Appointment of Chair


Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in the role of Chair at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT). I am delighted that you are considering joining us and appreciate you taking the time to read this website.

We are seeking to appoint an inspirational Chair, who will continue to develop the Trust’s external relationships, provide excellent support and challenge to the organisation, and lead our Board of Directors to ensure the continued success of the Trust both for the patients we serve and the people we employ.

Whilst experience of the NHS is not essential, we are looking for an individual with significant NED, board-level experience and who perhaps has experience of chairing significant sub committees. They will bring senior leadership expertise with an appreciation for how large, complex organisations are run, especially when operating over a significant physical geography. Politically astute and capable of building relationships across organisational boundaries, we require an individual with exemplary communication skills.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our services have faced unprecedented challenges. Our people have continued to provide first class and exceptional care to patients whilst working under significant pressure, working tirelessly in the face of adversity. As a result, however, we need to ensure that we continue supporting our staff, ensuring their health and wellbeing is a priority as well as meeting the needs of our local community.

We want to secure a Chair who can continue to build and support a board for the future, someone with the right skills, behaviours, and attitudes to inspire our people to deliver the best possible patient care that they can, in the communities that we serve.

SWASFT celebrates multiple points of view, and we believe diversity drives innovation. As such, we would particularly welcome applications from those who are significantly underrepresented in our sector; women, disabled people, and individuals from BAME and LGBTQ communities.

We hope that you are excited by this challenge, and as such, you will be inspired to apply.

Keith Weston
Lead Governor

About Us

The Trust

SWASFT provides a range of emergency and urgent care services to the people of South West of England (10,000 square miles which is 20% of mainland England). We work in a way that upholds the values and pledges of the NHS Constitution and are proud to embrace innovation and actively promote best practice.

SWASFT was the first ambulance service to be authorised as an NHS Foundation Trust on 1 March 2011.

Since acquiring our former neighbouring trust, Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) in February 2013, our operating area now covers a fifth of England.

Our geographical area encompasses Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath, North and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

Our core operations focus is the delivery of emergency ambulance 999 services (A&E). We have 96 ambulance stations, two Emergency Operations Centres, six air bases and two Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART).

The Trust also provides the clinical teams for four air ambulance charities across the South West (Cornwall Air Ambulance, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, and Great Western Air Ambulance) and also works closely with the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

We employ over 5,000 mainly clinical and operational staff (including paramedics, emergency care assistants, advanced technicians, and nurse practitioners) plus GPs and around 950 volunteers (including community first responders, BASICS doctors, fire co-responders and ambulance service volunteers).

The Board

Every NHS foundation trust should be headed by an effective board of directors. The board is collectively responsible for the performance of the NHS foundation trust.

The general duty of the board of directors, and of each director individually, is to act with a view to promoting the success of the organisation as to maximise the benefits for the members of the trust as a whole and for the public.

As a unitary board, the Non-Executive Directors and Executive Directors make decisions as a single group and share the same responsibility and liability.

The Board is led by Gail Bragg, Acting Trust Chair and the Acting Chair of the Council of Governors.

Will Warrender is the Chief Executive.

Our Board has 13 voting Board Members and one Associate NED and two Directors who are non-voting, who meet every 3 months on the last Thursday of every month.

Council of Governors 

The Board of Directors also has a framework of local accountability through members and a Council of Governors, which replaced central control from the Secretary of State for Health. NHS foundation trust Governors hold the Chair and Non-Executive Directors, individually and collectively, responsible for the performance of this unitary board.

The council of governors has a statutory duty to hold the chair and non-executive directors individually and collectively to account for the performance of the board of directors. This includes ensuring the board of directors acts so that the foundation trust does not breach the conditions of its licence.

The council of governors is responsible for representing the interests of NHS foundation trust members and the public in the governance of the NHS foundation trust. Governors must act in the best interests of the NHS foundation trust and should adhere to its values and code of conduct.

Governors are responsible for regularly feeding back information about the trust, its vision and its performance to members and the public and the stakeholder organisation’s that either elected or appointed them. The trust should ensure governors have appropriate support to help them discharge this duty.

The Council of Governors’ Remuneration and Recommendations Panel will lead and decide on the appointment of the Chair and Non-Executive Directors. They will be supported by the Trust and the recommendation of the Panel will be made to the whole Council of Governors in terms of who should be appointed.

It remains the responsibility of the board of directors to design and then implement agreed priorities, objectives and the overall strategy of the NHS foundation trust.

Mission, Vision, Values & Goals

The role


Job reference:


  • To provide clear leadership of the Board, to set the Board agenda and lead the other Non-Executive Directors in holding the Executive Directors to account for the satisfactory operation and management of the Trust, whilst at the same time ensuring the Board plays a full role in the determination and development of the organisation’s strategy and objectives.
  • To demonstrate and ensure high standards of probity and governance to ensure that the Foundation Trust remains within its terms of authorisation. To lead both the Board of Directors and the Council of Governors and is a key representative of the Trust within the local communities served and the wider Integrated Care System. They will ensure the Trust always meets the needs of those individuals in our care and addresses all clinical and financial challenges through the delivery of safe, high quality and cost-effective services.
  • To ensure that the Board of Directors is collectively responsible for the success of the Trust, by directing and managing its operation. This includes responsibility to maintain financial viability, using resources effectively within appropriate financial controls, ensuring high levels of probity and value for money and to deliver high standards of clinical governance, ensuring that all relevant health standards are met.



  • Establishing clear objectives to deliver the agreed plans and strategy to meet the Terms of Authorisation and regularly review performance against these objectives.
  • Ensuring the effective implementation of Board decisions by the Chief Executive and the senior management team.
  • Holding the Chief Executive accountable for the effective management and delivery of the organisation’s strategic aims and objectives.
  • With the Board ensuring the long term sustainability of the Trust.
  • Providing vision to the Trust to capitalise on the freedoms it enjoys as a result of its status.
  • Develop a close and constructive relationship with the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive, providing support and guidance whilst respecting executive responsibility, including conducting a performance appraisal of the Chief Executive on an annual basis.
  • Provide coherent leadership to the Trust, including, in conjunction with the Chief Executive, representing the Trust to service users, members, governors, the ICS, suppliers, government, fellow NHS bodies, regulators, the media and wider stakeholders.

Compliance Responsibilities:

The Chair will ensure the Trust:

  • Complies with its Terms of Authorisation, licence, the constitution and any other applicable legislation and regulations.
  • Maintains mandatory services and retains protected property as defined in the Terms of Authorisation and licence conditions.
  • Maintains financial viability, using resources effectively, controlling and reporting on financial affairs in accordance with the requirements set out by the NHS Improvement.
  • Promotes the highest standards of corporate and clinical governance in compliance with the NHS Foundation Trust Code of Governance and other regulatory requirements and best practice, where appropriate.
  • Upholds the values of the Trust by example, and ensures that the organisation promotes equality and diversity for all its patients, staff and other stakeholders.
  • Ensures that the highest standards of clinical and environmental hygiene are in place to ensure robust infection control standards.
  • Establishes and maintains a constructive relationship with NHS England, Care Quality Commission, and other healthcare inspectorate’s and regulators.

Board Leadership, Development and Communication Responsibilities:

  • Provide visible leadership in developing a positive culture for the Trust, ensuring that this is reflected and modelled in their personal behaviour and in the Board of Directors’ behaviour and decision making.
  • Providing leadership to the Board of Directors in setting the strategic direction of the Trust and ensuring their effectiveness in all aspects of their role.
  • Leading the Board of Directors in setting the Foundation Trust’s values and standards.
  • Chairing Board meetings, appropriate committees and other meetings of the Trust, ensuring their effectiveness in all aspects of their role, including regulatory and frequency of meetings.
  • Setting the agenda, the style and tone of Board discussions, to promote effective decision-making and constructive debate. Setting the Board agenda, taking into account the issues and concerns of all Directors, as appropriate. The agenda should be forward looking, concentrating on strategic matters.
  • Ensuring that there is appropriate delegation of authority from the Board of Directors to the senior management team.
  • Ensuring that all Directors receive accurate, timely and clear information, including that on the Trust’s current performance, to enable the Board of Directors to make sound decisions, monitor effectively and provide advice to promote the success of the Trust.
  • Managing the Board of Directors to allow sufficient time for the discussion on complex or contentious issues, ensuring that Directors have appropriate time to consider critical issues, obtain answers to any questions or concerns they may have and are not faced with unrealistic deadlines for decision making.
  • Facilitating the effective contribution of Non-Executive Directors at Board and committee meetings and encouraging active engagement by all Board members.
  • Ensuring effective and constructive relations are established and maintained between Executive Directors, Non-Executive Directors and Governors in order to effectively deliver the goals of the Trust.
  • Ensuring that all new Directors participate in a full, formal and tailored induction programme, facilitated by the Trust Secretary.
  • Ensuring that there is an appropriate programme of Board development and succession planning. Identifying the development needs of the Board of Directors as a whole to enhance the overall effectiveness as a team.
  • Ensuring that the development needs of individual non-executive directors are identified and met.
  • Building an effective and complimentary Board of Directors, and with the Remuneration and Recommendations committee, initiate change and succession planning for Non-Executive Director appointments, subject to Governor approval, which can meet the needs of the Foundation Trust.

Council of Governors – Leadership and development:

  • Providing leadership to the Council of Governors in its involvement in the strategic direction of the Trust and ensuring their effectiveness in all aspects of their role.
  • Chairing Council of Governors and committees as required and other ad hoc meetings including the annual members meetings of the Foundation Trust.
  • Leading the Council of Governors and ensuring their effectiveness in all aspects of its role, including regularity and frequency of meetings.
  • Ensuring a clear structure for, and effective running of, Council of Governors meetings, and any committees.
  • Setting the Council of Governors agendas, taking into account the issues and concerns of all Governors, as appropriate. The agenda should be forward looking, concentrating on strategic matters.
  • Ensuring that all Governors receive accurate, timely and clear information, including that on the Trust’s performance, to enable the Council of Governors to make sound decisions, monitor effectively and provide advice to promote the success of the Trust.
  • Facilitating the effective contribution of governors at Board and committee meetings, and encouraging active engagement by all members.
  • Ensuring effective and constructive relations are established and maintained between Governors, Non-Executive Directors and Executive Directors to benefit the delivery of the goals of the Trust and taking due regard for the views of the Council of Governors, where appropriate.
  • Ensure in particular that governors have sufficient opportunities to hold the non-executive directors to account, individually and as a group, for their performance as Board members.
  • Ensuring that new Governors participate in a full, formal and tailored induction programme, facilitated by the Trust Secretary.
  • Setting the agenda, style and tone of board of governor discussions to promote effective decision-making and constructive debate.
  • Ensuring the Council of Governors review its performance, and acting on the results of such evaluation by recognising the strengths and weaknesses of the Board of Governors. Ensure that the development needs of individual governors and the Council of Governors are identified and met and that there is an appropriate programme of development.

External relations:

  • Ensuring effective communications with members and a wide range of other stakeholders locally in the communities served by SWAST including third sector, charities, and neighbouring trusts, regionally with the Chairs of the Integrated Care Boards and nationally such as NHS Providers.
  • Maintaining constructive and appropriate relations with NHS England, the Care Quality Commission, other regulatory or inspection regimes, and NHS organisations.
  • Lead and provide an ambassadorial role for the Trust, sharing duties with the non-executive director team as appropriate, for example, attendance at internal and external events.


  • Uphold the highest standards of integrity and probity, adhering to the Nolan Principles (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, openness honesty and leadership).
  • Ensuring the Trust promotes equality and diversity for its s and staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Safeguarding the good name and reputation of the Trust.
  • Acting as a trustee of charitable funds, where appropriate.



  • A clear commitment to working in a way that upholds the values and pledges of the NHS Constitution.
  • Demonstrates a genuine commitment to putting patients at the heart of what SWASFT does.


  • Experience of leading and delivering against long-term vision and strategy.
  • Experience leading transformational change, managing complex organisations, budgets and people.


  • Strong interpersonal, communication and leadership skills.
  • Senior leadership expertise with an appreciation for how large, complex organisations are run, especially when operating over a significant physical geography.
  • Experience of building effective teams, encouraging change and innovation and shaping an open, inclusive and compassionate culture through setting the right tone at the top and championing diversity at, and across, all levels.
  • Strongly focused on the experience of all staff and patients
  • Demonstrable involvement in addressing issues related to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Professional acumen:

  • Significant Board level experience (any sector, executive or non-executive role).
  • Experience as a Non-Executive Director; ideally with some exposure to chairing (either a Board or a significant sub-committee).
  • An ability to identify and address issues, including underperformance, and to scrutinise and challenge information effectively for assurance.

Outcomes focus:

  • A demonstrable interest in health and a strong desire to achieve the best sustainable outcomes for all patients and service users through encouraging continuous improvement, clinical excellence and value for money.
  • Strong understanding of financial management, with the ability to balance the competing objectives of quality, operational performance and finance.
  • An appreciation of constitutional and regulatory NHS standards.


  • Politically astute and capable of building relationships across organisational boundaries, exemplary communication skills.
  • A desire to engage with the local population and to collaborate with senior stakeholders across the Integrated Care System.
  • Experience managing conflict, finding compromise and building consensus across varied stakeholder groups with potentially conflicting priorities.

Terms & Conditions

You should note that this post is a public appointment and is therefore offered as a term of office rather than a contract of employment.  As it is not an offer of employment, it is not subject to the provisions of employment law. There is no annual leave, no sickness provision, and no pension.

This appointment will be for up to three years and will be subject to annual performance review completed by the NED Senior Independent Director.

It may be extended for a further term if agreed by the Council of Governors.  Any subsequent terms will be offered on a one-year basis up to a maximum of six years.


The role is remunerated at £47,100 per annum and the expected commitment for the role is approximately 2-3 days per week which will be paid in 12 equal amounts on a monthly basis.

More on the time commitment can be found below.

Remuneration is taxable and subject to National Insurance Contributions.

You are also eligible to claim allowances, for travel and subsistence costs necessarily incurred on Trust business. The current mileage rate is 56p per mile.


As Chair, you must devote sufficient time to ensure the satisfactory discharge of your duties.  The time commitment will comprise a mixture of set commitments such as meetings (Board, Council of Governor and committee meetings) and more flexible arrangements for ad hoc events, reading, and preparation.

Held every 3 months, you should be available on the last Thursday of that month to attend Board and Council of Governors meetings.  

Occasional conference calls may be required.  You will have a trust email account and be expected to keep in touch with the Trust Chief Executive, Trust Secretary, and Lead Governor amongst others.

You will also be expected to devote time to being visible in the Trust and across the wider System, engaging with our people and triangulating the information that you have acquired.

Induction & Training:

Your induction and training plan will be developed with you so that it is bespoke to your needs. It will be a mixture of internal and external and will provide you with organisational and sector-specific familiarisation.

Appraisal Arrangements:

As Chair, your appraisal will be conducted on an annual basis by the NED Senior Independent Director.  Feedback will be sought from the Chief Executive, Executive Directors, Non- Executive Directors and wider Council of Governors on a confidential basis and shared with you.

Eligibility & Disqualification


As Chair of the Trust you must remain independent and make an annual declaration of independence.

To be independent, a Director must show that they are independent in character and judgment and whether there are relationships or circumstances which are likely to affect, or could appear to affect, the Director’s judgment.

As Chair you must demonstrate high standards of corporate and personal conduct.

You will be required to declare any conflict of interest that arises in the course of board business and also declare any relevant business interests, positions of authority or other connections with commercial, public or voluntary bodies. These will be published in the annual report with details of all board members’ remuneration from NHS sources.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your declarations and independence remain in place during your tenure.


To be able to take up this appointment the successful candidate will be eligible for public membership of South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust. Any applicant, who is not a member of the Trust, can apply to join as part of their application.

To become a member you must:

  • Be over 16
  • Live in any of the counties that we serve.

Fit & Proper Person Test

The purpose of the Fit and Proper Persons Test is to strengthen registration requirements and increase accountability of the controlling mind of health and social care providers.

The Fit and Proper Persons Test applies to all NHS providers and was introduced in October 2014. The aim of the test is to specifically assess the fitness of you as a Director to carry out a leading role for the relevant health and social care provider.

Your appointment will be subject to meeting the necessary checks for this post including an enhanced DBS check, bankruptcy check and disqualified directors’ check; as well as tests around the independence of your role and criteria explained in the disqualification section above.

You will be asked to sign a declaration that you meet these requirements and the Trust Secretary will undertake these checks.

How to Apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to SWASFT. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 3 October.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of two pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the person specification criteria.
  • Please include the email addresses of two referees on either your CV or covering letter. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • Please complete the following online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.
  • Please download and complete a Fit and Proper Person Declaration Form and return to 

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the AQ reference number AQ1559.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultant at Anderson Quigley: Helene Usherwood on or +44(0)7719 322 669 or or Elyse Turner Pearce, Consultant at or via +44 (0)7808 648 559.


Close of advertisement and search noon Monday 3 October
Longlist w/c 10 October
Shortlist  w/c 24 October
Final Interviews  w/c 31 October or 07 November