The Foundation Trust Network has won a contract to lead the development and training of governors at England’s foundation trusts.

The trade association’s bid for the work, worth approximately £150,000, will see it lead on the work to upgrade the skills of the sector’s 2,000 governors.

HSJ understands the FTN’s bid beat those from 20 other organisations including the Foundation Trust Governors’ Association, which was working with Capita, and the Manchester Business School.

Eight bids were shortlisted, from the private and public sector, HSJ has been told.

Governors have the power to remove chairs and non-executive directors and have a formal role in holding the board of their trust to account on behalf of patients.

The procurement was run by the NHS Leadership Academy and a spokeswoman said once the programme was developed individual trusts would pay to send their governors on it.

The FTN programme will start next year.

A spokeswoman for the network said “core training” would focus on accountability and finance, with specialist modules on governors’ statutory duties around mergers and acquisitions, non-executive director appointments and remuneration.

FTN chair Peter Griffiths said: “Developing governors’ effectiveness and enthusing the general public to get involved takes time. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we have been making steady progress in building up ways to impart the knowledge and skills needed by governors to perform their role effectively.

“This new national programme is a golden opportunity to ensure that they can make the most of their role.”

Foundation Trust Governors’ Association chair Dianah Pritchett-Farrell said: “The FTGA welcomes the training programme for foundation trust governors and will be encouraging our members to participate.  We look forward to sitting on the steering committee, working closely with the Foundation Trust Network and will be actively involved in the success, usefulness and development of the programme.”