Advanced Certificate in Health Service Governance


Please note that this module is no longer part of the Qualifying Programme

The aim of this module is to provide the knowledge and key skills necessary to act as adviser to governing bodies across the NHS in England. The advice of the company secretary/governance professional will include all aspects of the governance obligations of NHS organisations in England, covering not only legal duties, but also management of potential risks and applicable and recommended standards of best practice.

After successful completion of this module you should:

  • Understand the basic principles of governance and the development of corporate governance and demonstrate the specific dynamics that apply to health service governance, underpinned by an awareness of the theoretical frameworks and approaches.
  • Be able to advise on the structure and composition of the board, governing body or council, as well as the duties of directors, to maximise effectiveness and meet regulatory requirements.
  • Understand the importance of culture and behavioural factors in the development of an effective board, governing body or council, and how this is supported by the roles of committee members and the company secretary.
  • Understand the specific governance arrangements and resulting issues for foundation trusts, clinical commissioning groups and new models of care, including an awareness of membership arrangements and the impact of shared governance arrangements.
  • Be able to critically appraise and apply health service governance principles and best practices in risk management, assurance and the role of audit for the board or governing body.
Download the Health Service Governance syllabus. This syllabus was rebranded in July 2021 but there weren’t any changes to the content at this time.

Study text

Please ask your course administrator for a copy of the study text

Health Service Governance Study Text
Study Support Guide

Exam material

In the table below you will find:

  • Exam paper - this is the paper that was set at the exam session
  • Mark scheme - this is the document markers used to assess students' answers
  • Examiner's report - this is the examiner's comment on the examination performance
  • Student answers - for some sessions we can show examples of answers students wrote in the examination
  • Pass RatesThese pass rates refer to exams from the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Associated Territories (all territories administered by the Chartered Governance Institute’s office in London).
Health Service Governance exam material
Exam sessionExam paperMark schemeExaminer's reportStudent answers
June 2023 View View View
June 2022 View View View
June 2021 View View View
November 2020 View View View Exam paper 1
Exam paper 2
November 2019 View View View Section C (fail)
Section C (merit)
Section C (distinction)
Sample paper  View View Not available for sample paper
Pass Rates View


The presenter webinars are recorded and are available below (uploaded after the first session in September).  

Recordings Presentation slides

Session 1 - Introduction to the course and study skills - A

              - Introduction to the course and study skills - B

              - Introduction to the course and study skills - C

Session 1 slides
Session 2 - Governance landscape & theoretical frameworks Session 2 Slides
Session 3 - Structures, laws and voluntary codes Session 3 slides
Session 4 - Foundation Trusts  Session 4 slides
Session 5 - Task 1 feedback and analysis Session 5 slides
Session 6 - Integrated care systems Session 6 slides
Session 7 - The Board's sole and directors' responsibilities Session 7 slides
Session 8 - People around the board Session 8 slides
Session 9 - Risk Management, assurance and audit Session 9 slides
Session 10 - Task 2 feedback and analysis  Session 10 slides
Session 11 - Exam strategy and techniques Session 11 slides

The recordings for the 2021 cohort can be accessed here.


The previous version of the Qualifying Programme, the Chartered Secretaries Qualifying Scheme (CSQS), ran from June 2011 to June 2019. Some of the modules were very similar to the content of the new Qualifying Programme, particularly the strategy, governance, corporate law and secretarial practice content.

You may find it useful to refer to this material while preparing for your studies, but please remember this material has not been updated since the exam was set; also, remember that the new exams have a different format to CSQS exam papers.

Download the Archived Health Service Governance module syllabus

Health Service Governance past papers
Exam sessionExam paperSuggested answersStudent answers
June 2019 View View Response to question 4
Response to question 5
November 2018 View View Response to question 2
Response to question 3
June 2018 View View Response to question 1
Response to question 2
November 2017 View View Response to question 3
Response to question 6
June 2017 View View Response to question 2
Response to question 5
November 2016 View View
June 2016 View View

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