Our council of governors and the role of a governor

We are a foundation trust which enables greater local accountability and greater financial freedom. The council of governors is part of our governance structure and holds the Trust Board to account. This means it has a number of duties which include the appointment of the non-executive directors and external auditors and it can scrutinise the performance of the trust board.

Our council of governors represents the views and opinions of our trust’s members. We have three categories of governors; public, staff and partnership or appointed governors. Governors stand for a three-year term and can stand for re-election (public or staff governors) or be reappointed (appointed or partner governors) for a further two terms.

Our governors work with our trust board and agree what needs to be done to meet the needs of the community. It works with our Trust Board to make sure that we act in a way that is consistent with our constitution and in the best interest of our patients. It also forms the link between our trust board, our membership and our wider community. The chairman of our Trust Board is also chairman of our council of governors.

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

Our staff governors are colleagues who have been elected by other colleagues to represent their views, whether medical staff, support staff or clerical and administrative staff. We have 12 staff governors across our trust.

Our partnership/appointed governors represent local ‘partner’ organisations, including local councils or organisations such as Taunton and Somerset Samaritans, and the Somerset Integrated Care Board. We have nine governors in this category.

Our governors have three roles:

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