New national programme for foundation trust governors

A new national programme to help foundation trust governors play their crucial roles to full effect will be launched in the new year.

The NHS foundation trust governor training and development programme will be open to the 2,600 governors across the country. As the number of foundation trusts (FTs) rises over the next few years the number of governors could triple.

the new NHS Leadership Academy awarded the contract for the national programme to the Foundation Trust Network (FTN).

The programme will prepare them for their increasingly responsible role.  The core training will cover governors’ responsibilities in governance accountability and finance through face to face and online methods. Governors will develop the practical and behavioural skills to question, challenge and hold their board to account.

More specialist modules will also be available including business skills, such as governors’ statutory role in mergers and acquisitions; strategy and planning; and  non-executive appointments and remuneration.

The general public will also have access to more information about the role of governors to help encourage more people to put themselves forward for election.

The programme will complement the work done by individual FTs and will ensure that consistently high standards are available across the country for the benefit of governors and their trusts. The FTN will develop a network of trainers recruited from within FTs or similar organisations around the country to help deliver the material regionally. This innovative approach has the potential to provide continuing professional development opportunities for NHS staff involved in delivery, as well as for the participants. Others who have worked within FTs, such as retired Chairs, may also become involved.

Academy managing director Jan Sobieraj said:

“Governors will play an increasingly crucial role in FTs. They will be central to the Trust’s community engagement and at the heart of its governance, making sure FTs are responsive and accountable to their staff, stakeholders and the local people. We believe the FTN is in a unique position to make sure this happens with current and new governors.  We’re delighted to be working with them and other partners across the NHS on this new exciting programme.

“One of the Academy’s priorities is to make sure there is a consistent approach to developing leadership skills across our health system – whether that is for FT governors, CCG governing body members, emerging leaders – is the same for all  organisations.”

Peter Griffiths, chair of the Foundation Trust Network said:

“The FTN has extensive experience of working with governors since foundation trusts were created. Developing governors’ effectiveness and enthusing the general public to get involved takes time. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we have been making steady progress in building up ways to impart the knowledge and skills needed by governors to perform their role effectively. This new national programme is a golden opportunity to ensure that they can make the most of their role.”