Governor showcase 2019

Following the success of the Governor showcase at our previous Governor focus conference, we were delighted to have included this area again for trusts to exhibit the exciting work their governors are doing and share their examples of best practice. You can see this year's exhibitors and download their exhibition posters below. 

The exhibiting trusts this year were:


Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

As part of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust journey to a Care Quality Commission ‘outstanding’ rating, the trust created a comprehensive 18-month development plan. The first phase focused on building governor capability and confidence, followed by two subsequent phases on raising the governor profile and engaging existing members, and finally recruiting new members.

Actions to progress these phases included:

Governors now more clearly understand their roles and are better equipped to undertake their duties. This includes:


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Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

At Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, the governor’s membership development, involvement and communications group implemented a new member newsletter called Listening line.

The newsletter gives trust members a chance to directly engage with governors and aims to ensure that their voices are heard and responded to directly, as well as giving governors a clearer sense of member interests and concerns. Each issue is distributed to patient and public members with the trust magazine, and is available to staff members on the trust intranet. Listening line is also soon to be available on the trust website.

All types of governors (staff, patient, public and stakeholder) have contributed to Listening line, with recent topics including:

Guy’s and St Thomas’ are also offering members opportunities to make suggestions for improvement.

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Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust have developed a more informal, but still informative, way of connecting with members, giving them the opportunity to raise issues and concerns in a comfortable environment. With over 80 people attending the first round table event, and a governor hosting each table, members felt listened to. These sessions are in constant motion - feedback is noted and brought in as a lesson on how to improve.

Frimley have also implemented escalation routes for any issues raised. Depending on the context, this includes bringing to either the community engagement group or the patient experience group. These channels serve as ways to take on board and, where appropriate, action any concerns. 

Benefits stemming from these meaningful engagements include:


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Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

To better understand the needs of the diverse community surrounding Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the council of governors identified the need to increase representation. To do so, they developed an engagement strategy that looked beyond the hospital and into the community which it serves - thereby, engaging with those who face health inequalities.  

Governors attended multiple events to raise their profile, including:

As a result, at least four BAME patients and two young people have applied to become governors. The team recognise that there is much more to achieve but the council of governors are determined to keep pushing. The trust engaged with a number of people and its main aim was to highlight the important role that governors play.


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Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Over a single 12-month period at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the chair and four non-executive directors all reached the end of their terms of office. This motivated the council of governors to conduct an effective process and a smooth transition of the board.

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Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

By taking on the role of critical friend and advocating for patients, families and staff, the council of governors at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust play an important role supporting the trust as it aims to maintain it’s 'outstanding' Care Quality Commission rating.

They have established a robust infrastructure that ensures it is able to hold non-executive directors to account for the performance of the trust in varied ways, including:

Resulting from their diligent work the trust has guaranteed:

They also looked at an engagement plan that aims to target under-represented demographic groups and supports the prevention agenda through delivering public health messages via our Medicine for members programme.


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Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

In the run up to the 2018 autumn elections, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust had 14 governor vacancies to fill. To overcome this issue, the team used the opportunity to increase engagement with existing members and to attract new members to the role.

Methods used to encourage participation included:

The trust also filmed three videos, which were publicised on social media and amassed over 200 views in total.

As a result of their hard work, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear had the highest number of candidates standing for some governor positions. Not only that, but they also had over 1500 votes cast for the two staff governor roles and over 1000 for the two public governor roles. This was a reflection of all the hard work that the team put into the elections.

The team will continue to engage with the harder-to-fill constituency groups. 

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Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

Recognising each governor’s desire to undertake and be involved in wider aspects of the trust’s work, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust developed and cultivated an environment wherein governors are engaged in a variety of activities across the trust.

These activities include:

Governors also sit on serious incident enquiry panels and are part of interview panels for senior appointments, which one governor described as demonstrating "an inclusive and transparent approach to taking a very big decision".

This approach works to the strength of each governor, and appreciates the unique contribution that they bring to Oxleas. The governors bring not only a diverse set of experiences but a reflection of the communities they represent. Ensuring that governors are a part of project boards, reviews and enquiry panels enable them to have a wider effect on the work of the organisation and promotes a pride in working together for the benefit of local people.

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Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust

Ward and outpatient accreditation programme

With the aim of reducing variation in practice, whilst incentivising high standards in care, the ward and outpatient accreditation programme was developed to meet the needs of Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust. It also provides assurance that Care Quality Commission requirements are being met, while identifying any improvements that need to be made.

The governors were part of a team of two or three clinical and non-clinical staff who undertook observations in a ward or outpatient areas. 

Governors and non-executive directors involved use an observational tool to assess:

Where a ward/area does not achieve the accreditation level, they will be supported to make improvements. Governors would then be involved in the reassessment of this area.

Not only do the governors challenge whilst observing, but it helps them to understand the work of the trust and adds value to role of the governor by giving them a first-hand view of front line areas.

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South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Membership engagement: The smile bids schemes

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s council of governors wanted a way of engaging with members and giving them a real and tangible benefit of membership. Through their smile bids scheme, the trust was able to spread awareness of mental wellbeing in the community and reduce the stigma of mental ill health, raise awareness of the trust’s services and optimise the opportunity to increase the membership base It also allowed the governors to be involved in practical initiatives to improve the wellbeing of the communities served by the trust, as well as analysing bids submitted and identifying any themes that could help inform the trust’s business planning process.

The process:

The outcomes:

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Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Support for service users governors in governance roles

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust want to ensure that all service user governors who have experience of using mental health services feel confident and supported to be effective in their governance roles.

The trust recognised that some service user governors were feeling overwhelmed in their roles and together with the training and development committee implemented a programme of support which includes:

The support now in place has proven positive results. Service user governors now feel:


The trust is proud to have a service user governor constituency that provide a collective voice that makes a difference to improving mental health services.


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Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Promoting membership for the next generation

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust recognise that their membership database should be reflective of the wider community they serve, and the geographical area they cover. In response to the realisation that their membership reflected an older age group, the team broadened their membership and reduced the minimum age for trust membership from 16 to 14.

Proactively engaging with young people was key and resulted in many new membership enquiries. Tactics to encourage interest included:

The work of the governors raised awareness of the trust, the services they offer and promoted it as a place to begin (and hopefully continue) a career.

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