All NHS foundation trusts have a duty to engage with their local communities and encourage local people to become members of the organisation. NHS foundation trusts have to take steps to ensure that their membership is representative of the communities they serve.
As part of the application process to become a foundation trust, NHS trusts are required to set out their detailed proposals for the minimum size and composition of their membership.
Anyone who lives in the area, works for the trust, or has been a patient or service user there, can become a member of an NHS foundation trust. This gives staff and local people a real stake in the future of their hospital.
The council of governors works with the Board of Directors, which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the foundation trust, to ensure that the foundation trust delivers high quality care and plays a role in helping to set the overall direction of the organisation. Councils of governors are expected to focus on ensuring that NHS foundation trusts listen and respond to the needs and preferences of stakeholders, especially local communities.
Governors’ statutory roles include:
The Board of Directors of an NHS foundation trust is responsible for the day-to-day running of the trust and is made up of both executive, for example the chief executive and finance director, and non-executive directors.
The council of governors does not have an operational role. Governors are responsible primarily for holding the non-executive directors individually and collectively to account for the performance of the board of directors and for representing the interests of the foundation trust members and of the public.