Our governance

Decision-making, executive and managerial bodies in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).


Roles and structure of our boards and committees

Departmental Board

The Departmental Board, chaired by the Secretary of State, brings together ministerial and Civil Service leadership with non-executives from outside government who can provide independent support and challenge. The Departmental Board meets on a quarterly basis.

The board provides the collective strategic and operational leadership of DHSC, and has responsibility for:

  • supporting ministers and the department on strategic issues linked to the development and implementation of the government’s objectives for the health and social care system
  • horizon scanning for emerging issues
  • ensuring there is strategic alignment across the health and care system
  • overseeing the sound financial management of the department
  • overseeing the management of risks within the department and its arm’s length bodies (ALBs)
  • overseeing the department’s portfolio of major programmes and projects.

Members:

The Departmental Board has 2 sub-committees which are chaired by non-executive board members.

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee is a sub-committee of the Departmental Board and advises the Departmental Board and the department’s accounting officer on risk management, corporate governance and assurance arrangements for the department and its subsidiary bodies and reviews the comprehensiveness of assurances and integrity of financial statements.

The Audit and Risk Committee has responsibility for:

  • the accounting policies, accounts and annual report of the department, including reviewing them before their submission or audit
  • issues arising from the annual report and accounts
  • the annual governance statement
  • the quality of risk management within the department, together with regular review of the strategic risk register
  • the accountability arrangements established to support the accounting officer
  • audit strategies and plans, and the department’s response to any issues identified by internal or external audits
  • the department’s business code of conduct, anti-fraud policies, whistle-blowing policy and arrangements for special investigations
  • how we respond to findings and recommendations from external bodies (for example, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee)

The committee usually meets at least 4 times per year, with additional meetings in late spring and early summer to consider the annual report and accounts.

Members:

  • Gerry Murphy, Non-Executive Director and Chair
  • Sir Chris Wormald KCB, Permanent Secretary
  • Shona Dunn, Second Permanent Secretary
  • Andy Brittain, Director General, Finance
  • Anne Barnard, Non-Executive
  • Graham Clarke, Non-Executive
  • Rich Hornby, Non-Executive
  • Karen Holland, Group Chief Internal Auditor, Government Internal Audit Agency
  • Peter Morland, Director responsible for health, National Audit Office
  • Chief Risk Officer

Nominations and Governance Committee

The Nominations and Governance Committee is a sub-committee of the Departmental Board and advises on matters relating to the department’s senior leadership and succession planning. It meets twice per year.

Executive Committee (ExCo)

ExCo is the department’s senior decision-making body and oversees strategy, finance, performance and corporate issues in the department.

Members:

There are 3 formal sub-committees of the Executive Committee.

Performance and Risk Committee (PRC)

The PRC is a sub-committee of ExCo and oversees and evaluates departmental performance and the management of high-level risks to the delivery of the department’s strategy. It supports ExCo, the Departmental Board and ministers to acknowledge achievements and areas of success, whilst holding directorates to account for their progress. The PRC meets 4 times a year.

The PRC is chaired by the Second Permanent Secretary. Other membership includes 2 non-executive directors, the Permanent Secretary, all director generals and the directors of HR and Strategy.

People Board

The People Board is a sub-committee of ExCo and discusses strategic people issues which affect the department as a whole. It discusses people-related matters to help ensure we have the right capacity and capability to deliver our business, including diversity and inclusion and improving staff engagement and performance.

The board is made up of director-level representatives from each directorate and is chaired by the Second Permanent Secretary. It meets once per month.

Investment Committee

The Investment Committee is a sub-committee of ExCo and is responsible on behalf of ExCo for significant spending and investment decisions related to high-value or higher-risk activities for the department and ALBs’ capital and revenue business cases.

It considers business cases for significant investment proposals and commercial agreements and approves gated release of funding for any expenditure over committee approval threshold, for example major change programmes. It is chaired by the Director General for Finance and meets monthly.

DHSC annual report and accounts, 2020 to 2021, pages 96 and 97.