Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will soon be holding an election to the Council of Governors. This is an exciting opportunity to represent the interests of Foundation Trust members and partner organisations from the local community.
We currently have the following nine governor vacancies available:
- Service User Governor - East Sussex (1) and West Sussex (3)
- Public Governor - West Sussex (1)
- Carer Governor - All areas (1)
- Staff Governors - All areas (3)
The Election process is being run by the Civica and nomination will open on Friday 17th July 2020, more details on how to nominate will be available soon. In order to stand for election you must be a member of the Trust in the constituency for which you wish to be elected. Those who are successfully elected must undertake an induction, as part of their training for the role.
What is a Governor?
A governor is independent of the Trust and could be viewed as a critical friend. Governors are volunteers and do not get paid for their role other than expenses, such as travel.
Governors must be members of the Trust, which is a feature of Foundation Trusts, who must have a membership scheme to engage with constituents. There are 34 Governors from the following constituencies: service users (10), carers (4), public (7), staff (5) and appointed (8). This latter group are from partner organisations, such as the ambulance service and Sussex Police.
Governors have a number of statutory duties as set out in the NHS Act 2006 and the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Some examples of these are representing the interests of members of the public, holding the non-executive directors to account for the performance of the board, appointing the Chair and non-executive directors and determining their remuneration. There are also a range of non-statutory duties that governors get involved in and these will vary from trust to trust. These may include getting involved in focus groups, open days, reading panels, patient satisfaction surveys, ward and department visits and much more.
What sort of people become governors?
Governors are generally local people who have an interest in healthcare and care about improving their local health services for the good of the whole community and who are keen to develop stronger links between the trust and the community it serves.
Governors need to:
- recognise that a health service is complex with many issues to address to ensure its smooth running and be able to operate effectively at this level
- be able to put the needs of the community above personal preference
- be keen to understand and be able to champion the needs of the local community
- actively listen and value the contributions of different people
- welcome and support fellow governors from minority groups which are traditionally under represented
- be enthusiastic and committed and want to work as part of a cohesive team
- be keen to learn and keep updated
- be able to ask questions in a constructive, not a confrontational, manner
- be willing to read relevant documents and papers, attend relevant meetings and training the trust will provide.
Governors will be expected to abide by the seven principles of public life, otherwise known as the Nolan principles – selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership, and will be expected to abide by a Code of Conduct. This code will have been developed by the trust with its governors.
Lastly, it is important for prospective governors to understand that the governor role is broader than their own experiences. They will be called upon to represent the interests of the community rather than their individual views or needs.
If you are thinking of becoming a governor and would like more information please see our detailed booklet available here or you can get in touch with Natalie Hennings, Corporate Governance Manager on email email@example.com or by calling 0300 304 2066.