Virtual Board meetings

Guidelines for members of the public observing Board meetings held in public

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Government set out social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction in order to reduce the transmission of the virus.

In accordance with this advice, and direction from NHS England/NHS improvement (NHSE/I), the Trust made the decision in March 2020 to hold its Board meetings virtually until further notice.

The Board agreed to assess the situation on a regular basis given its clear commitment to conducting its business openly and transparently.

On the basis of this assessment, and having explored the optimal way to utilising digital technology to enable board meetings to be made publicly accessible, the Board has agreed that from Thursday 6 August 2020, Trust members, the Council of Governors, the general public and staff will be able to observe Board meetings from this date.

Those people interested in observing the public Board are asked to register their interest beforehand by emailing gwh.foundation.trust@nhs.net.

You will then be provided with a Microsoft Teams meeting link and guidelines for observing.

The public Board meetings will be organised in a way that allows interested people to observe the proceedings and Board discussion, but it is important to stress that these are meetings that take place in public and are not public meetings, which means that those people who join the meeting cannot take part.

In order to manage meetings effectively, no provision is given for members of the public to ask questions during the meeting.

Members of the public are in attendance as observers, and should anyone have any questions, they may submit a written question via gwh.foundation.trust@nhs.net, prior to the meeting.

The agenda and papers for the meeting are available five working days before the day of the meeting - please see Modern.Gov: Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Meetings (https://gwh.moderngov.co.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=126).

Joining the meeting on the day via Microsoft Teams

  • The Trust will be using Microsoft Teams software for the virtual Board meeting. Access can be gained by clicking a URL link which will be shared via email.
  • There is no need to download Microsoft Teams software; all that is required is an internet connection and a web browser such as Chrome, MS Edge or Internet Explorer.
  • If you don't have the Microsoft Teams app, click 'Join on the web instead' which will load the meeting into your web browser.
  • When you click the link in the invitation to join the meeting, please ensure that your camera and microphone are switched off.

You will be able to see the Board of Directors in the meeting (nine individuals will be visible at any one time on the screen).

In order to support the Board in transacting its business without interruption, it is imperative that observers are not visible on screen (your camera must be switched off) or that you cannot be heard (your microphone must be set to mute).

  • The chat facility within Microsoft Teams is available for members of the Board only.
  • You can take written notes of the meeting, but cannot record the proceedings in other ways.

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