Meet Ken Mackness, the FCI's first CEO

In May 2022, Ken Mackness joined the FCI as its first CEO. Here, he outlines his passion driving organisations forward, why he wanted to join the FCI and his vision for the future.

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Can you please begin by telling us a bit about you and your experience to date?

Having trained as a teacher, I started my working career as a prison officer… this is somewhat how my career to date has developed! In between I have led Children’s and Adults Heath and Social Care organisations that have grown in size or needed turning around, always focusing on the quality of what they are doing.

Throughout my working life I have specifically curated experience of working in the public, private and third sectors also delivering the various functions of organisations from HR and IT to Governance and Service Delivery. This has given me an in-depth experience of how all moving parts of an organisation can come together to create an effective whole, no matter what sector they are delivering in or who they are working in partnership to deliver with.

What have been some of your professional highlights to date?

Some of my early career highlights were just teaching children to be able to swim when I was training as a teacher, a skill that you know they will hold for the rest of their lives that can bring fun and safety in equal measure! 

Others have included developing community regeneration schemes where local people can have a real say and involvement in developments that are happening to them, right through to Leading provider services for elderly and vulnerable people in a London borough through the COVID-19 pandemic, where decisions made about how the service ran and rapidly changed and developed as more information became available, saved lives.

In between I have led national best practice groups and provided sector wide leadership in ensuring compliance with national issues such as GDPR and children in care’s missing polices.  

What attracted you to joining the FCI as its first CEO?

Whether decisions I have made were about where and how best to use public money or were life altering choices for vulnerable children and adults, the one thing that has been important when making them has been to ensure that they were evidence based.

This means I understand the importance of having good quality information, am trained to understand and use the information wisely and that I have a system that can provide me with the information when I need it and in a simple and useable way.

The FCI is an organisation that not only brings like minded individuals together who think the way I think and understand the importance of information but are also minded to do something about raising the quality, developing the standards and putting clinical informatics at the heart of delivering safe, effective and efficient health and social care. 

To be a part of that is really exciting, to have a prominent role in making it happen is both a privilege and that is why I am here now!

Can you outline your priorities for your first year in post? 

My first priority is always to listen, learn and evaluate. There are many great things that are happening at the FCI that do not need any interference from me! So, I need to know what they are and leave them alone!

But as with any learning organisation there are always things that can be improved. My first year will be about getting as close as I can to members to understand what those things are and plan ways of actioning them. 

We have a great staff team, but in order to bring all the great ideas to fruition we need to grow our number so its about doing that sustainably and with the right structure and governance, making the journey fun along the way!

Funding also needs careful thought, the FCI needs to ensure it is here for many years to come and as such we need to carefully plan where income is coming from now and into the future.

Where do you see the FCI and the clinical informatics profession in 2025?

I see a recognised profession that has a clear and valued career path to it, and the education and training that goes with that, that is at the forefront of governments and private sectors policy making across the world.

I see the FCI becoming the mouthpiece for the thought leadership its members create, making real differences to national and local policy as well as developing systems and software that can make a tangible difference to frontline services!

Nothing is impossible!