Notes from the field of public involvement

Monday, 08 August 2005

FT Network admits Governors are “a source of real tension”

New Voices, New Accountabilities is the FT Network’s new "guide to wider governance in Foundation Trusts" and certainly more lively than anything the Department of Health or even Monitor has come up with. It’s essential reading to get the FT trade body’s perspective on the present and, more importantly, the future of FT governance and development.

There are sections on the role of the company secretary (touted by some as the solution to governance muddle) and "what Monitor will be looking for". But it’s the discussion on Boards and Governors themselves which holds the interest. The FT Network bravely admits what research thus far on FT Governors has highlighted: FTs had little guidance about what Governors were for and this was “a source of real tension as foundation trusts have grappled with the ambiguities in the wider governance arrangements and struggled to develop a shared understanding of the [governor] role.” MAC’s experience of FTs and their Governors bears this out. We advocate shared learning between Board members and Governors in order to come to a new understanding about governance and corporate relationships. This doesn’t seem to be happening very widely and it clearly leads to problems.

Meanwhile, FTs are getting on with realising their destiny. As Sue Slipman the FT Network Director says, FTs are "go-anywhere vehicles". In the health outside of hospitals consultation about to start, that view will be taken literally. Don’t be surprised to see FT tank tracks churning up the primary care greensward across many parts of England.

New Voices, New Accountabilities” (Links to Adobe PDF)

Andrew Craig | Send feedback