Governance is ensuring that we do the right things, at the right time, in the right way. There are two key areas of governance in healthcare:

Clinical governance: a framework for ensuring the Trust is accountable for continually improving the quality of our services and safeguarding a high standard of care.

Corporate governance: ensuring that the Trust is well-run with robust systems and processes, ensuring that the Trust operates within the law and the parameters set out by its regulators.

All staff are responsible for governance in the Trust and it is embedded into the work we do every day. However, the Trust has specific staff to help manage the process. For more information see below.

Our approach

We have adopted an integrated approach to governance. The Head of Governance oversees the Trust’s strategic approach to governance. The Risk Management Department and Clinical Audit Department are key to this. There are also close links with the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), complaints and legal departments as we can learn much from our patient and the public about how we run our services.

The Trust has developed an organisational structure that ensures that we manage governance in the correct way. Key to this structure is the Governance Committee and its sub-committees.

Click here to view a schematic of our governance performance system

There are many external organisations that regulate, audit, inspect and review healthcare in England. The Trust has a systematic approach to the planning, management and response to visits from external organisations.

Corporate governance

Corporate governance is responsible for:

  • Corporate governance and "company secretary" responsibilities
  • Ensuring that the Trust is governed responsibly, operates within the law and the parameters set out by its regulators
  • Managing the Royal Devon's relationship with the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee
  • The executive support office
  • Ensuring Royal Devon has a functioning Council of Governors
  • Overseeing the production of the Trust's Annual Report and annual members' meeting
  • Ensuring a central repository of corporate governance documentation is maintained

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is collectively responsible for the performance of Royal Devon and exercises all the powers of the Trust. In so doing, the Board members bear full legal liability for the operational and financial performance of the Trust. The Board comprises of both Executive and Non-Executive Directors.

Click here to find out more about our Board

The corporate governance team's role is to provide a high quality, responsive and timely administrative function to the Board.

Council of Governors

Working alongside the Royal Devon's Board of Directors, our Council of Governors are an important part of the Trust’s corporate governance structure.

It collectively holds our directors to account and ensures that the interests of the Royal Devon's members are taken into account.

Governors have shown great commitment to representing the views of local people and helping us shape our plans for the future.

Click here to read more about our Governors

Trust Registers

Royal Devon is required by its constitution to keep several registers including the Board of Directors Register of Interests and the Register of Offers of Gifts & Hospitality.

Click here to find out more


Clinical governance

The Clinical Governance team are responsible for:

  • Clinical Audit Department
  • External visits
  • Policy management
  • Clinical guidelines
  • The Governance Committee and its sub-Committees

Clinical Audit

Clinical Audit is a quality improvement process designed to improve patient care and outcomes through the systematic review of care.

External Visits

There are many external organisations that regulate, audit, inspect or review elements of health and social care in England. Inspections are defined as audits, reviews, assessments and the regulation of services.

Policy Management

The Royal Devon has developed standard ways for writing policies, procedures, practice guidelines and standards.

Clinical Guidelines

There is a reference library of all local clinical guidelines used across the Trust.

Governance Committee

The Governance Committee is a key component of the Royal Devon’s governance performance system. The Governance Committee is responsible for ensuring that governance is embedded in the organisation and that legislation and all standards are met. It provides assurance to the Board of Directors that the Trust has effective systems of internal control in relation to risk management and governance.

Governance office

Our governance office provides expert oversight and support to the Royal Devon, to ensure that we implement good governance and fulfil our governance duties. 

They can be contacted by emailing Melanie Holley, Director of Governance, at

Last updated: July 24, 2023.