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:

  • Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support
  • Dr Daniel Poulter MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
  • Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health
  • Lord Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality (Lords)
  • Una O’Brien CB, Permanent Secretary
  • Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer
  • Jon Rouse, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships
  • Richard Douglas CB, Director General, Finance and NHS
  • Charlie Massey, Director General, Strategy and External Relations
  • Felicity Harvey CBE, Director General, Public Health
  • Peter Sands (lead non-executive)
  • Dr Catherine Bell (non-executive)
  • Chris Pilling (non-executive)
  • Mike Wheeler, 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.

Audit & Risk committee annual report 2012 to 2013 (PDF, 112KB, 13 pages)

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

Audit and risk committee members

The committee usually has a minimum of 3 non-executive members, the current members are:

  • Mike Wheeler (Chair)
  • Michael Hearty
  • Jacqueline Burke

The committee decides which other civil servants should attend meetings. Una O’Brien and Richard Douglas attend most meetings. They are usually joined by the DH Head of Internal Audit and Colin Wilcox, Assistant Auditor General responsible for health at the National Audit Office.

DH executive board

The executive board 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 board:

  • discusses the development and implementation of significant new policy developments
  • sets corporate governance and assurance arrangements for DH and our subsidiary bodies (with advice from the audit and risk committee)
  • owns and regularly reviews key risks
  • agrees significant changes to the department’s business plan, ensuring that resources match commitments
  • oversees the structure and function of the department and the bodies it sponsors
  • ensures the completion of transition to the new health and care system

Executive board meetings

The executive board holds monthly meetings.

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

Executive board members

Members of the executive board are:

  • Una O’Brien CB, Permanent Secretary
  • Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer
  • Jon Rouse, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships
  • Richard Douglas CB, Director General, Finance and NHS
  • Felicity Harvey CBE, Director General, Public Health
  • Charlie Massey, Director General, Strategy and External Relations

People, operations and finance committee

The People, Operations and Finance Committee is responsible for the routine, operational-level corporate management and finance policy for the department. The committee:

  • oversees and ensures the following support the department’s strategic objectives, visions and values
    • HR strategies and policies and related corporate programmes
    • major programmes
    • property and asset management
    • any remaining transition work
    • DH-wide change and organisational development programmes
  • oversees the operation of governance, assurance and risk management of the department’s sponsored bodies
  • scrutinises financial management and performance for the department and oversees the development of financial policy
  • manages in-year changes to departmental budgets

People, operations and finance committee meetings

The committee holds monthly meetings.

Meeting summaries

Summaries, May to December 2012 (ZIP, 119KB)

Summaries to April 2012 are available on the National Archives website

Management committee members

Members of the management committee are:

  • Richard Douglas CB, Director General, Finance and NHS
  • Felicity Harvey CBE, Director General, Public Health
  • Charlie Massey, Director General, Strategy and External Relations
  • Jon Rouse, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships
  • Paul Macnaught, Assurance Director
  • Andrew Baigent, Director of Financial Management
  • Shirley Pointer, Director of HR

Advisory groups

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

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