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Noel won't return as Labrador-Grenfell Health board chair

Boyd Noel has been suspended as the chair of the Labrador-Grenfell Health board of trustees. Noel says he doesn’t know why.
Boyd Noel has been suspended as the chair of the Labrador-Grenfell Health board of trustees. Noel says he doesn’t know why. - LABRADOR-GRENFELL HEALTH PHOTO

Reports commissioned by health department give authority 'road map' to better business

LABRADOR/THE GREAT NORTHERN PENINSULA, N.L. — Boyd Noel will not be returning as chair of the Labrador-Grenfell Health (LGH) Authority, the Minister of Health and Community Services John Haggie has confirmed.

Noel was suspended in November 2018 after the department received allegations of harassment and bullying.

An investigation into Noel’s conduct as well as a governance review were promptly commissioned by the department.

Both reports are now completed and were presented to the LGH board in Goose Bay on Sept 26. They will not be made public.

The results of the investigation into Noel's conduct are confidential.

Until a permanent replacement is found, Wayne Button will continue to act as board chair.

Haggie told The Northern Pen the reviews were commissioned because of concerns around best practices conducted by the board, specifically around “where the strategic role of the board should end and the operational responsibility of the CEO should begin.”

A governance committee has been established to “oversee necessary changes in board processes that enable a focus on issues of strategic importance.”

Listed in the governance review were nine recommendations that the Department of Health and Community Services shared with The Northern Pen.

According to Haggie, it provides a “road map” for the board to get back to regular business.

Some of the recommendations include continued education, an update to LGH’s bylaws and policies, a board code of conduct, and a competency assessment for each current member of the board.

The third recommendation advises board members to wear an “ownership” hat and not a “customer” hat in their position.

LGH CEO Heather Brown explained that it’s about how board members approach the role.

She felt that wearing an “ownership” hat meant prioritizing considerations of the region as a whole over considerations of individual experience.

“From a governance perspective, it’s rising above your individual experience to that collective experience, and looking at the broader picture of how services are delivered and ensuring they are planned and organized to meet the needs of the population,” she told The Northern Pen

Brown says that board members need to think about the LGH region as a whole.

Haggie says it’s now the department’s goal to have a full board in place for the very first time.

“LGH has never achieved the breadth of representation on its board that it deserves and that’s been a challenge,” he said.

“LGH has never achieved the breadth of representation on its board that it deserves and that’s been a challenge." — John Haggie

He feels it’s important, given the geographic size and cultural heterogeneity of the region, to have representation from all areas of the Great Northern Peninsula and Labrador.

“The view from one end of the region and the view from another, is one that needs to be heard, but again, to go to Heather’s point, it needs to be then filtered through the lens of ‘what is best

for the best for the people in general,’” he said.

The board currently has 10 members. It is seeking up to five more.

Anyone interested in applying to be considered for the board can visit this URL at the Independent Appointments Commissions https://www.exec-abc.gov.nl.ca/public/agency/detail/?id=639&


Recommendations for Labrador-Grenfell Health Authority (per LGH)

  1. The board education planned for April 2019 should proceed as planned.
  2. The newly established governance committee should be fully empowered by the board to oversee necessary changes in board processes that enable a focus on issues of strategic importance.
  3. As a result of the process of interviews with two board members in particular, they individually acknowledged they were wearing a “customer” hat and not an “ownership” hat. This cannot and should not continue.
  4. LGH bylaws and policies should be updated. This is a reasonable role of the governance committee.
  5. The board, in the near term, should create its own code of conduct.
  6. The board’s agendas should be recrafted to ensure more discussion of matters related to the LGH’s strategic plan and results reporting.
  7. The board should conduct a competency assessment of each of the current board members. This should help identify learning needs and enable the board to develop a learning plan.
  8. Accreditation Canada’s Governance Standards provide important direction for achieving excellence in governance practices. A thorough board education session about these standards should occur in the short term.
  9. On an immediate basis, the board, perhaps through the governance committee, should establish performance goals for CEO for the next twelve (12) months.

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