In conversation with:


Mark Day, Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer, Community Health Partnerships

What does your job involve?

Mark DayI am the Chief Financial Officer for Community Health Partnerships Ltd (CHP). I suppose that I occupy a similar role to most with the same job title. My key responsibility is providing strategic financial advice to the board whilst also ensuring that the company discharges all its financial obligations. With CHP there is a layer of complexity resulting from the fact that, although a limited company, it is wholly owned by the secretary of state for health and derives the vast majority of its income from the NHS meaning that we operate with the ‘government accounting boundary’. This means additional governance and two sets of accounts and a challenge explaining our position to different sets of stakeholders.

How important is financial training?

It's very, very important: I spent a long time within the NHS which although an odd employer at times – how many times have we all applied for our own jobs? – was excellent when it came to investing in the training of finance staff. I have benefitted immensely on a personal level but more importantly so have the teams that I’ve led, with many individuals going on to occupy senior positions having been well equipped through internal and external training. 

Training is more of a challenge in the sector I’m now in – basic professional training is secure but that richer ongoing development is more difficult when on the one hand we sit in the private sector but on the other we spend most of our time working with or supporting the NHS: a danger of us ‘falling between two stools’. One of the things I want to do this year is to find a NHS partner organisation so that my team can tap in better to what's on offer in the NHS such as the Future Focused Finance initiative.

What is your proudest professional moment?

The thing that has made me most proud over the years is building finance teams in new organisations, usually resulting from reorganisation and merger. This has often meant gathering together diverse teams in difficult, time pressured circumstances to ‘keep the show on the road’. The quality of the people the NHS has, the aforementioned training, and good old hard work meant that we were able to meet all our financial targets in each year that I was an FD in the NHS. 

I’m lucky that most of the roles I’ve had have allowed me to get involved in all parts of the business, often as deputy CEO which means that I have led on projects ranging from commissioning prison healthcare, through managing large acute contracts, to creating partnerships with local authorities and other public and commercial organisations. Sometimes the most satisfaction has come from unexpected areas such as leading on public and patient involvement or sitting on the Board of voluntary organisations.

The great thing about the job I’ve got now and the jobs I’ve had in NHS is that they have never been narrowly focused on traditional finance work meaning that me and teams I’ve worked with have been able to grow personally whilst adding value across the business.

What would you say could help you do your job better?

It would be good for me and all our partner organisations if we were able to reach decisions more quickly; spending our time on implementation rather than talking about what needs to be done. We’ve got good people who are well equipped to deliver but their energy is drained by what remains a complex and disjointed healthcare system that often lacks the confidence to take risks and move forward.