Audit Commission publishes review of how trust boards get their assurance

The Audit Commission has published Taking it on Trust: A review of how boards of NHS trusts and foundation trusts get their assurance.

The report examines how the boards of NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England assure themselves that internal controls are in place and operating effectively.

The report finds that:

– board assurance processes are generally in place to guard against risks but must be rigorously applied
– board members are not always challenging enough
– the data received by boards is not always relevant, timely or fit for purpose

The report includes recommendations for the Department of Health, Monitor and the NHS Appointments Commission, as well as NHS trusts and foundation trusts.


The Commission has also produced a separate briefing, Figures You Can Trust, which reviews current data quality programmes and looks in further detail at how boards assure themselves about the quality of their data.

A number of products are available relating to the report on the Audit Commission’s website:

Taking it on Trust summary – the summary provides an overview of the report and recommendations.
Taking it on Trust presentation – the presentation outlines the methodology, findings and recommendations of the report.
Checklist for boards – the checklist allows NHS organisations to ask questions about their organisation’s arrangements.
Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust case study  – the case study highlights the action taken by the Trust to implement a programme to improve data quality.
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust case study – the integrated performance report produced by the Trust bringing together performance reporting and the assurance framework

All of the above can be downloaded here.

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