The Human Tissue Authority website uses cookies to help improve the content and structure of the site.
For more information about how the Human Tissue Authority uses cookies and how to disable them please read our Privacy Policy

The development version of new HTA website is
available for testing. We would appreciate your feedback.

Governance, committees and working groups

The HTA was established on 1 April 2005 under the Human Tissue Act 2004 (HT Act) which extends to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (ENDPB) sponsored by the Department of Health and as such has a framework agreement (PDF). The Authority’s Chair and nine Members were appointed by the Secretary of State for Health one member who has been appointed by the Welsh Government and one member who has been appointed by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland. The Chair and nine members are lay and the remaining two are professionals drawn from some of the groups with a direct interest in the application of the HT Act. The Authority is supported by an Executive of 47 staff. Papers and minutes of Authority meetings are available here.

With the interests of both the public and regulated establishments at the centre of its work, the HTA's strategic goal is to maintain and build confidence in the removal, storage and use of human tissue by ensuring that these activities are undertaken safely and ethically, and with proper consent. The strategic objectives that support this aim and information on how the HTA plans to achieve them are included in the Strategic Plan and the annual Business Plans. A simple introduction to the HTA, its role and objectives is available in the About the HTA section.

The HTA Business Plan 2012-15 (PDF) and Strategic Plan 2013-2016 (PDF) are available to download.

The HTA is responsible for achieving its policies, aims and objectives, whilst safeguarding the public funds and assets. The Chief Executive, acts as the HTA’s Accounting Officer and is responsible for the overall organisation, management and staffing of the HTA and for ensuring that there is a high standard of financial management in the HTA.

The Chief Executive is accountable to the HTA Authority for the work of the Executive and the Authority is accountable to the Department of Health and Parliament for the activities and performance of the HTA.

At the end of each financial year, the HTA submits an Annual Report and Accounts to the Secretary of State, National Assembly for Wales and the relevant Northern Ireland Department.

The HTA has two statutory committees and three groups assembled to maintain oversight and support its work with stakeholders:

Audit, Risk and Assurance Committee

The HTA Audit Committee is an advisory body to the Human Tissue Authority board (the Authority). The main functions of the Audit Committee are to:

  • help promote the highest standards of propriety in the use of HTA funds and encourage proper accountability for the use of those funds
  • improve the quality of financial reporting by reviewing internal and external financial statements on behalf of the Authority
  • promote a climate of financial discipline and control which will help to reduce the opportunity for financial mismanagement
  • review the management of risk in the HTA
  • promote the development of internal controls systems which will help satisfy the Authority that the HTA will achieve its objectives and targets.

The committee's three core functions are to ensure the HTA is operating:

  • in accordance with any statutory requirements for the use of public funds
  • within delegated authorities laid down by the sponsor department and the HTA's own rules on what matters should be referred to the Authority
  • in a manner which will make most economic and effective use of resources available.

The Audit Committee is comprised of four non-executive members of the Authority. Members of the executive team, representatives from the National Audit Office (NAO) and the HTA’s Internal Auditor also attend the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee meets three times a year.

Full terms of reference are available here (PDF).


Remuneration Committee

The duties of the Remuneration Committee are to:

  • schedule meetings to consider salaries, performance-related pay, pension, contracts and performance management of members of SMT
  • ensure that an appropriate performance management system (which includes training and development requirements) is in place and applied to the performance of SMT and other staff
  • report to the Authority on the outcome of the performance management of the SMT against agreed objectives and targets
  • approve recommendations on pay policy for staff outside SMT
  • ensure that an accurate statement of the policy on remuneration for all staff and Authority members is included in the annual report and accounts and that this document reflects payments of all kinds made to SMT
  • approve of recommendations for severance payments and early retirement for all staff.

Under data protection regulations minutes of this committee are not published, but information on pay is published in our financial transparency section.

Stakeholder Group

The purpose of the Stakeholder Group (SG) is to consider regulatory issues across all sectors to inform the continued development of HTA regulation and fee-setting.

The group's four core functions are to:

  • provide an ongoing channel of communication with stakeholders
  • provide a forum for regular discussion of regulatory issues
  • consider fees proposals annually
  • report back to the Authority on key issues following meetings, as necessary.

The papers and minutes  are available here:

Histopathology Working Group

The purpose of the Histopathology Working Group (HWG) is to consider issues facing post-mortem sector establishments to inform the continued development of HTA policy affecting the sector and its overlap with the research sector.

The group's four core functions are:

  • maintain strategic oversight of the sector
  • provide a forum for debate on sector-specific issues and inform implementation of resulting work streams
  • consider standards documents and other guidance on the investigation of death created by the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) Death Investigation Group
  • to report back to the Authority on key issues as necessary.

Full terms of reference are available here (PDF).


Transplantation Advisory Group

The Transplantation Advisory Group (TAG) is a forum for discussion on issues arising in living and deceased organ donation, in particular:

  • discussion of new policy issues and emerging areas in transplantation
  • identification of revisions required to current HTA or NHSBT policies
  • discussion on the complex ethical issues in transplantation in order to ensure the requirements of the HT Act and associated regulations are met
  • guidance on issues surrounding Independent Assessor (IA) performance, generally identified during the reaccreditation process.

The group's three core functions are to:

  • maintain strategic oversight of living and deceased organ donation
  • provide a forum for debate on sector-specific issues to inform policy decisions and identify work streams/projects
  • report back to the Authority on key issues as necessary.

Full terms of reference are available here (PDF).