Monitor – Member recruitment and engagement report for Trusts

Case Study

MES has conducted in-depth research on Foundation Trusts and consulted on the structure of model rules for Monitor, the sector regulator for health services in England.

Monitor - Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts - logo

This joint report from Monitor, Electoral Reform Services (ERS) and Membership Engagement Services (MES) provides an overview of the state of play in the NHS Foundation Trust (FT) sector in terms of member recruitment and engagement. It includes a detailed picture of Governor electoral behaviour and examples of what Trusts have found to work well and less well with member engagement.

It is aimed at Chairs, Board Secretaries, Membership and Communications teams, and Governors of both existing and aspirant Foundation Trusts.

The report summarises the findings of a survey of NHS Foundation Trusts and case study research conducted between November 2010 and January 2011. The 131 Foundation Trusts authorised as at 1 October 2010 were included in the survey, and 115 Trusts responded – a response rate of 88%.

Overall, the research showed there was significant effort being put into member recruitment and engagement by Foundation Trusts. Traditional measures of engagement such as election turnout rates, numbers of candidates standing per Governor seat, and levels of uncontested elections, suggest membership trends are normalising after an initial wave of enthusiasm for a new model of governance in the NHS.

MES is planning to update the report in 2015 / 2016.


  • Current membership levels and trends;
  • Turnout rates for Governor elections, and the number of candidates standing for elections, as example measures of member engagement;
  • What resources are currently devoted to member engagement;
  • How Trusts currently recruit and engage their members, whilst seeking to establish the methods which are reported to be the most effective; and
  • The impact of members on Foundation Trusts.


  • An analysis of membership data and Governor election data since 2004;
  • Examples of current FT member recruitment and engagement activity;
  • Examples of the impact Trusts say the membership model is having; and
  • A set of FT membership case studies demonstrating some current approaches to recruitment and / or engagement.

The survey and election data analysis were carried out by Electoral Reform Research (now MES Research), and the case study research by Membership Engagement Services and Monitor. The Foundation Trust Network (now NHS Providers) also provided useful input.

All 131 Foundation Trusts authorised as at 1 October 2010 were included in the survey, and 115 trusts, representing 1.49 million members (as at 1 October 2010), responded – a response rate of 88%. Further information on how the survey, research and case studies were carried out can be found on Monitor’s website.

The full electronic report which is 57 pages can be accessed here and the executive summary report can be accessed here.