These came from three health authorities and seven acute, community or specialist trusts. They included:

male-male, male-female and female-female pairs;

new and established pairs;

chairs with explicit political affiliations and those without;

chairs with business, managerial, professional and voluntary services backgrounds;

chief executives from predominantly NHS management backgrounds (although one came from a local authority).

Questions asked

Where did you first meet?

When did you start working together?

How do you organise your work together?

How does your relationship fit in with the rest of the board, and more widely with the organisation?

How do you deal with the differences between you?

What do you regard as your greatest success?

What is the most important thing that has contributed to the success of your relationship?