What is a Foundation Trust?
Foundation Trusts have more freedom from central government control, though they remain fully part of the NHS. Foundation Trusts are duty-bound to deliver free care, based on need, not ability to pay, but they are more accountable to the local community. This is because local people and staff can become members of the Trust and elect representatives to serve on the Council of Governors or even stand for election as a governor themselves.
Foundation Trusts are:
- Part of the NHS and subject to NHS standards, performance ratings and inspections. They must also work in partnership with other NHS organisations and co-operate with local partners
- Accountable to Monitor (the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) and the CQC (Care Quality Commission), who oversee and monitor them against their terms of their licence and have powers to intervene.
What are the Benefits?
As an NHS Foundation Trust we have:
- Greater freedom to determine our own future
- More flexibility to tailor services to the particular needs of the communities we serve
- New powers to enter into legal and financial agreements with partner healthcare organisations, enabling us to work more effectively together
- New financial freedoms, allowing us to invest surplus funds where they are most needed to improve the care we provide.
Under the terms of its Constitution the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has a Governance structure consisting The Membership, A Council of Governors and a Board of Directors.
The following diagram clarifies the governance structure of a Foundation Trust showing the lines of delegation and accountability.
Anyone over the age of 16 and living in the area served by the Trust can become a member of the Foundation Trust. Employees of the Trust (subject to certain conditions) are automatically members of the Foundation Trust unless they choose to opt out. It is free to join and how involved the member wishes to become is a matter for the member. The Membership are entitled to take part in elections voting for their representatives on the Council of Governors and indeed members may wish to seek election by the membership to the Council of Governors. The Membership are entitled to attend the Annual Meeting and receive the Annual Report and Accounts of the Foundation Trust from the Board of Directors and if required any amendments to the Constitution that affect the Council of Governors as proposed by the Board of Directors.
If you are interested in becoming a Member, complete our online
The Council of Governors
The Council of Governors consists of 28 Governors; 15 publically elected governors, 5 staff governors elected by the Trust's staff. The Council of Governors also has 8 appointed governors representing partner organisations whom the Board of Directors feel can contribute to the forward plan of the Foundation Trust. A principal role of the Governors is to appoint the Non Executive Chair and up to 6 further Non Executive Directors. The Council of Governors then has the collective duty of holding the Non Executive Directors accountable for the performance of the Board of Directors in delivering against its forward plan. Further details can be found within our Council of Governors pages.
The Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is collectively and corporately accountable for organisational performance of the Trust, in particular the strategic direction of the Trust, the quality and safety of patient care and achievement of its five year rolling strategic plan.
More information can be found within the Board of Directors pages.