The National Health Service Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) consolidated all previous legislation pertaining to provider organisations into a single Act and remains the pivotal piece of legislation for provider organisations. Schedule 7 of the 2006 Act as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 sets out what must be in the constitution of NHS foundation trusts. Schedule 4 of the 2006 Act sets out certain governance arrangements for NHS trusts. Although parts of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 have not been commenced or have been commenced but never implemented, it does contain significant provision affecting provider organisations, particularly Chapter 3 of the 2012 Act dealing with licensing and Part 4 of the Act dealing with foundation trusts and NHS trusts.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 established Care Quality Commission (CQC) and made a requirement for all providers of health and social care to register. The Care Act 2014 made fundamental changes to the way in which CQC operates and inspects as well as placing new duties to meet fundamental standards on NHS provider organisations.
The degree to which parts of the Companies Act 2006 applies to the NHS has been subject to much debate. However, Chapter 2 of the Companies Act, dealing with the duties of directors is relevant to NHS directors. Much of that section is derived from common law and as such is relevant to all directors irrespective of which sector they work in.