In 1968 John Lennon wrote this lyric in the song Revolution: 'You say you'll change the constitutionƒ we all want to change your head'. It is still relevant today.
One of foundation trusts' three steps to heaven is to be "legally constituted" (alongside being well governed and financially viable). This is one aspect of the application where there is least excuse for getting it wrong, and most opportunity to repent at leisure. There are a multitude of measures you can include in your constitution that are wholly legal and can also be wholly painful to try to implement in real life.
Holding your breath and signing the cheque to the solicitors is the easy bit. That said, there is no rule saying you have to work with your usual solicitors - this is a specialist project and you are entitled to test the market.
There are some vital decisions that trusts must take about what to say in their constitutions, because this is the document that will determine how your foundation trust will operate. One of the main reasons for becoming a foundation is the establishment of some local autonomy, so you may not want a constitution that is identical to one of your neighbours'.
Here are some issues to grasp:
Governors: I have yet to meet someone who complains: "I wish I had made my board of governors bigger." Size is important and on this occasion the consensus seems to be that less is more. While many applicants are still coming forward with plans to have nearly 40 governors, have you ever wondered why teachers are so insistent that class sizes should never go above 30? It is also worth remembering that the old community health councils did an often admirable job in representing a wide array of local interests, with a maximum membership of 24.
Membership: you need to decide whether you will have a service user/patient constituency and also whether you will have a carer constituency. You can have both combined, both separately, or neither; or have a service user constituency without a carer constituency. This may be important to explore in your consultation.
Changing the constitution: you have two options here. This power can lie with the membership as a whole or it can be held by the governors. There are two schools of thought, but ultimately you need to decide what is more important - the ease (or otherwise) of changing things that have not worked out, or your interpretation of the principles of a membership-owned corporation.
Elections: vacancies will occur on your board of governors. You can lock yourself into the expense of a by-election every time this happens, or your constitution can allow for runners-up to fill vacancies and give you a reasonable period to arrange any by-elections that have to occur.
Having started with one Beatles lyric, I will finish with another from the album version of the same song, with Lennon's added optional sentiment, which you do not want to find yourself expressing after a few months with your new constitution: "But when you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out. In."