About us

Council of Governors

Governors are an essential part of the structure that make up a NHS foundation trust.

They are the elected and appointed representatives of staff, the public and local stakeholders who bring a lay perspective to the governance of the foundation trust. Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has 32 governors in total across Essex who comprise public, worker and partnership governors. The elected governors each serve a maximum of two terms of three years. The Trust has had a council of governors in place since it became a foundation trust in 2006.

To contact a governor, please email foundation.members@southend.nhs.uk with your enquiry, remembering to name the governor or constituency who you are trying to contact.

Your chance to help shape hospital services  

Most people living in south-east Essex are likely to need the services of Southend University Hospital at some time in their lives. Now they and you are being offered the chance of playing an important role in the Trust by standing for election as a Foundation Trust governor. Anyone who is a member of the Foundation Trust can become a public governor - whether you are a current or former patient, a relative or supporter of the hospital you are invited to stand in our governor elections.

The governor role includes appointing the Trust Chairman (also Chair of governors) and non-executive directors, approving the appointment of the chief executive and appointing external auditors. The introduction of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 has given foundation trust governors additional responsibilities and powers. Under the Act, governors must now hold the non-executive directors to account over the performance of the board of directors, approve mergers and acquisitions,  and approve any proposal to increase the proportion of Trust income (+5%) attributable to activities other than provision of goods and services for the purposes of the health service.  They also approve constitutional changes, which may require approval by trust members too. Governors are also now expected to represent the interests of foundation trust members and the interests of the wider public in the area the trust serves. 

The Council of Governors is the collective body that forms half of a critical partnership with the board of directors.  The effective governance of the foundation trust depends on the relationship between the council of governors and board of directors working well.  Getting the balance right is not always easy to achieve.  However, an essential starting point is a mutual understanding of each other's roles and responsibilities. The board of directors needs to understand that the governors must have some latitude in carrying out their duties and in representing the interests of members and the public so that they can influence the strategic direction of the Trust. However, the council does not manage the day to day operations of the trust, neither does it manage the business of the Trust - this is the role of the board of directors. 

To assist the Council carry out its role effectively, it has established a number of sub committees which enable it to consider certain aspects of its work in more detail.  These include the following: 

Strategy and Governance Group

This Governance Committee meets to discuss a wide range of governance matters and advises the council of governors accordingly.  Topics considered include surveys of Governors conducted by organisations such as Monitor and the Foundation Trust Network, the Council of governors' self-assessment, Governor elections and nominations for honours and hospital awards. The Committee makes recommendations on the appointment or removal of the Trust's external auditors taking into account the views of the Directors' Audit Committee. It also monitors the application of the Constitution and reviews the wording of the Governors' Code of Conduct to ensure that it continues to be appropriate.

In accordance with the constitution, the Board of Directors is required to take into account the views of the council of governors on the Trust's forward planning, views which the council has formed through extensive engagement with members and the public. On behalf of the council of governors, the Strategy Group considers these forward planning and strategic issues and makes recommendations. 

Membership Engagement and Recruitment Group

This group includes the Editorial Advisory Board and looks at ways of communicating and engaging with members of the Foundation Trust and encouraging patients, carers and members of the public to join the Trust. It is also the group which networks with other Foundation Trusts and monitors and receives reports from the Foundation Trust Network before consideration by the Council of Governors. Another activity controlled is the production and distribution of the governors' newsletter the FuTure. The group also reviews the education and training of the Trust's workforce and also the education and training needs of governors to enable them to fulfil their role as fully as possible, and makes recommendations to the council of governors. 

NEDs and Governors' Group

Whilst the health service moves towards a new regime and Governors are presented with extra duties, it was considered prudent to create this Group so that both Governors and NEDs can discuss issues that are important to each other.  Increasingly, Governors will seek assurance from the Board of Directors - but particularly NEDs - as to the Trust's performance and strategies, and will seek to ensure that their views are being considered.  This Group provides that forum.

Patient and Carer Experience Group

This Group consider how the Trust meets the healthcare needs of the people served by the Trust. It participates in projects to obtain the views of patients and receives information about hospital services directly from patients and nursing staff, amongst other sources.  In addition to reviewing the wider needs of patients it also considers how the hospital provides services to specific groups such as children and younger persons, and older people. 

Search and Appointments Committee

The Council of governors is responsible for appointing the Chairman and non-executive directors. This Committee reviews the structure, size and composition of the Board of Directors, gives full consideration to succession planning for the Chairman and other non-executive directors, identifies and nominates suitable candidates and reviews the remuneration and allowances and other terms and conditions of office. The Committee makes recommendations to the Council of governors regarding Chairman and other non-executive directors appointments. 

Worker Governors' Group

Worker Governors meet to discuss how they may engage with their members, and have attended various departmental team meetings.