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Peering over the Precipice Toolkit launched

Author: Antonia Bunnin, Director of Hospice Support and Development at Hospice UK
15 November 2017

Antonia Bunnin, Hospice UK's Director of Hospice Support and Development writes about the launch of Hospice UK’s Peering over the Precipice Toolkit.

We are marking Trustees’ Week (13 - 17 November) by launching our Peering over the Precipice Toolkit.  We hope the Toolkit will prove to be a vital resource for hospice trustees and senior teams across our membership.

The UK’s 2,000 or so hospice trustees are facing increasingly complex challenges.  It is more important than ever that they can work effectively as a board, and with their senior teams, to achieve organisational mission and impact in the context of rising demand, the emergence of new collaboration opportunities and new models of care, increasing regulatory requirements and ever-tightening funding.

For many hospices, the business model that has served them so well in the past is no longer the right approach for the future.  The purpose of the Peering over the Precipice Toolkit is to support hospices to respond effectively to the many challenges they face, and provide a range of resources to enable hospice trustees and senior staff to consider what they need to do to go beyond survival, and to thrive in an increasingly challenging and changing environment. 

We have deliberately taken a ‘pick and mix’ approach, combining a range of strategy and self-assessment tools, worksheets, suggestions for board conversations, and hospice case studies to illustrate how others have driven improvement.  Our intention is that the Toolkit will be of value for all our members – whether your hospice is currently thriving and you want to review your strategic positioning and next steps, or you are concerned that you may be at risk and want to decide the best actions to strengthen your position, or you know that you are definitely ‘peering over the precipice’ and facing imminent crisis unless urgent steps are taken.  

Whatever your current strengths and weaknesses, risks and vulnerabilities and strategic positioning, we believe that the Peering over the Precipice Toolkit has something valuable for each hospice board and senior team.  One of the key themes of the document is the importance of boards and executives working together, as a top team, to provide strategic leadership.

We worked with the Centre for Charity Effectiveness (CCE) at Cass Business School to develop this Toolkit.  The process began with an open space workshop last year, organised by Hospice UK and facilitated by Cass CCE, with over 60 participants.  The structure and content of the Toolkit emerged from those workshop discussions, and from our many conversations with members about their own financial resilience and robustness of strategic decision-making.  

At our Leading, Learning and Innovating national conference in Liverpool, Caroline Copeman and Christine Fogg from Cass CCE will be facilitating a session on Wednesday 22 November on Peering over the Precipice: from scenarios to action.

Peering over the Precipice is published as part of Hospice UK’s Good Governance programme supporting hospice trustees, boards and senior teams. 

The programme is led by Antonia Bunnin, director of hospice support and development and Jean Hindmarch, projects director, and we are both happy to be contacted for further information.

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