Governor elections: Candidate’s FAQ
Oxford Health’s Council of Governors elections are approaching, and we are calling you take part! Here we give answers to many of the most common questions about the election process and the governor’s role, plus tips how to succeed in getting elected.
Am I qualified to be a governor?
You don’t need any formal qualifications to be a governor – just your interest and enthusiasm. You must be at least 16 years old and a member of Oxford Health. If you aren’t a member yet, sign up now.
Membership is free and anyone at least 12 years old, living and England or Wales, is welcome to join.
You must become a member by March 31 to take part in this year’s election, both as a candidate and to vote.
Where are the vacancies?
We have 11 vacancies in this year’s elections, in the following seats:
|Patient||Service Users – Buckinghamshire and other counties||1|
|Staff||Buckinghamshire Mental Health Services||1|
|Staff||Oxfordshire, Banes, Swindon & Wiltshire Mental Health Services||1|
Where can I stand?
You will be able to stand as a candidate and vote in the constituency and class where you are a member. For example, if you have signed up as public member with a postcode starting OX, you can stand as a candidate and vote in the category Public: Oxfordshire.
If you are signed up as a carer, your nomination stands across all the Trust regions and rest of England and Wales.
If you are unsure of your membership status, please email us at FT.MembershipCommunity@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk and we’ll check it for you.
How do I nominate myself?
You will be able to nominate yourself on a nomination website which will launch on February 28. You can complete the nomination online or request a paper copy or an easy read version.
All members in constituencies that have vacancies this year, will receive a Notice of Election when nominations open. We will also publish the nominations on the Trust website, in social media and the press.
The elections will be conducted independently from the Trust by an external company Civica who will be able to answer your questions throughout the process. You can also email the membership team at FT.MembershipCommunity@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk.
Nominations close at 5pm on March 31.
What does the nomination need?
Your nomination will ask for a 250-word election statement. This will give your community an idea of what you stand for. Why do you want to become a governor? What aspects of your local health services 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 and we strongly recommend you do so: it will make you more approachable for the electorate.
How do I improve my chances?
By far the best way to improve your chances to get elected is to invite your friends and acquaintances to join the Trust – and then encourage them to vote for you!
In order to vote in this year’s elections, they must become members by March 31.
Can I talk to someone about being a governor?
We are running two candidate info events online where you can ask all your questions from people who know. Save the dates or sign up for an invitation.
Tuesday, March 8 from 6pm to 8pm
Wednesday, March 16 from 6pm to 8pm
Hosted by Director of Corporate Affairs Kerry Rogers and attended by some of our current governors, these are friendly and informal evenings, open for anyone interested.
What are the key dates?
The key dates in our elections are:
Monday, February 28 Nominations open
Thursday, March 31 Nominations close
Friday, April 1 Summary of candidates published
Thursday, April 21 Polls open
Friday, May 13 Polls close
Monday, May 16 Declaration of results
What happens after the poll?
Once the results are declared, all newly elected governors are invited to undergo the fit and proper check and take part in the governor induction.
The inductions will take place on:
Thursday, May 19, 5pm
Tuesday, May 24, 5pm
We also expect all governors to provide a short biography and a photograph to be published on the Trust website – we want our governors to be accessible to those who elected them.
Governors will then officially take their posts on June 1, 2022.
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 5.30pm to 7.30pm. 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.
What’s in it for me?
For many people, contributing to causes they find meaningful is rewarding in and of itself. As a governor you will also get the opportunity to learn new skills and get exposed to new situations. It could be getting more confident in public speaking, meeting like-minded people or simply liaising as equals with the kind of people you never have collaborated with before.
Above all, you will have a chance to shape your local health services.
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Published: 7 February 2022