Support for current chairs and non-executives

We all know that effective leadership is essential for a sustainable NHS that provides high quality care, which is why supporting leaders and improving leadership is a priority.  As a chair or a non-executive director you bring a huge range of expertise to the board you have joined. Balancing the operational focus and day to day expertise of the CEO and executive directors; chairs and non-executive directors bring an external perspective, creating a very different dynamic and offering a unique perspective towards corporate governance, risk management and succession planning, amongst other areas.

Advising and supporting: our team is also available to discuss any issues current chairs and non-executive directors may have.

Useful information for newly appointed chairs and non-executive directors of NHS providers to support them in their roles.


Values and behaviours

Public service values are at the heart of the NHS and as a chair or non-executive director, you’re expected to subscribe, understand and commit to the personal behaviours, values, technical competence and business practices outlined in the The standards for members of NHS boards and clinical commissioning group governing bodies in England.

Patients, public and staff have helped develop this expression of values that inspire passion in the NHS and that should underpin everything it does. Individual organisations will develop and build on these values, tailoring them to their local needs. The NHS values provide common ground for co-operation to achieve shared aspirations, at all levels of the service and across systems.

  • working together for patients
  • compassion
  • respect and dignity
  • improving lives
  • commitment to quality of care
  • everyone counts.

The NHS Leadership Model describes nine behaviours that contribute towards strong and effective NHS leaders. You’ll need to demonstrate this range of behaviours and the highest standards of conduct required to contribute effectively in your role.

The fit and proper persons requirement also plays a major part in ensuring that people with director level responsibility for the quality and safety of care, and for meeting the fundamental standards, are suitable to carry out these important roles. If your circumstances change then please alert your trust of anything that may affect your suitability for appointment. Our guidance explains the requirement in more detail.

NEDs Champion Guidance

Enhancing board oversight: a new approach to non-executive director champion roles sets out a new approach to ensuring board oversight of important issues by discharging the activities and responsibilities previously held by some non-executive director champion roles, through committee structures. It also describes which roles should be retained and provides further sources of information on each issue.

Declaration of interests

Chairs and non-executive directors should act impartially and you should not be influenced by social or business relationships. No one should use their public position to further their private interests and any conflict of interest needs to be dealt with in accordance with existing codes that operate within your trust.

Where there is a potential for private interests to be material and relevant to NHS business, you should declare the relevant interests so they can be recorded in the board minutes and entered into a register which is available to the public. Where a conflict of interest is established, the board director should withdraw and play no part in the relevant discussion or decision.

Visiting guidelines

If you are required to visit wards or other areas with access to patients as part of your role, please ensure:

  • it is clear why you are visiting and what your expected outcome is
  • the visit is planned beforehand, identifying where you are going and who you’ll need to speak to, notifying senior staff well in advance
  • you are accompanied when visiting areas that give access to patients
  • you identify yourself to ward staff who should be clear about the purpose of your visit
  • when speaking to patients ensure you explain who you are and why you’re visiting

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