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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Current Chapter

Current chapter – The HSCIC's Board

The HSCIC is governed by its board. The board's role is to establish and take forward the strategic aims and objectives of HSCIC, consistent with its overall strategic direction and within the policy and resource framework determined by the Secretary of State. The board's role is as described in the corporate governance code for central government departments3 and includes holding its executive management team to account and ensuring the organisation is able to account to Parliament and the public for how it has discharged its functions.

The board is led by a non-executive Chair, who is responsible to the Secretary of State for ensuring that the HSCIC's affairs are conducted with probity, and that the HSCIC's policies and actions support it in the discharge of its functions and duties efficiently and effectively and meet the HSCIC's objectives, including those set out in its business plan. The Senior Departmental Sponsor will ensure that there is an annual objective setting and review process in place for the Chair. The Chair, chief executive and non-executive directors will be responsible for appointing the executive directors.

The HSCIC's Chair and non-executive directors will be appointed by the Secretary of State. Appointments will be transparent, will be made on merit, and are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

The responsibilities of the chief executive are:

  • safeguarding the public funds and assets for which the chief executive has charge
  • ensuring propriety, regularity, value for money and feasibility in the handling of those funds
  • the day-to-day operations and management of the HSCIC
  • ensuring that the HSCIC is run on the basis of the standards (in terms of governance, decision-making and financial management) set out in Managing Public Money, including seeking and assuring all relevant financial approvals
  • together with the Department, accounting to Parliament and the public for the HSCIC's financial performance and the delivery of its objectives
  • accounting to the Department's Permanent Secretary, who is PAO for the whole of the Department of Health's budget, providing a line of sight from the Department to the HSCIC
  • reporting quarterly to the PAO on performance against the HSCIC's objectives, to be discussed at one of the formal quarterly accountability meetings chaired by the Senior Departmental Sponsor.

The responsibilities of the board as a whole include supporting the Accounting Officer in ensuring that the HSCIC exercises proper stewardship of public funds, including compliance with the principles laid out in Managing Public Money; and ensuring that total capital and revenue resource use in a financial year does not exceed the amount specified by the Secretary of State.

The board should ensure that effective arrangements are in place to provide assurance on risk management, governance and internal control. The board must set up an Audit Committee4, chaired by an independent non-executive member with significant experience of financial leadership at board level. Other members need not be main board members but should be able to demonstrate relevant sectoral experience at board level. The committee should have at least four members, although this can be fewer if the board feel that is justified, and at least half of these should be main board members. The internal and external auditors must be invited to all meetings and be allowed to see all the papers.

3The corporate governance guidelines (available at are written for central government departments, although, as it says in the guidelines, "the principles in the Code generally hold across other parts of central government, including departments' arms length bodies”.

4Known in the HSCIC as the Assurance & Risk Committee.

Last edited: 24 November 2021 3:23 pm