Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs



Our staff are our key asset and are fundamental to successful delivery of our objectives. Our staff survey gives us great reassurance that the HTA is a good place to work, but offers insight into areas we can improve. More fundamentally, in order to achieve our vision to be a more resilient and sustainable organisation by 2021, our People Strategy has undergone a fundamental review.

We will develop proposals for widening the pool for recruitment outside London and the South East, and continue to build on the work we have done to remodel induction and training to allow staff to become competent more quickly and be less dependent on location.

As a small, expert regulator, it is imperative that we retain the specialist skills of staff for longer, which is challenging with current financial restraints. We will continue to promote work/life balance and flexible working, with a renewed focus on effective line management, training and development to make the best use of expert resources.


Our People Strategy, as outlined above will largely drive our approach to estates. We continue to control accommodation costs as far as possible by sharing office space; however, our current lease expires in 2021 and we have undertaken work with the Department of Health and Social Care to identify suitable future accommodation. We would expect these proposals to solidify early in 2019/20.

Expanding our workforce outside London and the South East over this period gives us the opportunity to develop as an organisation that works remotely by design, whilst ensuring that our culture and connectivity are maintained. As well as allowing us to increase the geographic pool from which we recruit, this may also produce rental savings that could be reinvested to address emerging business needs.

Business technology

Our business technology has never been more crucial to the success of the organisation and underpins much of what we set out to achieve. Our new strategic vision will require development of IT architecture, which is not dependent on location, in preparation for a future office move. We will support our staff with the technology they need to work effectively and efficiently, in the office and remotely. We also recognise the opportunities for technology, digital and data to improve the services we offer, reduce burden, and target our resources most effectively.

We take our commitment to information and cyber security very seriously, and will strive to meet our obligations under data protection legislation, the National Data Guardian’s data security standards and relevant UK Government cyber security frameworks.


The HTA is funded through licence fees and Grant-in-Aid from the Department of Health and Social Care. For a number of years we have worked hard to keep costs down by finding efficiencies, sharing office space and sharing Director and Head posts with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). Our recent review of the arrangements with HFEA highlighted further opportunities to boost the resilience of both organisations by developing a stronger strategic alliance.

We are aware of the budget constraints faced by many of our licensed establishments and remain committed to living within our means. As part of our sustainability programme, we aim to signal our budget intentions over the next three years, with a view to providing certainty on fee levels for establishments. To inform this we will undertake a more fundamental review of our fee model in 2019/20.

In 2019/20 we hope to be successful in securing approval for our business case to fund our organisational change programme. This will be funded via accessing existing reserves and will not necessitate an increase in licence fees or Grant-in-Aid. Robust oversight and governance of the change programme will ensure that these funds are used prudently to achieve tangible benefits for our stakeholders.

Deployment objectives

Our Deployment objectives are to:

  • Manage and develop our people in line with the HTA’s People Strategy
  • Ensure the continued financial viability of the HTA while charging fair and transparent licence fees and providing value for money
  • Provide a suitable working environment and effective business technology, with due regard for data protection and information security
  • Plan and prioritise our resources to carefully balance activity across the organisation

In the period covered by this strategy, we will:

  • Act on the feedback provided by our staff  to address key issues of concern
  • Build on the remodelling of our training and induction programme
  • Identify and strengthen the capabilities we will need to achieve success over this strategic period
  • Develop more formal arrangements for greater use of home working to support our recruitment strategy 
  • Give greater priority to information management and risk, ensuring that we comply with our requirements under relevant Data Protection legislation
  • Implement the recommendations of the shared services review with HFEA to improve the resilience of both organisations
  • Improve our video conferencing, online meeting, and collaboration capabilities
  • Produce an options appraisal for different models of working as an organisation, which puts our staff at the heart of what we do
  • Plan for an office move by March 2021


The Authority is made up of a Chair and eleven Members:

  • Nine are appointed by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care;
  • One is appointed by the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services; and 
  • One is appointed by the Minister of Health in Northern Ireland.

The Authority is made up of both lay and professional Members and currently includes an organ donor and a transplant recipient. The professional Members of our board come from medical and scientific backgrounds linked to our work, and the lay Members bring a wide range of business, commercial, academic, and public sector experience.

The Authority’s primary role is to ensure that the HTA’s statutory responsibilities are met and discharged effectively. It achieves this by setting the HTA’s strategic direction and providing both support and challenge to an Executive, which is responsible for the delivery of these responsibilities on a day-to-day basis.

Authority members also fulfil a valuable role in contributing to project work and the HTA’s advisory groups, as well as providing counsel on a range of emerging issues. While the Executive implements this strategy by way of business plans, there are a number of mechanisms in place by which the Authority steers, scrutinises and reviews performance.

The Authority holds four board meetings per year, one of which is in public and an annual strategy away day. These meetings provide the opportunity to assess a range of management information and more detailed reports on progress against elements of the strategy. They also allow the Authority to hold the Executive to account for the HTA’s performance.

Standing items reported to the Authority include:

  • Chief Executive’s report – to provide an overall assessment of the HTA’s performance and strategic risks
  • Delivery report – to provide assurance on the delivery of regulatory activities
  • Development report – to provide assurance on the delivery of development activities
  • Deployment report – to provide an update on the deployment of resources

The board meetings also provide the main means by which the Authority sets the direction on issues of strategic importance that emerge over the course of the year.

The Authority is supported in its work by two standing committees:

  • Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
  • Remuneration Committee.

The Executive also holds quarterly accountability meetings with the Department of Health and Social Care to review progress with delivery of key performance indicators and the management of strategic risks.

Last updated on: 19 Jun 2019