The National Health Fund (NHF) believes corporate governance is about commitment to values that influence, shape and uphold ethical corporate conduct that puts the public’s interest ahead of all others. The NHF’s culture, policies, structures and programmes, operating through transparent processes, all ensure that the organisation is managed in a manner that meets stakeholders’ expectations as well as the nation’s satisfaction in delivering access to public health of the highest quality.
At the National Health Fund, we are passionate about managing a well-functioning public-sector entity that consistently delivers quality services while prudently handling fiscal resources. In pursuit of this passion, the NHF has:
- Clearly defined the organisation’s purpose and strategy.
- Implemented quality of service measures with key performance indicators.
- Optimised organisational efficiencies through organisational structures, roles, responsibilities and established processes.
- Enhanced human resource management to include employee engagement strategies that keep the workforce motivated, creative and responsive.
- Maintained governance oversight units such as audit and risk committees.
- Established multiple lines of defense through internal and external audit, risk management, control and compliance, with applicable laws and regulations.
The Board's Commitment to Corporate Governance
The NHF's Corporate Governance Policy is a guide to ensure that the Board complies with good corporate governance principles and best practices to effectively achieve the NHF’s mandate and to ensure that the entity’s obligations to all its stakeholders are met. It outlines the corporate governance policies and principles adopted by the NHF and is aimed to ensure the independence and transparency of the Board and also its ability to supervise management’s operations in an effective and efficient way.
Governance of the Fund
The NHF is governed by a Board of Management, which has been given the statutory mandate to assume responsibility for policy and overall leadership of the affairs of the Fund. The Board through its Chairman works closely with the portfolio Minister of Government who has the power to issue general directions on matters of policy.
The Board of Management operates following the guidelines set out in the third Schedule of the NHF Act as well as the Corporate Governance Framework for Public Bodies. It has responsibility for the oversight, policy direction and administration of the affairs of the Fund.
The Board will have between seven and nine members as appointed by the Minister with responsibility for the Fund. The Board meets as often as necessary for the transaction of its business, with at least six meetings being held within each financial year. The Chairman or Deputy Chairman normally presides at meetings. The current board is comprised of nine members appointed by the Minister.
Responsibilities of the Chairman, Corporate Secretary and Board members
The Chairman is principally responsible for the effective operation and chairing of the Board and for ensuring that information that it receives is sufficient to make informed decisions. He acts as direct laison between the board and management through Chief Executive Offcer. He also provides support to the Managing Director, particularly in relation to external affairs.
The Corporate Secretary is responsible for ensuring that Board processes and procedures are appropriately followed and support effective decision-making and governance. THe Corporate Secretary is appointed by, and can only be removed by the Board.
Each Board member is expected to commit sufficient time for preparing and attending meetings of the Board, its Committees. Regular attendance at Board meetings is a prerequisite.
In-depth knowledge of the particulars of the NHF's business is vital for each board member in making informed and objective decisions. Management has responsibility for operational activities and Board members have responsibility for the general oversight of the Fund. The Directors have complete access to the Chief Executive Officer, the Corporate Secretary and the Chief Internal Auditor.
Laws and Reports
As a government organisation that utilises taxpayer funds, the NHF is subject to certain laws. These include:
- NHF Act
- Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act
- Financial Administration & Audit Act
- Access to Information Act
- Corporate Governance Framework for Public Bodies
The Fund is also required to submit several reports to various government ministries, departments and agencies. These include:
- The Annual Report, which is due within 120 days of the end of the Financial Year.
- Quarterly Contracts Awards, which are submitted to the Office of The Contractor General on a quarterly basis.
- Quarterly Reports for Access to Information which are submitted to Ministry of Health
- Quarterly Performance reports to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance and the Public Service
- Monthly procurement reports, which are required by the Ministry of Finance & Planning under the Public Reporting System.
Ethical Principles of National Health Fund (extract)
The following are the basic guidelines that should be followed in carrying out the general operations of the National Health Fund:
- Honesty and Fair Dealings
- Nepotism and Employment of Relatives
- Conflict of Interest
- Compliance with Laws, Regulations, Policies and Procedures
- Fair and equitable treatment
- Safeguarding NHF’s assets
Board Members, Management and Employees Responsibility
Board Members, Management and Employees must be fully committed to acting in the best interest of the NHF at all times and must:
- Be dedicated and committed in the performance of duties
- Give full participation and provide feedback as required
- Be honest and trustworthy
- Be loyal to the Organisation
- Be confidential
- Be respectful
- Foster an atmosphere of cooperation and harmony in the workplace
- Do nothing which would bring the NHF into disrepute or adversely affect its image
- Comply with Laws, Regulations, Policies and Procedures
- Immediately report any breach, irregularity, weakness or deficiency observes in the system to the Ethics Officer.
Management’s Responsibility to Staff
The success of NHF is dependent on a qualified, well-trained and highly motivated workforce. Management will endeavour to achieve the support, respect and loyalty of staff by ensuring the following:
- Provide leadership and vision
- Set and communicate clear goals and objectives
- Provide regular performance feedback
- Be fair and consistent in making decisions
- Show respect to all employees & foster high morale
- Promote health and safety in the working environment
- Facilitate continuing education, training and staff development opportunities
- Recognize and reward excellence
- Encourage upward and downward communication
- Respect and protect the rights and privacy of employees
- Will not condone, practice or facilitate any form of discrimination
- Will not condone any form of sexual harassment to colleagues, customers or business associates
The oversight of risk management activities is one of the most important roles of the NHF’s Board of Management as it remains committed to ensuring the implementation of the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Framework.
The organisation’s ERM programme is guided by its (ERM) Framework, which was approved by the Board in 2017. The framework, being influenced by the Committee of Sponsoring Organization of the Treadway Commission COSO (ERM) Frameworks, addresses the integration of risk management by establishing a structured and disciplined approach towards managing risk.
In addition to establishing the framework, the Board also has oversight as it effectively defines the organisation’s risk appetite and its ability to bear the consequences of the occurrence of risks. To this end, the Board receives quarterly reports from the Audit, Risk and ICT Committee, which has the specific responsibility of monitoring and evaluating risk management and internal controls.
The external auditors, both Financial and ISO, serve as cross-functional governance mechanisms to share emerging risks and common practices as it relates to financial and management systems to meet international standards. At monthly management meetings, risk reports and risk discussions are formally on the agenda keeping the Chief Executive Officer abreast of any changes in the status of critical risks.
All internal policies reflect the importance and inter-relatedness of risk to all operations of the organisation. The risk management committee provides oversight to ensure that standards are met, responses are implemented and high-level risks are escalated. Adequate reports are submitted to the Audit and Risk Committee for its consideration and submission to the Board.
Understanding the critical nature of the services provided by the National Health Fund (NHF) to the health sector a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) and Business Continuity Plan (BCP) are in place. These are activated in the case where business operations are or will be disrupted to ensure the NHF has the ability to continue the delivery of critical services.
A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) was completed which identified among other things the critical services in question, the recovery time objective for each of these services and the resources required to provide or bring the services back into operation inclusive of having alternate locations and offsite data backups and systems in place.
Given that the NHF is ISO 9001:2015 certified and in the spirit of continuous improvement the DR and BCP are subject to annual review. The details in our DR and BCP are of confidential nature and as such are not distributed to the public.
Contact our Board of Management
You may communicate with the members of the Board by writing to:
Mr. Howard Mitchell
c/o National Health Fund
The Towers, 6th Floor
25 Dominica Drive
Communications may be distributed to all members of the Board or to any individual member of the Board, as appropriate, depending on the facts and circumstances. In that regard, the Board of Management advises that items that are unrelated to the duties and responsibilities of the Board should be excluded and will not be responded to. Such items include, but are not limited to:
- Junk mail and mass mailings
- Product complaints or inquiries
- New product suggestions
- Resumes and other forms of job inquiries
- Sponsorship Requests
- Business solicitations or advertisements.
In addition, material that is unduly hostile, threatening, illegal, or otherwise unsuitable will be excluded; however, any communication that is excluded will be made available to any independent, non-employee director upon request.