The Health Research Authority is an arm’s length body of the Department of Health (DH), which operates within a Framework Agreement with DH and the Care Bill 2014 which governs its functions.
In making decisions and undertaking actions, the HRA takes account of the NHS Constitution, a statute which brings together in one place the rights and responsibilities of staff and patients when using NHS services and the values and principles which underpin the NHS.
The HRA lays its Annual Report and Accounts before Parliament, and robust public and parliamentary accountability arrangements are in place between the DH and the HRA to ensure good communication and effective collaborative working between the two organisations. Monthly sponsorship and quarterly accountability meetings are held which provide a mechanism for the DH to assure itself of the HRA’s delivery of its objectives.
The HRA is governed by a Board that functions as a corporate decision-making body. The Board is composed of five non-executive directors (including the Chair) and three executive directors (including the Chief Executive). The HRA is committed to openness and transparency with Board meetings held in public and Board papers and minutes available on the HRA website.
The HRA is responsible for a budget of approximately £14m and currently has some 1,000 committee members who voluntarily serve on the 68 National Research Ethics Service committees (RECs), a National Research Ethics Advisors’ Panel (NREAP) and a Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG). Staff are based in London, at the HRA head office at Skipton House, and four offices in Bristol, Jarrow, Manchester and Nottingham.
The Board has established two sub-committees; the Audit and Risk Committee and the Pay and Remuneration Committee.
Audit and Risk Committee
The role of the HRA Audit & Risk Committee is to advise the HRA’s Accounting Officer and the HRA Board on risk management, corporate governance and assurance arrangements in the HRA. The Committee is authorised by the Board to investigate any activity within its terms of reference and is authorised to seek any information it requires from any employee. All employees are directed to co-operate with any request made by the Committee. The Committee is authorised to obtain outside legal or other independent professional advice and to secure that attendance of outsiders with relevant experience and expertise if it considers this necessary.
Pay and Remuneration Committee
The duties of the Remuneration Committee include:
(a) advising the Board about appropriate remuneration and terms of service for the Chief Executive, Directors and Executive Directors on Very Senior Manager’s Terms and Conditions of Service including:
- all aspects of salary (including any performance-related elements/bonuses);
- provisions for other benefits, including pensions and cars;
- arrangements for termination of employment and other contractual terms;
- Standing Orders and Standing Financial Instructions December 2011
(b) making recommendations to the Board on the remuneration and terms of service of the Chief Executive, other Executive Directors and those on Very Senior Manager’s Terms and Conditions of Service to ensure they are fairly rewarded for their individual contribution to the Authority.
(c) making proper calculation and scrutiny of termination payments taking account of such national guidance as is appropriate.