Our Membership Strategy

The Membership Strategy 2022-2025 supports the delivery of the organisation’s strategic goals, which are:

Strategic objective one: Keep our patients safe every day by minimising avoidable harm and maintaining appropriate numbers of skilled and capable staff in all the places we provide care.

Strategic objective two: Improve access to cancer care and reduce waiting times for planned care for our patients.

Strategic objective three: Enhance the skills and confidence of our people to realise the benefits of innovation and technology for them and our patients.

Strategic objective four: Value our people through structured and supportive conversations about health, wellbeing and individual development between them and their manager.

Strategic objective five: Embed the Trust’s values of excellent, compassionate and respectful behaviour, leading to improved engagement and retention.

Strategic objective six: Work as an effective partner in our financially sustainable Health and Care Partnership to improve population health outcomes.

How our strategy meets our Trust's Values


Listening to the feedback and suggestions of our members will help us improve the quality of our services to suit the needs of local people.


Engaging members for their feedback will guarantee that we are constantly improving and finding new ways of working with communities.


Engaging MSEFT’s Board and leadership with governors and members will nurture positive relationships and ensure voices are heard.


To set out our strategic objectives, priorities and actions planned over a three-year period to allow MSEFT to build an inclusive, sustainable, representative and engaged membership.

This will be achieved by:

  • Being active and consistent in our communication with our members
  • Creating opportunities for members to voice their opinions and be involved in shaping the strategic direction of our Trust
  • Offering updates and feedback on the actions taken by the Trust
  • Engaging in targeted recruitment where needed to ensure that our membership is representative of the diversity of our communities.


Our vision is to maintain an engaged and representative membership where individuals feel empowered and supported to be involved with our Trust.  We will listen to feedback, ideas and suggestions to ensure that we deliver excellent care.

Our commitment

As a Trust, we are committed to working in partnership with our local communities when planning, developing and implementing improvements in our services. Therefore, we will ensure that our membership is engaged and enabled to voice their views and constructively challenge us. We'reis committed to listening to the experiences and opinions of our members.

Partnership and collaborative working

We recognise the benefits that partnership working brings and believe it will help us achieve the strategic objectives with greater success; it will enrich the experience, knowledge and skills of our membership, and will support the promotion of MSE services. Forming strong partnerships within the community will also help us engage and recruit in underrepresented constituencies.

As our Integrated Care System develops and there is a focus on place based care, it is even more vital that our Trust and governors engage with communities at a local level and work together with our partners in the wider system.

Internally, we will work collaboratively and use our membership to support Trust wide initiatives.

Themes identified and Strategic Objectives

The themes identified have derived from an analysis of current membership, views expressed by our Governor Working Group, plus the outcomes of a survey sent to members to understand what they want to hear about from the Trust, how often they would like to receive information, in which format and how regularly.  Data from the survey is included in appendix 1.

The resulting strategic objectives are:

  1. We will recruit new members, ensuring that the benefits of membership are clearly communicated.
  2. We will ensure that our membership is representative of the populations we serve
  3. We will retain our members through active communication and engagement.
  4. We will work collaboratively internally and externally to explore the ways in which membership can further aid the Trust and system in delivering strategic goals
  5. We will measure progress against the membership strategy and continue to seek feedback from members to improve our membership offer.

Themes and evidence







82.26% of responders were not aware of all of the benefits of being a member



We will recruit new members, ensuring that the benefits of membership are clearly communicated.



  • We will communicate the benefits of membership through different channels – in electronic updates, the membership stand, the website, social media and Your Hospitals magazine
  • We will organise quarterly Health Talks and publicise them within our local communities to recruit more members.
  • We will link in with voluntary services to ensure new volunteers are given membership information
  • We will attend locally organised events to promote membership
  • Increased understanding of membership benefits in next survey


Braintree – 966 members

Maldon – 546 members

Chelmsford - 2,490 members

We will ensure that our membership is representative of the populations we serve


  • We will focus recruitment on underrepresented areas
  • We will organise targeted recruitment and engagement events to reach different demographic groups
  • We will analyse the diversity of our membership and include this in reports to the Council of Governors
  • Increased representation across membership


95.60% of responders find receiving regular news updates valuable


99.20% of responders was to receive information via email


87.70% of responders are interested in hearing about what is happening in their local area

52.23% of members want monthly electronic information

53% of responders want a mixture of in person and virtual events


26.32% of responders are undecided about becoming a governor


53.41% of responders have never visited the membership page on the website

We will retain our members through active communication and engagement.

  • We will send monthly updates to members with news, upcoming events and areas where they can get involved
  • We will continue to share Your Hospitals Magazine
  • We will produce an annual membership event planner, including quarterly health talks, and ensure a mix of in person and virtual events
  • We will keep the membership webpage up to date with latest information and events and encourage members to visit it in our monthly updates
  • Ahead of governor elections, we will organise a session for governors to speak to members about the governor role and include some case studies in the monthly update
  • We will ensure we provide lots of information on the election website about the governor role
  • We will review responses to what information members would like to see at the AMM and consider this when organising future meetings and when writing monthly updates
  • Analysis of data on those opening email updates
  • Analysis of data on those visiting webpage
  • Event planner presented
  • Increased number of members putting themselves forward as a governor


22.13% of responders would be interested in attending charity events


18.85% of responders would be interested in volunteering

We will work collaboratively internally and externally to explore the ways in which membership can further aid the Trust and system in delivering strategic goals

  • We will join up with other internal teams to promote areas of the Trust such as volunteering opportunities, charity events, vacancies, apprenticeships etc.
  • We will include system updates in our communication with members
  • We will reach out to other foundation trusts in the system to see if there is appetite for joint events
  • Promotion of trust wide activity
  • Content of membership updates



We will measure progress against the membership strategy and continue to seek feedback from members to improve our membership offer

  • We will continue to monitor progress against the strategy at MERG
  • We will provide a progress report twice a year to the Council of Governors
  • We will review whether our current membership database provision is fit for purpose, and evaluate it alongside other options
  • We will survey members mid-way through implementation of the strategy and at the end of year 3
  • Progress demonstrated against objectives
  • Evaluation report on current database provision

Our Membership

MSEFT serves a large and diverse population providing health services to communities across Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Maldon, Rochford, Southend and Thurrock.

Our members are made up of our staff, current and previous service users, carers, people who live in the areas we serve as well as those from other parts of England who have an interest in the work that we do.

MSENHSFT has more than 35,000 public members and over 15,000* staff members that are kept informed about our work, achievements and future plans for the healthcare services we deliver. 

(NB: *these are the staff members that meet the staff constituency criteria below)

Public and staff members

Individuals are able to register and become a public member by visiting the MSENHSFT website www.mse.nhs.uk  and emailing the Membership Office, or by completing a paper form. Public membership data is held on a bespoke membership database managed by Databell.

The membership database is managed by the Membership Office and updated on a monthly basis. Data held includes ethnicity, gender and age of members, which is used for member analysis to ensure it is representative of the population MSENHSFT serves.

MSENHSFT staff employed under a contract of employment which has no fixed term, has a fixed term of at least 12 months, or staff who have been continuously employed for at least 12

months become MSENHSFT members automatically. MSENHSFT’s Human Resources team hold staff membership data and share this with the Membership Office on request. MSENHSFT bank staff members may choose to become members and once registered would be recorded under the relevant public constituency.

Membership breakdown


  • Basildon - 7,667
  • Braintree - 966
  • Brentwood - 1,095
  • Castle Point - 3,382
  • Chelmsford - 2,490
  • Maldon - 546
  • Rest of England - 1,961
  • Rochford - 3,370
  • Southend on Sea - 8,435
  • Thurrock - 4,794
  • Total members - 34,706


  • 12 to 15 - 69
  • 16 to 35 - 5,588
  • 36 to 50 - 5,367
  • 51 to 65 - 6,291
  • 66 to 80 - 6,488
  • 81 and over - 3,785
  • Left blank - 3,513


  • Male - 10,566
  • Female - 20,449
  • Left blank - 94


  • Asian or Asian British - 1,421
  • Black or Black British - 1,338
  • Mixed  - 309
  • Not stated - 1,111
  • Other - 835
  • White or White British - 29,675.

Membership benefits

It is vital for our members to understand the benefits of membership as this will ensure that they remain motivated, engaged and feel valued.

Members who express their views, offer suggestions and share positive experiences and concerns with us will help us shape our services and align them to the needs of our local communities, ensuring that they are of the highest standards. An engaged and representative membership will also have a positive impact on election nominations and the diversity of the Council of Governors.

Joining our membership is free of charge and individuals can choose their level of involvement.

Becoming a member allows people to:

  • Be heard by meeting with governors, attending events and communicating with our Trust
  • Receive our quarterly Trust magazine, Your Hospitals, containing information on the news and achievements of our Trust and updates from our services
  • Stand and vote in Governor Elections
  • Attend events organised for members
  • Attend our Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM) and hear presentations from members of our Board
  • Become a volunteer of our Trust and work with local communities
  • Receive health service discounts (discounts at many retailers)
  • Get involved in workshops, open days, service visits and patient experience groups

Membership management

The Council of Governors working group, the Membership Engagement and Recruitment working group, has been meeting since January 2021 with their focus being to consider and agree actions to be taken in growing a representative membership; to propose the arrangements for the AMM; to ensure feedback is provided to members on the activity undertaken by the Council of Governors in the previous year and to oversee the implementation of the Governors Communication Plan each year.

In addition, the Membership Office manages all membership related matters, including:

  • Member engagement and communications
  • Member inbox enquiries mse.members@nhs.net
  • Member recruitment
  • Management of the membership database
  • Membership analysis and report writing
  • Governor elections, induction and development
  • Supporting governors’ engagement with members and ensuring effective information flows between the Council, Board and members.


NHS foundation trusts were introduced to create a patient-led NHS. Their unique governance structures allow local people to get involved in the strategic planning and running of their local healthcare services.

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust (MSENHSFT) was formed on 1 April 2020, following the merger of three acute Trusts (legacy Trusts); Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Mid Essex NHS Trust and Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  Membership allows current and previous service users, carers, staff and public residents to be part of the Trust by receiving information and influencing decisions through active engagement.

Members can stand and vote in governor elections, potentially becoming governors themselves or choosing an individual to represent them on the Council of Governors.  The Council is responsible for representing MSEFT’s members, enabling the Trust to gather the views of local people and the expertise of partner organisations, which in turn enables targeted service improvements, innovation and the development of new ways of working.

Having active and representative memberships helps NHS foundation trusts ensure decisions are made in the best interest of the public, patients and staff.