Panel for advising NHS foundation trust governors

The role of the panel is to answer questions raised by NHS foundation trust governors.

The panel for advising NHS foundation trust governors was introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Role of the panel

The panel’s role is to answer questions from NHS foundation trust governors about whether a trust has failed or is failing to act in line with:

  • its constitution
  • Chapter 5 of the NHS Act 2006

A governor can refer a question to the panel if more than half of the members of the council of governors voting agree to the referral. Governors must give the panel evidence of this voting process before they can consider a question.

Please see Application for the panel to consider a question (form AP1) (MS Word Document, 61.1KB), which governors should use to put a question to the panel, and Accompanying notes for the form (PDF, 90KB, 2 pages).

The panel cannot answer operational questions or act as an independent arbitrator between a council of governors and board of directors. Governors should always seek to resolve questions internally with the trust chair and other non-executive directors before contacting the panel.

Please see The panel's terms of reference (PDF, 69.6KB, 4 pages) for full details of how the panel works.

Panel for Advising Governors annual report 2014/15 (PDF, 570KB, 8 pages) was published on 10 November 2015.

Panel for Advising Governors annual report 2013/14 (PDF, 664KB, 7 pages) was published on 14 October 2014.

The panel’s new role

The panel has taken on the additional role of determining foundation trust election challenges, replacing Monitor who previously performed this task. The skills and expertise of the members of the panel make it well placed for this role. The panel will be known as ‘The Independent Elections Arbitration Panel’ when performing this role. It is separate from the formal role of the panel as described above.

NHS foundation trust members and candidates are able to make an application to challenge an election if the foundation trust has adopted the model election rules. Applications for an election challenge should be addressed to Monitor who will then forward the application to The Independent Elections Arbitration Panel for determination. Rule 66 of the model election rules contains further details about the process.

The panel’s independence

The panel is independent from Monitor, and Monitor respects the confidentiality of:

  • correspondence and information sent to the panel from NHS foundation trusts
  • information held by Monitor about particular NHS foundation trusts

The panel will only share information with regulators if it believes a trust is at significant risk of breaching regulatory standards (those of Monitor or the Care Quality Commission). In such cases the referring governors would also be asked to contact regulators directly in the first instance.

Monitor’s role is to:

  • pay expenses properly incurred by the panel
  • provide administrative support to the panel

Please see the Memorandum of understanding between Monitor and the panel (PDF, 196KB, 4 pages).


Linda Nash is the Chair of the panel. Linda served as Chair of Somerset Partnership NHS Trust from 2004 to 2013 and led the authorisation process that resulted in the trust becoming a foundation trust in May 2008.

The panel’s members have significant experience of NHS foundation trust governance, finance, law and human resources issues. Both foundation trusts and foundation trust governors are represented in the membership. Please see Fit and proper persons test for panel membership (PDF, 90.8KB, 1 page).

  • Dr Marios Adamou, Staff Governor and Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Ann Alderton, Foundation Trust Secretary
  • Sue Balcombe, Foundation Trust Director of Nursing and Patient Safety
  • Michael Carr, Foundation Trust Chair
  • Greg Dix, Foundation Trust Director of Nursing
  • Keith Eales, Foundation Trust Director of Corporate Affairs
  • Mason Fitzgerald, Foundation Trust Company Secretary
  • Paul Howard, Former Foundation Trust Secretary, Head of Governance and Administration, Federation of Small Businesses
  • Kim Hutchings, NHS Providers, London
  • Jane Landick, Foundation Trust Company Secretary
  • Luke March, Former Foundation Trust Chair
  • Sue Musson, Foundation Trust Senior Independent Director
  • Niamh O’Sullivan, Former Lead Governor at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust and Secretary to the Board and Head of Secretariat, Crossrail
  • Jane Pigg, Foundation Trust Company Secretary, Head of Corporate Affairs
  • Kevin Rowan, Trust Secretary
  • Raymond Sheehy, Lead Governor (Appointed) and Chief Executive Officer, Bridge Mental Health
  • John Weston, Public Governor and retired Management Accountant

Contact the panel

You may get in touch with the panel by post or email.

By post: Send letters in a sealed envelope marked ‘addressee only’ to:

The Chair
Independent Panel for Advising Governors
Wellington House
133-155 Wellington Road
London, SE1 8UG

Contact details