HSJ EXCLUSIVE Recommended remuneration is nearly three times the rate for other trust chairs

Published: 26/05/2005, Volume II5, No. 5957 Page 5

Foundation trust chairs could be paid up to three times as much as the highest-paid non-foundation chairs under new guidelines, HSJ can reveal.

The chairs of foundation trusts could be paid up to£60,000 for a year's work, much more than the£22,000 maximum allowed for other trust chairs.

The recommendation is contained in a letter sent to senior foundation trust managers by the NHS Confederation's Foundation Trust Network, which promotes the organisations' interests. The letter also suggests that non-executive directors be paid up to£14,000 - a boost of around£10,000.

The FTN suggests 'remuneration should be set in accordance with the higher end of the public sector range of salaries that apply to service provision bodies' (see box).

It also says that non-executives who take on extra 'more onerous responsibilities such as chairing an audit committee or taking on the duties of a vice-chair should receive additional amounts'.

The NHS Appointments Commission currently sets the levels of remuneration for non-executive directors at other trusts, but new rules mean foundation trusts are free to pay non-executive and executive directors as much as they wish. However, foundation trusts have approached the network for guidance on remuneration.

The chairs of the largest nonfoundation trusts can be paid up to£21,882 per year for their role as the senior non-executive director for three-and-a-half days' work a week, with a maximum of£17,164 for the smallest trusts.

The network has set a£60,000 guideline upper pay rate for foundations, but has not stipulated different rates for different bands nor how many days a week a chair should work for their money. Remuneration is set by boards of governors.

The network's letter states that foundation trust boards 'have responsibilities and liabilities comparable to private sector boards together with public sector accountabilities... The full weight of fiduciary responsibility falls on the shoulders of the directors.' It continues: 'It is clear that the current levels of remuneration are now inadequate to reward the job that non-executives are being called upon to do'.

FTN director Sue Slipman told HSJ that chairs and non-executives need to be rewarded for the 'reputational [sic] risk and financial, social and regulatory responsibility' they are taking on.

Most foundation trust are still paying their non-executives within the levels suggested by the NHS Appointments Commission. However, last month HSJ revealed that the acting chair of cash-strapped Bradford Teaching Hospitals foundation trust is being paid£60,000 for six months' work (news, page 5, 7 April). His pay was set by Monitor after he was brought in by the independent regulator One foundation trust finance director said that although the new recommended pay levels 'will help recruitment and retention, there is no way we can afford this kind of pay at the moment'.