The Health and Social Care Act 2012 provides that one of the general duties of the Council of Governors is to represent the interests of the members of the corporation as a whole and the interest of the public. Governors are elected from the membership of the foundation trust, who in turn consist of staff members, the general public and sometimes, patients or service users and their carers.
How governors engage and represent the public is not defined in law, as foundation trust boards and governors will agree between themselves how governors should work day-to-day. Examples of methods by which governors may represent the interests of the public are included in Chapter 4 of Monitor’s publication Your statutory duties: a reference guide for NHS Foundation Trust governors.
Monitor, Department of Health, 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 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