The role of a governor

As a foundation trust we have a Council of Governors to represent the views and opinions of the organisation’s members.

Governors stand for an initial three year term and can stand for re-election for a further two terms. Governors are made up of those elected by members and those appointed by our partner organisations.

Our governors work with our Board of Directors and agree what needs to be done to meet the needs of the community. Our Council of Governors forms the link between our Board of Directors, our membership and our wider community.

The chairman of our Board of Directors is also chairman of our Council of Governors.

There are three types of Governors:

  • Public
  • Staff
  • Partnership/Appointed Governors.

Our public governors are members of the public that have been elected to represent the people in the areas in which they live. We have 10 public governors representing the Somerset West and Taunton Deane District Council area, four representing South Somerset (South Somerset District Council area), four representing Sedgemoor (Sedgemoor District Council area), four representing Mendip (Mendip district Council area) and one representing the rest of England (outside Somerset).

Our staff governors are our members of staff who have been elected by their colleagues to represent their views, whether medical staff, support staff or clerical and administrative staff.  We have ten staff governors across the organisation.

Our partnership/appointed governors represent local ‘partner’ organisations, including local councils or organisations such as Taunton and Somerset Samaritans, and the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.  We have eight governors in this category.

These three types of governors together make up our Council of Governors. Our Council of Governors work with our Board of Directors to make sure that we act in a way that is consistent with our constitution and in the best interest of our patients.

Our governors have three roles:

  1. Appointments: selecting and appointing our chair and non-executive directors and agreeing the terms and conditions for these roles.
  1. Monitoring: informing NHS Improvement if we are at risk of breaching our Terms of Authorisation, and raising concerns if they cannot be resolved at a local level.
  2. Representing Members: being the eyes and ears of our local community and communicating with and representing the interests of the members in their constituency.

Members elect a Council of Governors who represent them and have a responsibility to communicate with them. Governors on that council meet four times a year.  Our governors agree the long term strategy of the trust, and approve the appointment of a Chief Executive, as and when required.

For further information on how to stand for election as a governor, please contact the Governor and Membership Support Officer, on Members@somersetft.nhs.uk, or telephone 01823 342511.