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Council of Governors

The Council of Governors


Governors group landscape

The Council of Governors is comprised of thirty nine Governors who represent the Trust's public and staff constituencies and those stakeholder organisations who are entitled to appoint Governors under the terms of the Trust's constitution.

The Council of Governors has a number of statutory duties, including the appointment and removal of the Chairman and Non-Executive Directors, the appointment of the Trust's auditors and the approval of changes to the constitution of the Trust. They also hold to account the Board for its management of the Trust.

The Trust values the contribution of its Governors and the particular perspectives that they bring to the development of services. Consequently, Governors are active in developing the Trust's strategies and its annual plan.

The Council of Governors has strong working links with the Board. A joint meeting with the Board is held twice a year and board members attend relevant Council of Governors committees and participate in joint seminars. The Board considers that these arrangements are an effective way to understand the views of the Council of Governors and maintain engagement with its members. Governors from the public and staff constituencies are elected to office for varying terms up to three years and may seek election for further terms up to a maximum of three.

Why do we have Governors and Members?

Foundation trust status gives the Trust greater freedom to plan local services allowing us to respond to the needs and wishes of our service users and local communities.

Foundation trusts recruit members and, from these members, Governors are elected to represent the views of local service users and staff. County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust currently has over 6,000 public members and 5,000 staff members. I'd like to become a Foundation Trust Member.

The Public Governors represent the geographic area covered by the Trust , which is split into nine constituencies.

These constituencies are:

  • Chester-le-Street;
  • Durham City;
  • Darlington;
  • Derwentside;
  • Sedgefield;
  • Easington;
  • Tees Valley, Hambleton and Richmondshire;
  • Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland;
  • Wear Valley and Teesdale.

Staff Governors represent the following staff groups:

  • Nursing and Midwifery;
  • Administrative, Clerical and Managers;
  • Medical;
  • Allied health professionals, Professional and technical staff and Pharmacists;
  • Ancillary;
  • Community based.

We also has a number of Governors nominated by our partner organisations.  Following a revision to the Trust's constitution, agreed by the members at the AGM in September 2013, Appointed Governors represent the following organisations:

  • North East Ambulance Service;
  • Local Universities;
  • Darlington Borough Council;
  • Durham County Council;
  • Local Medical Committee;
  • Tees, Esk and wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust;
  • North East Chamber of Trade;
  • NHS Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group
  • NHS North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group
  • NHS Durham, Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group.

What do Governors do?

Governors provide advice to and influence how the Trust develops services to meet the needs of local communities. Governors are elected by patients, public and staff, or nominated by our partner organisations. Governor elections take place every year with Governors normally serving a three year term.

Governors attend meetings of the Council of Governors in which they represent their local communities. The Council of Governors holds four meetings a year, one of which is the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Governors are therefore involved in discussing important issues such as any major new service developments, the Annual Report and Accounts and the means employed by the Trust to recruit members and to ensure that they are kept up to date on issues.

What does the Council of Governors do?

The Council of Governors works alongside the Trust's Board of Directors to ensure that local communities and staff have a greater say in how services are developed and delivered by the Trust. The Council of Governors is made up of local people, staff members and representatives of the local partner organisations.

The Council of Governors plays a major role in the governance of the Trust. Its main responsibilities include:

  • Collating the views of members and the wider community about the services the Trust provides;
  • Working alongside the Board of Directors to produce the strategic vision and the Trust's Annual Plan;
  • Appointing the Chairman and the Non-Executive Directors and setting their remuneration;
  • Appointing the Trust's auditor;
  • Receiving the Annual Report and Accounts; and
  • Developing the membership strategy.

Who are the Governors responsible to?

Public and Staff Governors are elected by the members of the Trust. Each Governor is responsible for representing the interests and views of their particular group of members. Public Governors represent local people in their constituencies. Staff Governors represent the views of their colleagues. Governors appointed by partner organisations provide input from their organisations.

How do I become a Governor?

The Trust holds elections to the Council of Governors every year.  If you are a member of the Trust and over the age of sixteen years then you are eligible to stand for election in the public constituency in which you live.  Equally if you are employed by the Trust you are eligible to stand for election in the appropriate staff constituency.

If would like to stand for election then you can self nominate by filling in the nomination form.   If you would like further information about how to participate in the election process please contact the Foundation Trust Office.

How much of my time would being a Governor take up?

For each Governor the time commitment required will be different. As a minimum, a Governor is required to attend four meetings of the Council of Governors each year, including the AGM. These meetings are held quarterly. Governors need time to prepare for these meetings and to also deal with any queries raised by their constituents. Check the latest Council of Governors meeting details in our Events Calendar.

In addition, Governors are required to sit on at least one sub-committee of the Council of Governors and participate in the work of that sub-committee.

Currently, the sub-committees of the Council of Governors are as follows:

  • Audit and Governance;
  • Quality and Healthcare Governance;
  • Nomination and Remuneration; and
  • Strategy.

How long are Governors appointed for?

Governors are usually appointed for three years. Governors will be eligible to stand for re-election and may serve up to a maximum of nine years.

Do Governors get paid?

Governors do not get paid for the work they do. However, expenses properly incurred in the performance of their duties are reimbursed.

What support do Governors receive?

The Trust provides support to Governors via the staff in the Foundation Trust Office.

The Foundation Trust Office is staffed as follows:

Donna Swan - Trust Secretary;

Gaye Ferguson-Boyes - Trust Secretariat Co-ordinator; and

Shelly Regan - Committee Administrator