Recommendation 77

Training and development of foundation trust governors

Monitor and the NHS Commissioning Board should review the resources and facilities made available for the training and development of governors to enhance their independence and ability to expose and challenge deficiencies in the quality of the foundation trust’s services.

Working in partnership with Monitor and the Foundation Trust Network, the NHS Leadership Academy has commissioned the GovernWell programme, a new national training programme for foundation trust governors. The GovernWell programme is designed to help equip governors and non-executives with the skills they need to perform effectively, including improving their ability to challenge quality problems.

Monitor has surveyed foundation trust governors to review the current levels of support available and shares good practice with foundation trust chairs, chief executives and non-executive directors on working effectively with their governors. Monitor also speaks regularly to trust staff and councils of governors on the role of governors and what the expectations should be of it.

Monitor will be reviewing the uptake and feedback on the GovernWell programmeon an ongoing basis. Monitor will also be supporting events hosted by the Foundation Trust Network for NHS trust and foundation trust chairs on working effectively with governors.

Monitor will update the Code of Governance to reflect the statutory duty of foundation trust boards to provide appropriate training for foundation trust governors.  Foundation trust boards will also be asked to self-certify on this as part of the annual plan review.


Monitor sits on the GovernWell Advisory Group, together with representatives from the former Foundation Trust Governors Association, the Department of Health, the NHS Leadership Academy and some chairs and trust secretaries from NHS Foundation Trusts. This group meets approximately quarterly to review the uptake and marketing of the programme and to discuss how best to refresh its content in the light of evolving governor needs.

Monitor published a revised Code of Governance for Foundation Trusts in July 2014 and this references Your statutory duties: a guide for NHS Foundation Trust Governors as setting out the detailed governance requirements relating to governors. The detailed guide sets out the trust’s duty to take steps to ensure that governors are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to discharge their duties appropriately.