I am referring to Monitor's business plan announced last month ('Monitor takes tougher line to prepare for wave of FT plans'). Personally, I think this approach is absolutely right. Having just been deferred at Birmingham and Solihull mental health trust for a few months, we have worked hard to have a sustainable economic case -.which we have done.
We have also worked hard with our membership and governors. We have vacancies at board level for non-executive director.positions - which we intend to recruit to provide foundation trusts.with greater freedoms.
But Monitor's executive chair Bill Moyes aptly summed things up for us when he said: 'We at Monitor have to decide whether the board we approve has the scope, breadth and internal challenge to effectively run a£200 million organisation along commercial lines.' In other words,.without air cover from the secretary of state when things go wrong.
With increased autonomy comes increased local responsibility and requirements for demonstrating accountability. We are in the process of recruiting people who can strengthen our ability ahead of licensing to do this and will demonstrate this ability and capacity very shortly. We are at one with Monitor's decision for us and well beyond the 'disappointment' of decision. We do believe as a board that this is and was necessary.
Too much of the application process is portrayed as a 'monitor exam' and not enough of the process as to how the organisation will run differently, particularly the board of directors and the interplay with the assembly of governors. Leaders of trusts going through this process should and could give greater thought to the structures and processes being right for the increased responsibility and accountability for the future, rather than some hurdle to be jumped at a moment in time.
Sue Turner is chief executive of.Birmingham and Solihull mental health trust.