Recommendation 75

Enhancing the ability of the Council of Governors

Accepted in part
The Council of Governors and the board of each foundation trust should together consider how best to enhance the ability of the council to assist in maintaining compliance with its obligations and to represent the public interest. They should produce an agreed published description of the role of the governors and how it is planned that they perform it. Monitor and the Care Quality Commission should review these descriptions and promote what they regard as best practice.  

In August 2013 Monitor published a revised version of Your statutory duties: a guide for NHS Foundation Trust Governors which includes guidance on the new statutory duties from the Health and Social Care Act 2012.  This guidance has been published in association with the Department of Health, Care Quality Commission, Foundation Trust Network and Foundation Trust Governors Association

The above organisations recognise the variety of non-statutory duties that governors may perform, as well as the importance of preserving the autonomy of individual trusts and therefore the guidance does not seek to prescribe how governors should work day-to-day; NHS foundation trust boards and governors will agree this between themselves. Monitor and the Care Quality Commission will not review the descriptions produced by each foundation trust agreed between boards and governors.

Monitor, the Department, Care Quality Commission, Foundation Trust Network and Foundation Trust Governors Association are planning a series of good practice guides to support governors in carrying out their duties. The first of these guides is planned to be on representing the interests of members of the public. In addition, Monitor, the Foundation Trust Network and the NHS Leadership Academy have commissioned the GovernWell programme, a new national training programme for Foundation Trust governors designed to help equip governors and non-executives with the skills they need to perform effectively.


In March 2014 Monitor published ‘Your duties: a brief guide for NHS foundation trust governors’ which sets out the role of Monitor and Care Quality Commission and also reminds governors of their legal responsibility to represent the interests of the public and members of the Foundation Trust. Work is also in hand to produce material to assist governors in representing the interests of the public. This guide is being produced with Monitor and NHS Providers and will be published shortly.

The GovernWell national training programme for foundation trust governors was launched in May 2013. GovernWell is a four tier programme that offers pre-induction resources, an induction toolkit, and core and specialist skills modules. Each tier of the programme builds on the last, offering governors the opportunity to build their knowledge and skill base to effectively operate in the role.