Public Sector – NHS governance role for FDs

National Health Service finance directors are to assume greater board-level responsibility for corporate governance and risk management.

New guidance published by the NHS Executive on controls assurance requires chief executives of health authorities and trusts to nominate ‘accountable officers’ reporting to the executive over matters of internal control.

A senior NHS official involved in drawing up the new guidelines said nominations for accountable officers could come from FDs rather than chief executives, signaling a shift in governance and monitoring roles to FDs.

‘We are witnessing the start of a real transfer of professional expertise into the guts of business and that controls assurance gives finance people an enormous opportunity,’ he said.

But recognising that responsibilities for internal audit and financial reporting could be problematical, he added: ‘We need to be careful not to start playing with two balls.’

The guidance is the latest to come out of the NHS corporate governance review and draws parallels with the Turnbull guidelines on governance for directors of listed companies.

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