2019 Elections for Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals Governors are now open – you can nominate yourself or others

To nominate a candidate and/or vote in the elections, you have to be a member of the NHS Foundation Trust. You can join here.

This year the hospitals are looking for governors in the following public constituencies:

3 – South Huddersfield
4 – North Kirklees (two vacancies)
5 – Skircoat and Lower Calder Valley
8 – Lindley and the Valleys

You can find full information about the elections here.

If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, you can download a fillable PDF of the Nomination form. The deadline for sending in nominations is 5PM on 20th May 2019. For the contested constituencies voting will open on 12th June 2019 and close at 5PM on 5th July 2019. More info is downloadable here.

The two key roles of governors are to represent the membership and public, and hold the Non Executive Directors to account

Unfortunately there are no ways for Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals Elected Governors to have contact with the members of the public in the ‘constituencies’ that elected them. Even though Monitor’s Governor’s Guide says,

Elected Governors:  direct representatives of local communities

A key role of Elected Governors is:

“to ensure that people from the communities served by the trusts can take part in governing them. They are the direct representatives of local communities.”

So ck999 has asked Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals trust to:

  • Set up hospitals trust email addresses for Elected Governors, so that the public can contact them directly.
  • Help Governors to hold public constituency meetings.
  • Set up a governors’ and members’ section of the hospitals trust website where they can communicate with each other.

We think this can only help our hospitals trust to provide better services for the public

And it would bring our elected governors in line with the government’s Brief Guide to Elected Governor’s Duties. This is clear that:

“Governors should … interact regularly with the members of the trust and the public to ensure they understand their views, and to make sure that they clearly communicate to them information on trust performance and planning…

“Governors should establish a process for interacting with members and the public and recording their views on key topics.

“Governors should also ensure that members and the public know when and where they are able to communicate with governors for this purpose. How the trust and governors organise this process is at their discretion.”

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS know from our friends at Save Rothbury Cottage Hospital that Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust elected governors hold public meetings for their constituents to come and talk to them. We need the same opportunities in Calderdale and Kirklees.

Governors’ views must be taken account of by Hospital Trust directors when setting the strategy for the trust

Elected governor Rosemary Hedges explained,

“Four times a year we have a private meeting with our Chair, followed by one with the Non-Executive Directors and Executive Directors of the Board. They present performance indicators  and development plans to the governors for comment.  Governors have no vote on any of these matters. Our job is to ask incisive questions and to be a ‘critical friend’.  We represent the public, the receivers of the health services, and whilst we can comment and question, we have no veto on any matter.”

Despite the lack of any veto, according to the Dept of Health’s Brief Guide to NHS Foundation Trust’s Governors’ Duties:

“Directors must take account of governors’ views when setting the strategy for the trust, giving governors the opportunity to feed in the views of trust members and the public and to question the non-executive directors if these views do not appear to be reflected in the strategy. ..

“…the process for holding the non-executive directors to account for the performance of the board…should specify … what steps to take should the governors be dissatisfied with responses they receive from one, or more, of the non-executive directors”

“When governors represent the views of members and the public to the board, the directors should record these views and consider them in formulating trust strategy and assessing trust performance in related areas.”

Elected Governors also have the duty to appoint and remove the Board of Directors Chair and Non-Executive Directors, and to set the terms of those appointments.

Informal Governors’ Forum is improving performance and understanding of role

Rosemary Hedges says being an Elected Governor might be a bit daunting at first, but Governors support each other by exchanging information and ideas:

“When I started I felt a bit out of my depth, not knowing what I was looking at or for.  However, over the last year or so the Governors have developed a Forum where they meet privately to get to know each other, learn what others are doing and develop ideas about how they might want to improve their performance. I have found this very effective and I believe it has helped all of those who attend it.  it is not compulsory and there are some who choose not to attend.  But I do feel with this and the Private Facebook page we have set up we are starting to understand our responsibilities better and improve our performance based on a shared understanding of why we are there.

“We are expected to attend quite a lot of meetings and read a huge amount of paperwork.

“We are all allocated to attend Divisional Reference Group meetings (all functions in the hospital are under one of 6 divisions) of which one governor is chair, and any number of sub committees – for example I sit on the Mortality Surveillance Group, and the Medicines Management Group, and there are others such as Finance and Performance, Organ Donation, and Charitable Funds.

“We are also often invited to attend visits to various departments or wards, and to take part in food tasting sessions and patient questionnaires.  We are offered training events and workshops with Directors and Non Executive Directors on a regular basis. It can be a busy and demanding role.” 

Info about the legal obligations of Elected Governors is here

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