Home / Council of Governors elections 2021: Nominations open March 25

Council of Governors elections 2021: Nominations open March 25

Get ready now! Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust want patients, service users, carers and members of the public and staff to help shape our future. Put yourself forward in March!

Nominations for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Council of Governors elections will open on March 25. This is your chance to stand up for election and help shape our future.

Whether you are a patient, carer, member of the public or staff, we have vacancies across the counties, 18 altogether.

PatientService Users Buckinghamshire and other counties3
PatientService Users Oxfordshire4
PublicRest of England & Wales1
StaffBuckinghamshire Mental Health Services1
StaffCorporate Services1
StaffOxfordshire, Banes, Swindon & Wiltshire Mental Health Services1
StaffSpecialised Services1

Why should I stand?

As a governor you will be able:

Hannah-Louise Toomey getting ready for her first ever Council of Governors meeting in June 2019. But as a governor she has had the opportunity to get involved in much more than just meetings.

  • Have a say in how your local mental health and community health services are developed
  • Shape the future of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Help ensure that the NHS meets the needs of your community

You will also meet like-minded people who share your passion for the NHS.  And being a governor is an opportunity to learn, grow and pursue causes close to your heart. Our governor Hannah-Louise Toomey has got involved in much more than just meetings and she shared her story here.

Where can I stand?

You will be able to stand as a candidate and vote in the constituency and class where you are signed up. For example, if you have signed up as a service user with a postcode starting OX, you can stand as a candidate and vote in the category Patient/Service users Oxfordshire.

If you are unsure of your membership status, please email us at FT.MembershipCommunity@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk and we’ll check it for you.

Am I qualified to become a governor?

Ben Glass became a governor in order to give a greater voice for people who use our services.

You don’t need any formal qualifications to become a governor – just your interest and enthusiasm. All Trust members who are at least 16 years old can stand to become a governor.

Ben Glass from High Wycombe became a governor because he wanted to give a greater voice and a better deal for people who use our services. Read his story here.

How much time do I need to put in?

The Council of Governors meets four times a year, currently online on Microsoft Teams, usually on a Thursday from 6pm to 8pm. As a governor you are expected to attend these meetings, although we understand it’s sometimes not possible for everyone to make every meeting. Agendas are sent to you in advance to enable you to prepare for the meeting and see what is set to be discussed.

Oxford Health also has a Governor Forum, which takes place about two weeks before each Council meeting. The Forum is an opportunity for governors to discuss issues in a more informal setting and to plan what to bring to the Council meetings.

We also expect governors to join at least one governor sub-group and, on a rota basis, observe at least one Board meeting and one Board sub-committee a year. In the governor sub-groups you can get a much more in-depth view of various areas of the Trust governance. The sub-groups are:

  • Safety and Clinical Effectiveness
  • Patient and Carer Experience
  • Staff Experience
  • Membership Involvement

Sub-groups meet four times a year. They are chaired by a governor, and agenda and papers are sent to you in advance. Governors are elected for a period of up to three years, but you can resign at any time by writing to the company secretary or chairman of the Trust.

Will I get paid?

The governor role is an unpaid public service role, similar to that of a school governor. Reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.

How do I nominate myself?

You will be able to nominate yourself on a nomination website that will launch on March 25. You can complete or download the nomination form online or request a paper copy or an easy read version. Nominations will close on April 13, and voting takes place in May.

All Trust members will receive a Notice of Election by email or in the post, depending on your communications preferences. The notice will tell you that nominations are open, where the seats are and how to put yourself forward.

The elections are conducted independently from the Trust by an external company Civica who will be able to answer your questions. Their contact details will be in the Notice of Election.

Although nominations are still to open, there are things you can do now to get ready.

Become a member of the Trust

Only members can stand as a candidate or vote in the governor election. You must be a member by April 13 to take part and vote in this year’s elections.

So, if you aren’t a member yet, sign up now.

Membership is free, and anyone at least 12 years old, living in England or Wales can join. You have no obligations as a member but can get involved in many different ways. See our Membership pages for more.

We’ll be also having election events for people interested in becoming a governor – as a member you’ll get the invitations straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

Prepare your election statement

Your nomination will ask for a 250-word election statement. This will to give your community an idea of what you stand for. Why do you want to become a governor? What aspects of your local health care do you feel strongly about? What do you feel you can most contribute? Your statement is entirely up to you, but the word limit is strict.

You can include a photo of yourself in your election statement. A picture is not mandatory, but it will make you more approachable for the electorate.

Invite your friends to join the Trust

Only members can stand as a candidate or vote in the governor elections so share this opportunity and invite your friends, family and colleagues to become members. In order to vote in this year’s election you must join by April 13.

Sign up here.