The foundation trust regulator Monitor must not seek to 'enhance' its regulatory role, Foundation Trust Network director Sue Slipman has warned.
She hit out at proposals in Monitor's compliance consultation, which closes tomorrow, and claimed the regulator was taking a 'big jump' from being a 'risk rater' to an 'evaluator and value driver' by introducing changes to the type and amount of information it demands.
Monitor wants to develop and enhance four areas of its compliance framework for foundation trusts, which it says will ensure relevant financial information is available to boards and improve the information used to draw up risk ratings.
But the FTN is concerned that Monitor will require foundations that are deemed to be performing well - with a risk rating of three or more out of five - to report extensively on how each part of their trust is faring financially as part of its service line reporting.
Ms Slipman has written to Monitor with her concerns and accused the regulator of trying to introduce changes to its role 'under the radar'.
'This is a bigger debate and one which ministers should take a very real interest in,' she said.
Ms Slipman said she was concerned that foundation trusts were increasingly being given less freedom to make choices about how they will operate.
'At what point do foundation trusts stop being independent corporate entities and become wholly owned subsidiaries of the regulator?' she asked.
Monitor chair Bill Moyes told HSJ that he was 'puzzled' by the network's reaction. 'If a foundation trust has a financial risk rating of three or better there will not be one single extra piece of information required from them [in the new compliance framework] than is required of them now,' he said.
'Trusts are not doing this kind of analysis within their organisations at present and all we are doing is applying normal accounting standards,' he added.
Mr Moyes said he wanted foundations to make sure that they understood which of their services were profitable and which were not. 'I don't accept the claim that we are trying to enhance our role; we are not going to try to define service lines.
'What we are trying to do is get foundation trusts to run their business well and report accurately to their board and make decisions for themselves,' he said.