individuals from Black and racialised communities who have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic.

  • Phil Jones, Chair of the Audit Committee
    • Phil has worked as an adviser and external auditor for NHS organisations for over 30 years. Originally a qualified chartered accountant, he ran the Audit Commission’s West Midlands regional office and was a director at a top six accounting firm. Phil will be working to ensure that the Birmingham and Solihull ICS’ financial and operational governance is effective.

  • Anu Singh, Chair of the Appointments and Remuneration Committee and the People Committee
    • Anu is a Board level local government and health leader. She has been a statutory Director of Adult Social Care and Chaired an integrated NHS Trust. She was also Director of Patient and Public Participation and Insight for NHS England, taking the lead for the NHS in ensuring the voice of patients, service users, carers and the public is at its heart. Anu also undertakes a non-executive director role within the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s Board.

  • Paul Taylor, Chair of the Finance and Performance Committee
    • Paul is a recently retired finance director, bringing with him a wealth of experience having held senior positions in a number of different organisations across the NHS including within primary and secondary care. Active in professional activities at a national level, Paul is a former Chair of the West Midlands branch of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the professional body for finance staff in healthcare who also awarded him an Outstanding Contribution award in 2006. He offers a breadth of skills in financial, planning, organisational and general management.

Recruitment is ongoing for an additional NED who will lead on quality for the ICS and ICB.

These new NEDs bring with them a wealth of experience which will help drive forward the system’s ambitious vision to make Birmingham and Solihull the healthiest place to live and work, driving equity in life chances and health outcomes for everyone.

Dame Yve Buckland, Designate Chair of Birmingham and Solihull ICB, said: “We are thrilled to have Phil, Patrick, Anu and Paul on board. These appointments are a big step in the development of the ICB and their unique experiences, backgrounds and expertise will be invaluable as we work towards achieving our ambitions.

“Each of these NEDs will have significant committee responsibilities and will collectively hold the Executive Team to account for its overall approach to planning and delivery. They will be at the forefront of partnership working, supporting our teams to effect truly impactful change, bringing different ideas and perspectives and creating the conditions for real collaboration.

“Over the next few weeks we hope to announce further appointments to our Board including our Executive Team and our NED for Quality.”

David Melbourne, Interim Designate Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull ICB, said: “The NHS is still grappling with significant challenges as we continue our response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic. But these challenges and the collaborative response we’ve seen from health and social care means we have never been in such a strong position to effect positive change than now, as we move towards a statutory body which not only encourages but actively incentivises partnership working in order to achieve better outcomes for our patients and communities.

“The appointment of these roles show that we are building a strong team to lead us through the next few months and beyond, and I’m delighted that we have some of the most experienced and effective leaders Birmingham and Solihull has to offer supporting us to meet our goals.”

The NED roles are part time and are remunerated accordingly, depending on time commitment and experience.

The next step for the ICB will be to appoint the Executive Team ahead of the ICB being formally established on 1 July 2022, subject to Royal Assent of the Health and Social Care Bill.