Our governance

It’s important that the public, patients, ministers and staff have confidence that we’re making progress against our objectives and doing the things they expect of us.

The Department of Health (DH) boards and committees are responsible for making sure that we carry out our work as efficiently as possible, meeting our legal and other obligations. And they make sure that we’ve identified risks that might affect our work, and have plans in place to deal with these risks.

DH departmental board

The departmental board is the collective strategic and operational leadership of the department.

The board:

  • supports and advises ministers and the department on strategic issues linked to the development and implementation of the government’s objectives for the health and care system
  • horizon scans for significant issues
  • sets the overall strategic direction for the department in the light of ministerial priorities, the spending round settlement and the business plan
  • ensures strategic alignment across the health and social care system
  • oversees the management of risks within the department and its sponsored bodies
  • oversees and monitors performance

DH departmental board annual reports

Departmental board meetings

The board meets 8 to 11 times a year.

Departmental board meeting summaries from 2012 and earlier are available on the National Archives website

Departmental board members

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, chairs the departmental board. Other members are:

  • Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Care and Support
  • Ben Gummer MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Care Quality
  • Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health
  • Lord Prior, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality (Lords)
  • Dame Una O’Brien DCB, Permanent Secretary
  • Professor Dame Sally Davies DBE, Chief Medical Officer
  • Jon Rouse, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships
  • David Williams, Director General, Finance and NHS
  • Charlie Massey, Director General, Strategy and External Relations
  • Will Cavendish, Director General of Innovation, Growth and Technology
  • Felicity Harvey CBE, Director General, Public Health
  • Tamara Finkelstein, Chief Operating Officer
  • Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser
  • Peter Sands (lead non-executive)
  • Dr Catherine Bell (non-executive)
  • Chris Pilling (non-executive)
  • Gerry Murphy Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee (non-executive)

DH audit and risk committee

The audit and risk committee advises the departmental board and the department’s accounting officer on risk management, corporate governance and assurance arrangements for DH and its subsidiary bodies. It looks at:

  • 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)

Audit and risk committee meetings

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

Read the DH Audit and Risk committee annual reports

Audit and risk committee meeting summaries from 2012 and earlier are available on the National Archives website

Audit and risk committee members

The current members are:

  • Gerry Murphy (Chair)
  • Jacqueline Burke
  • David Allen

The committee decides which other civil servants should attend meetings. Una O’Brien, David Williams and Tamara Finkelstein attend most meetings. They are usually joined by the DH Head of Internal Audit and Mike Newbury, Director responsible for health at the National Audit Office.

Executive committee

The executive committee considers all major policy and operational issues that have a significant impact on the work of the Department of Health. It supports the planning, co-ordination and delivery of ministerial priorities and supports the Permanent Secretary as Accounting Officer. The executive committee:

  • sets corporate governance and assurance arrangements for DH and our subsidiary bodies (with advice from the audit and risk committee)
  • considers and manage all strategic risks and issues that may have a significant impact on ministerial priorities and the wider health and care system advise ministers and the Departmental Board on the overall disposition and allocation of resources to DH and the wider system
  • oversees the structure and function of the department and the bodies it sponsors

Executive committee meetings

The executive committee holds weekly meetings.

Executive committee members

Members of the executive committee are:

  • Dame Una O’Brien DCB, Permanent Secretary
  • Professor Dame Sally Davies DBE, Chief Medical Officer
  • Jon Rouse, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships
  • David Williams, Director General, Finance and NHS
  • Felicity Harvey CBE, Director General, Public Health
  • Charlie Massey, Director General, Strategy and External Relations
  • Will Cavendish, Director General of Innovation, Growth and Technology
  • Tamara Finkelstein, Chief Operating Officer
  • Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser
  • Dr Catherine Bell (non-executive)

Summaries to April 2012 are available on the National Archives website

Management committee

The Management Committee make decisions on matters relating to operations, finance, people, business planning, project delivery, assurance (in particular of ALBs), and transformational change. In particular:

  • oversee the development of the business plan and ensure it is aligned with the Department’s strategic objectives
  • maintains oversight of performance against the department’s financial and resource plans
  • oversees the appropriate governance, assurance, structure and function of DH and its sponsor bodies
  • approves the governance statement and departmental performance narrative forming part of the DH annual report and accounts, and the annual report and governance statement
  • is responsible for management of in-year changes to departmental budgets

Members of the management committee are:

  • Tamara Finkelstein, Chief Operating Officer
  • Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer
  • David Williams, Director General for Finance, Commercial and NHS
  • Jon Rouse, Director General for Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships
  • Felicity Harvey, Director General for Public and International Health
  • Charlie Massey, Director General for External Relations
  • Will Cavendish, Director General for Innovation, Growth and Technology
  • Andrew Baigent, Director of Group Financial Management
  • Dom Brankin, Director of Workplace and Transformation
  • Kate Tilley, Director of HR

Advisory groups

These committees give expert advice to help us form our polices:

Independent reviews