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Council of Governors

Council of Governors

As outlined in our current Constitution, our Council of Governors has 35 Elected and Nominated Governors which includes:

  • 18 Governors who are elected from and by the public (public members)
  • 7 Governors who are elected from and by our staff (staff members)
  • 10 Governors who are nominated from our partner organisations including one Youth Governor.

The Chairman of our Board of Directors, Mrs Kathy Cowell, also presides over the Council of Governors, which meets three times a year, in public.

Chain of Accountability in NHS Foundation Trusts

Accountability Cain - COG BOD

Source: Monitor - Your Statutory Duties: A reference guide for NHS Foundation Trust Governors (August 2013)


What does the role of Governor involve?

Under the Health & Social Care Act (2012), the duties of Governors are clearly defined:-

  • To hold the non-executive directors individually and collectively to account for the performance of the Board of Directors, and
  • To represent the interests of the members of the Foundation Trust as a whole and the interests of the public.

The Council of Governors is responsible for representing the interests and views of Members/public and supporting our Trust's performance in the following ways: -

  • Representing the views of patients, carers, the public, stakeholders and staff to our Board of Directors
  • Developing networks for engaging the wider community, including minority groups, in our activities, plans and services
  • Seeking assurance from our Board of Directors.

Governors also have the following statutory responsibilities: -

  • Appointing/removing our Chair and Non-Executive Directors
  • Determining the pay and terms of office of our Chair and Non-Executive Directors
  • Approving the appointment (by our Non-Executive Directors) of our Chief Executive
  • Safeguarding probity and good quality healthcare
  • Receiving our annual report and accounts
  • Appointing/removing our Auditor
  • Ensuring we operate in accordance with our legal framework
  • Approving significant transactions
  • Approving applications by the Trust to enter into merger, acquisition or dissolution.
  • Approving any increase (more than 5%) in the carrying on of activities that are other than the provision of goods and services for the purpose of the Health Service in England in any financial year.

Governors receive training for their role, and are supported by our Foundation Trust Membership Office in representing and communicating with their constituents. Every year the Council of Governors holds elections to appoint a Lead Governor who duties include acting as mentor to our new Governors.  In addition, our Youth Governor is also mentored and supported by a Public and Staff Governor.

The Council of Governors meet three times per year with meetings being open to the public.  Governors are also expected to attend at least one Governor Group (meetings held 4 times per year) and Governors' Performance Review Meetings (held 4 times per year). In addition, all Governors are required to attend the Governors' Annual Forward Planning Workshop (held once per year). Governors may also be asked to attend additional ad hoc training and meetings throughout the course of the year. Meetings are held on a weekday and are predominantly held during the day (Monday to Friday, anytime between 9.00 am - 5.00 pm).

Governors are unpaid but can claim expenses, such as travel, incurred while carrying out their duties. They carry out these duties and responsibilities under the guidance of the Chair, who is the link between the Council of Governors and the Trust's Board of Directors.

How do I become a Governor?

If you are interested in standing for election as a Public or Staff Governor, please contact our Foundation Trust Membership Office. They will be able to give you details of when the next Governor elections will be held (usually commence Summer/Autumn each year), and the process for standing as a candidate. Alternatively, visit our 'Governor Election' webpage.

In order to be elected as a Governor, you do need to be a member of our NHS Foundation Trust - if you are not currently a member please complete an on-line application form or alternatively you can contact our Foundation Trust Membership Office for a paper form.  Governors are also required to meet a certain criteria.

The Trust is keen to represent all areas of the community on the Council of Governors, and welcomes interest from anyone within the various constituencies. You do not need specific qualifications for the role, other than an interest in healthcare and a commitment to representing your constituents to the best of your ability. A comprehensive induction programme and ongoing training is provided for Governors once they have been elected.

How do I contact a Governor?

If you would like to contact a Governor to share any views or comments or if you have any ideas and suggestions, Governor e-mail contact details are listed below each pen portrait on our Meet the Governors webpage.  Alternatively you can contact the Foundation Trust Membership Office.

If you have a specific concern or complaint, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).