Skip to content

Governance and our Royal Charter

The King's Fund is incorporated by a Royal Charter (124.03 KB, pdf) that was granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 and came into effect on 1 January 2009. Previously, the Fund was known officially as the King Edward's Hospital Fund for London and was established in 1907 by Act of Parliament.

The King's Fund is governed by the Board of Trustees, chaired by Rt. Hon. Professor the Lord Kakkar, and day-to-day management is delegated to a senior management team, led by Chief Executive, Sarah Woolnough.

The late Queen was Patron of The King's Fund from 1953 until her recent death, and the former Prince of Wales, now His Majesty King Charles III, has been our President since 1986.

Our Royal Charter

The King's Fund was governed under a 1907 Act of Parliament until 2009. While the Act served us well for 100 years, it unsurprisingly became increasingly difficult to square its provisions and governance arrangements with a modern health system and today's more rigorous demands for good practice in charitable governance. Charities today have a higher level of accountability than ever before, making it important that our trustees can demonstrate that their actions fall squarely within the parameters of our constitution.

Following discussions with the Charity Commission and the Fund's legal advisers it was concluded that an application for a new Royal Charter body would be the most appropriate method of revising the governance provision of The King's Fund.

In 2007 the Charity Commission agreed a re-statement of our charitable objects and the trustees petitioned the Privy Council requesting that it establish a new Royal Charter body called The King's Fund.

The Royal Charter was granted on 4 November 2008 (124.03 KB, pdf), and the previous organisation was transferred as a whole to the new Royal Charter body on 1 January 2009.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees are appointed for a three-year renewable term, and meet six times a year. Their role is to agree the organisation's overall strategic direction, in line with its charitable objectives, and to scrutinise management functions delegated to the Senior Management Team. The Board of Trustees also delegates some of its work to sub-committees. 

Senior Management Team

Our Senior Management Team is responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day management and operation of The King's Fund, working within a framework of strategy and accountability agreed with our Trustees. 

General Council

The King's Fund's General Council was established in 1907 as part of governance arrangements agreed by Act of Parliament. It managed the organisation until 1996, when it delegated its responsibilities to a Management Committee of Trustees. 

Under our Royal Charter, the General Council no longer has a governance role but is an advisory body to The King’s Fund and meets once a year under the chairmanship of The King’s Fund President or an individual nominated by him.

Under the terms of the Fund’s Royal Charter, the Fund has established a General Advisory Council.

The purpose of the General Advisory Council is to provide advice to the Chief Executive and Trustees to help the Fund achieve its mission. Members of the Council will use their collective expertise to reflect on the Fund’s activities and impact in the previous year; act as a source of intelligence on the key issues and challenges in the health system and to engage in future thinking about trends and developments in policy, leadership and health care improvement.