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Council of governors minutes February 2024


Minutes of the council of governors meeting, public session, Tuesday 20 February 2024.

Venue, Cast theatre Doncaster and via Microsoft teams.


  • Kath Lavery, Chair
  • Joy Bullivant, public, Doncaster
  • Joan Cox, carer, community services
  • Mark Johnson, service user, learning disabilities
  • Ann Llewellyn, service user, mental health
  • Ruth O’Shea, carer, mental health
  • Richard Rimmington, public, Doncaster
  • Ruth Sanderson, public, Doncaster
  • Micheal Seneviratne, staff, medical
  • Ian Spowart service user, mental health
  • David Vickers, public, Rotherham
  • Maureen Young, public, Doncaster


  • Glyn Butcher, People Focus Group
  • Normi Cadavieco  Good Governance
  • Richard Chillery, Operating Officer
  • Ian Currell Chief, Director of Finance and Performance
  • Kathryn Gillatt, Non-Executive Director
  • Philip Gowland, Director of Corporate Assurance and Board Secretary
  • Dr Jude Graham, Director for Psychological Professionals
  • Janusz Jankowski, Non-Executive Director
  • Dawn Lees, Non-Executive Director
  • Sheila Lloyd, Executive Director of Nursing and AHP
  • Nicola McIntosh, Director of People and Organisations Development
  • Justin Shannahan, Non-Executive Director
  • Sarah Fulton Tindall, Non-Executive Director
  • Paula Rylatt, Deputy Patient Experience and Involvement Director
  • David Vallance, Non-Executive Director
  • Pauline Vickers, Non-Executive Director
  • Susan Black, Corporate Assurance Officer (notes)




Kath Lavery, Chair, opened the meeting and welcomed all attendees.

Quoracy and apologies for absence



Kath declared that the meeting was quorate.

Apologies were received from Governors, Alex Haig, Sally French, Cllr David Roche, Lee Golze and from members of the Board of Directors, Toby Lewis, Graeme Tosh, Richard Banks, Jo McDonough.

Declarations of interest



There were no changes to the declarations of interest and no further declarations were made in respect of the agenda items for this meeting.

The council of governor’s received the declarations of interest.

Minutes of the previous meeting held in November 2023



The council of governors approved the minutes of the previous meeting as an accurate record.

Governor roles and responsibilities



Introducing the paper Philip reminded the governors about their roles and responsibilities explaining that the Committee’s role included recruitment and renumeration of the non-executive directors and the chair.

Nominations committee, 6 governors registered their interest in becoming members of the nominations committee there was still one vacancy for a partner or staff governor. Philip asked the council of governors to accept the applications that had been received.

Joan Cox, carer, Ruth O’Shea, carer, Richard Rimmington, public, David Vickers, public, Mark Collins, partner, Mike Seneviratne, staff.

The council agreed to accept the current applicants as members of the nominations committee.

Lead governor appointment, Philip explained the lead governor role and advised that the only formal application received was from Jo Cox our existing lead governor, support had been received from a number of current governors for this reappointment prior to the council of governors meeting.

Philp thanked the governors who offered to stand for the role if Jo had not wanted to continue.

Jo offered to leave the room ahead of the decision, all agreed this was not necessary.

Kath thanked Jo for continuing in the role.

The council of governors approved the reappointment of Joan Cox as lead governor.

Committees, Phil explained that governors were asked to register their interest in becoming members of 4 of the board committees. The following expressions of interest had been received.

Finance, Digital and Estates (FDE), Richard Rimmington, People and Organisational Development (POD),  Ian Spowart, Richard Rimmington, Quality (QC), Maureen Young, David Vickers, Public Health Patient involvement and Partnerships (PHPIP), Jo Cox, Ruth Sanderson.

Previously governors had observed meetings fulfilling their role of holding the non-executive directors to account for the performance of the board. RDaSH promise 5 aims to involve the community at every level of decision making in the trust. Involving governors as members of board committees was a step towards fulfilling that promise.

David asked about the changing role for the governors, from observer to member and wondered about the training and education. Also, if governors could continue to observe other committees that governors were not invited to become members. Phil advised other committees would be considered. Phil would organise a meeting with the members to discuss the changing role.

Ian expressed concern that committees were not being observed while the board deliberated the success of governors becoming members of the selected committees.

Jo could see the benefits of committee membership however mentioned that it was a shame to lose attendance at other committees particularly the Mental Health Act committee which was at the heart of the trust’s services. There may be difficulties in introducing membership of more committees at a later date due to existing commitments. This subject was discussed at the pre-cog meeting.

Kath suggested a meeting with committee member governors would be beneficial and advised that she was happy to meet with Toby, Phil and Jo to discuss attendance at the other committee meetings.

Dawn agreed that there should be a period of induction or training when joining the committee, and what it means to be a member.

Maureen asked how many board committees there were. Phil advised that committees not currently included for membership were: Charitable funds, MHAC, audit and remuneration.

Ann asked why the committees were chosen, excluded the MHAC which was important to the trust. Phil said the chosen Committees were the key focus of RDaSH reporting.

Kathy G agreed it would be a benefit for governors to join as members.

Ian S found the pre-CoG useful and asked if the notes could be shared.

Richard C suggested that long term membership of a committee was beneficial to gain knowledge and understanding, the term should be longer than a year.

David Vi mentioned that future pre-CoG meetings should be held sufficiently in advance to form agenda items, David also highlighted the length of the quality committee papers at 240 pages being a lot to take in. Jo agreed that future pre-CoG meeting should be planned earlier to consider agenda items. All attendees at the pre-CoG agreed this was a good meeting.

Phil and Richard C agreed that it was a challenge to reduce the volume of the meeting papers.

Kath raised that the new Mental Health Act would be brought back in the first term of office of a new government.

David Vi advised he was interested in abolition of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) 4 years ago and wondered if RDaSH had come to terms with this. Sheila agreed that a written response would be prepared for David.

Kath agreed and thanked David for raising this.

The council of governors approved the committee members proposed and noted the paper.


Action PG.

Action to set up a meeting PG TL, JC, KL.

Governor priority areas



Sheila thanked the governors for setting out the three priority areas of:

  • volunteers
  • health promotion
  • patient and public engagement or FT membership

The priorities were linked to promises 1,3,4 and 5.

Sheila reminded the governors of the challenge to recruit 350 volunteers by 2025 and introduced Paula Rylatt who gave an overview of the progress with volunteering.

Paula advised there were now over 100 volunteers working within the trust, undertaking roles as befrienders, drivers, administrators, training, and peer support. The trusts model was to match the volunteers’ skill set and interests with available roles.

Bids had been submitted for central money from the South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire and Humber integrated care boards. The bids were to support volunteer passporting. The North Yorkshire Humber bids were for young people, under 18’s for career pathways and cadettes.

Work was underway in North Lincolnshire mapping engagement in rural communities.

Ann asked where RDaSH sourced the volunteers from, there appeared to be no communications within the local community. Paula advised that track is used, Ann was not aware of this system. Ann had offered to volunteer in the hospice and had not been accepted. Sheila offered to pursue this outside of the meeting.

David Vi questioned RDaSH’s engagement with Voluntary action assisting with volunteers. Paula confirmed that they had contacted Voluntary action Rotherham.

Ian praised the good progress made with the volunteer recruitment and asked where this data was published for the public and governors to view. Shiela thanked Ian for the feedback.

Ruth O asked if the growth referred to was in respect younger volunteers. Paula advised it included progressing younger people and patients into apprenticeships and the workforce. Richard C advised that under 16 required different safeguarding arrangements.

Richard R mentioned that RDaSH were not advertising enough for volunteers and asked if other trusts were consulted for their expertise and experience with volunteers and if they were transferable between trusts.

Jo asked how much support Paula had received from the Communications team in promoting recruitment of volunteers and wondered why the current model was chosen. Jo wondered why the decision was made not to have a pool of volunteers. Jo explained that the role of staff governor would also benefit from good communications. Jo championed contacting colleges with health care courses making them aware of volunteering and governor opportunities.

Paula explained that if there were no positions for the volunteers once recruited this may be demotivating. Jo suggested a blended approach to volunteer recruitment.

Mark J asked if there was promotional literature in GP surgeries, schools’ colleges and universities, explaining that students on gap years may volunteer with a view to securing paid employment. Jo felt we may have missed opportunities to create interest for volunteers and governor roles at careers fares as a route to employment, and that Governors could assist with this.

Kath agreed we have missed opportunities and there was work to do acknowledging that social media was not always the best way of communication. Also, that we need to celebrate the success of recruiting 110 volunteers.

Sheila agreed that more use of the Communications team would benefit recruitment of volunteers and governors.

The council of governor noted the paper for information

Governor activities



Phil introduced the paper and acknowledged the work of the council of governor thanking them for attending events and additional meetings which included the composition of the council of governors and the pre-CoG meeting to discuss the agenda.

Having reviewed the governors’ recommendations on the composition he agreed they would facilitate increased flexibility to recruit governors.

Phil would now work with the board to move the recommendations forward and make the agreed changes constitution. Both the board of directors and the council of governors needed to agree the proposed changes to the constitution.

Phil explained the difficulties experienced in the past with recruitment of governors.

Jo raised the issue of staff governors and the need to introduce governance at staff inductions. Many staff were not aware of how RDaSH was governed or the role of governor. This area would benefit from promotion by the Communications team.

Kath asked Staff Governor Mike for his opinion, Mike agreed there was a lack of knowledge about the governor role, he was not aware of the position until approached to stand. He agreed that the removal of classes within the staff constituency would increase the flexibility to recruit more staff governors.

David Vi recommended that all governors become involved with the peer review process that had just been circulated, this provided good insight into the workings of RDaSH. David was also involved in the peer review evaluation process.

Richard R asked about the Rest of England governor position and if this could be utilised when there were too many nominations for other seats.

Phil advised that the flexibility suggested for the constitution will assist in filling vacant roles.

Jude advised that as part of the new meeting structure a half day training and learning session had been introduced. With the concept of the human library, it would be an opportunity for a governor to attend to talk about the governor role. Ruth Sanderson agreed this would be an excellent opportunity for communicating the role. Richard C agreed that this was a good idea particularly with young people at the start of their careers.

Maureen mentioned that Rest of England governors were for people who access the services from outside the area. Phil advised that we do have out of area clients, and this gives them the opportunity to be involved with RDaSH.

David Vi asked about the trusts relationship with the ICBs and the requirement for governors to take a wider view. Phil advised that RDaSH updates were included in the reporting and the chief executives report.

The council of governors noted the paper for information.

Trust update



Kath introduced the chairs update and invited questions on the paper highlighting that a key area of focus had been the finance budget.

No questions were raised, and the CoG accepted and noted the paper for information.

Sheila introduced the chief executives report and invited Ian Currell to give an update on the finance budget.

Ian explained the financial year ran April to March and this year the budget available would be influenced by the election. Planning guidance had not yet been received for the new year which started 1 April 2024. It was anticipated that there would be few changes to mental health services within the planning guidance.

Nationally there were 6 key target areas:

  • access for children and young people
  • access to community services
  • perinatal care Doncaster and Rotherham
  • virtual ward, physical health
  • restricting out of area placements
  • talking therapies

Richard C explained that the targets were challenging however it was predicted that RDaSH would be successful in 3 of the key areas in 2024 then more in 2025.

Finance, Ian advised that RDaSH had spent 220 million with a deficit forecast at 6.2 million. At the year end the deficit would be 3.2 million so better than planned. This year there had been more spend on clinical care. Across South Yorkshire ICBs there was a 48 million deficit on Health Care spending.

RDaSH were awaiting details of the funding allocation, once received the aim was to break even in 2025.

Maureen asked, with the current financial challenges would RDaSH be able to progress capital plans. Ian advised that the capital funding was separate and should not be impacted. The ICB may adjust the amount of funding available, dependent on overall performance.

Ruth S enquired how the savings had been made. Ian stated that 10 million in savings had been made across the organisation from, limiting the use of management consultants, reorganisation of clinical services. Richard C also mentioned that instead of using agencies for locum doctors, nurse consultants had been used, this initiative was working successfully.

Richard R asked about the possibility of a solar farm on RDaSH green space. Ian advised that the were no plans currently, a 5-year estate plan would be in place to agree how the estate will be used.

David Vi asked if revenue was received from the Grounded Research function, Ian C advised that some funds were generated.

Sheila reported that RDaSH came 8th in country for the flu campaign.

Nicola gave an update on the Education England audit. RDaSH passed the audit with very positive feedback. Kath congratulated Nicola on the fantastic result with Education England.

The committee accepted and noted the report for information.

Philip thanked Ian C for the Financial update and introduced the committee reports inviting the non-executive directors who chair the committees to provide overviews.

Kath invited questions on the committee reports no questions were received.

The Council of Governors received the paper for information.

Any other business



No other business was raised.

Kath thanked the Governors for their involvement and challenge and the completion of business requirements. Governors’ priority areas would progress as part of future meetings.

Public questions



Questions were raised by the governors and the public.

Ian S asked how RDaSH would receive public questions, he was not aware of any communications for attending this meeting. Phil agreed that there was work to be done to improve communications.

David Vi asked if governors were involved in Care Quality Commission (CQC) meetings. Kath confirmed that yes, the governors became involved in inspections.

Glyn asked about inclusivity and the need for an easy read document for the meeting to be available. Glyn raised the public’s concern about abuse within trusts and the need to be transparent about this.

Jude acknowledged the concern and talked about the sexual safety charter that RDaSH have signed up to, the processes in place and actions taken. Jude offered to bring back a paper on the subject to the Council of Governors.

Kath shared Glyn’s concerns and agree that a report would be made to the CoG next time on the progress and work undertaken.

Glyn thanked the governors for their work and continued involvement with RDaSH.

Kath summarised by confirming that the work the governors had undertaken on the constitution would be progressed. There was a theme throughout the meeting regarding the need for increased communications on a number of issues.

Jo thanked Sheila for supporting the council of governors during her time with the trust.

Kath thanked everybody for attending and closed the meeting.

Date, time and venue of next meeting



5 June 2024, 3pm at:

Baths Hall
DN15 7RG

Page last reviewed: June 05, 2024
Next review due: June 05, 2025

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