The trusts are not trusts in the legal sense but are in effect public sector corporations. Each trust is headed by a board consisting of executive and non-executive directors, and is chaired by a non-executive director. Non-executive directors are recruited by open advertisement.
All trust boards are required to have an audit committee consisting only of non-executive directors, on which the chair may not sit. This committee is entrusted not only with supervision of financial audit, but of systems of corporate governance within the trust.
Types of NHS trust 
There are several types of trust providing services for the NHS:
Commissioning trusts 
- NHS primary care trust (PCT), which provides primary care services and commissions secondary care services
- NHS care trust†, providing/commissioning health and social care services, usually with responsibilities of both a PCT and a local authority
Commissioned trusts 
- NHS hospital trust† (also known as an acute trust), which provides secondary care services
- NHS mental health services trust†
- NHS ambulance services trust
Other types of NHS organisation 
- NHS special health authority, organised on a national basis, dealing with NHS-wide issues
In addition there are (after reorganisation in 2006) ten NHS strategic health authorities, organised on a regional basis, which have the responsibility of coordinating the strategies of the trusts in their regions. These are also headed by boards of executive and non-executive directors.