What governors do

Category: 2getherIn a meeting yesterday no one could lay their hands on the actual wording that defines the role of the council of governors in an NHS foundation trust. For future convenience, I copied and pasted the relevant paragraphs into a short reference document.

This document covers only the “day-to-day” role of the council. Some other aspects of the council of governors’ role are things that happen only infrequently, like receiving the trust’s annual report (annually), appointing a new Chair of the trust (occasionally), and removing the Chair of the trust (probably never). The document does not cover these infrequent duties.

Download the document here:

The Role of Governors in NHS Foundation Trusts (PDF)


Different people summarize and paraphrase what governors do in different ways. Here’s my version of what governors do, “day-to-day”, based on the references in the document:

  • Hold non-executive directors to account for the performance of the board
  • Evaluate the performance of executive and non-executive directors
  • Evaluate the performance of the trust
  • Represent the interests of all of the members
  • Represent the public interest

And the council might reasonably decide to:

  • Expose and challenge deficiencies in quality

To do all this, the council will:

  • Hold meetings
  • Obtain information from directors
  • Obtain information from elsewhere
  • Collaborate with the board and the chair
  • Communicate with all of the members
  • Communicate with other stakeholder organizations
  • Communicate with the public

In the above, “communicate” means two-way communication and “all of the members” includes staff.



About Rod

Chairman of the Gloucestershire charity Suicide Crisis, Vice Chair of Relate Gloucestershire & Swindon, and an enthusiast for public involvement in the NHS.
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