Feature / Picking up the pace

20 September 2022 Mark Knight

Back in 2019, when we started work on the new HFMA strategy, the world felt like a completely different place. At first, I felt it would be very much ‘business as usual’. However, in the wake of the global pandemic, I think it is fair to say that the priorities for the association have shifted.

Then again, in one sense the new strategy for 2022 to 2025 – Picking up the pace – is in some ways still very much ‘business as usual’. The HFMA will not be venturing into new business areas. Finance remains our core focus. 

To quote the best-selling management book by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, In search of excellence, we are very much ‘sticking to the knitting’.

The more radical aspect is the direction of travel for our key business lines and there are five lenses, through which the new strategy can be viewed. This is where our strategy becomes bold and exciting.

  • EDI focus

The first of these lenses will involve looking at everything with equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in mind. We have already made a good start down this road, with our new offer of free membership for bands 2 to 6. That offer was born out of the knowledge that we were too old, too white, too senior and too male.

Early evidence suggests that we have made a start to redress the balance, although detailed research will be undertaken to bolster that claim.

This, however, is merely the start. We would like to create a large, inclusive mass movement of finance professionals working in the NHS. But we want that movement to be representative of the service as a whole and the populations we serve.

That means that all our efforts in the next strategy period will be devoted to putting the EDI agenda front and centre in all our work. 

It means targeting our services and our investment to under-represented groups, while also looking at how we can help the service redress long-term structural inequalities.

  • Integration

The second lens we are looking through in the strategy period is the theme of integration. Colleagues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are already ahead of the English in the way the health services are structured for more joined up working. 

Our intention is to reflect the new integration agenda in our own structures and services. That means looking at issues along pathways and across organisational divides, rather than, for example, having narrow focus groups.

Our policy work will similarly take this integrated approach as, increasingly, challenges showing up in the acute sector are better addressed in the community or even with social care.

Integration is a good example of how different UK nations have pursued the same goals in different ways and we remain committed to our devolved nations work and to develop special opportunities for members outside England.

  • Member services

The third lens focuses on our desire to modernise and develop our member services. The HFMA trustees have signed off significant investments in a new website and a new e-learning platform to support our future ambitions. Those projects will come on stream next year, helping us to continue to deliver quality member services.

We will also maintain our extensive programme of policy and technical research work – the lifeblood of the association. Members can continue to expect to receive up-to-date and relevant guidance and support across financial management, reporting and governance.

  • One NHS Finance

The fourth thing you will see in our strategy is our unwavering commitment to the One NHS Finance initiative. The HFMA was one of the founding organisations of the original Future-Focused Finance in 2014 and we have continued to be the prime partner of the initiative since its inception.

Our new strategy commits us to supporting ONF in its future activities. We see the enormous benefit of working collaboratively with ONF, as it looks to deliver a distinct and vibrant range of services that complement those of the association.

  • Sustainability

The final lens of the strategy is our active commitment to environment sustainability. For the last few years, the association’s Environmental Sustainability Special Interest Group has brought together finance managers who recognise the importance of this agenda and the role finance has to play in it. But beyond policy work, the association is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint – you will see real changes in how we work and run events.

So, far from ‘business as usual’, the association’s strategy fills me with excitement. It has been devised with major input from trustees and members and I think there is something in it that will resonate with every member. Our firm plan is to create a wide, big, friendly association. Our clear aim is to build on our solid foundations and, in delivering our strategy, I am convinced you will see the association really begin to ‘pick up the pace’.

HFMA strategy infographic 22

You can download the HFMA strategy infographic as part of the pdf of the feature.

Supporting documents
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