On Thursday last week, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust formally became South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS).
Foundation trusts are able to retain any surpluses they generate to reinvest into services and can also borrow money. SCAS began the process of gaining the status in late 2010, holding a three-month public consultation, recruiting 8,000 public members and holding elections for a council of governors in autumn 2011.
By March next year, it wants to recruit an additional 4,000 public members, who receive a copy of the trust's magazine quarterly and invitations to engagement meetings. Members can choose to become more involved to try to shape services.
SCAS chairman Trevor Jones said: "Achieving foundation trust status means that SCAS will be more accountable to local people and we will have more freedom to decide how to run and deliver our services.
"We look forward to working with members and our newly-elected governors in developing our future strategy and service development."
SCAS will be accountable to the independent regulator Monitor, which monitors the trust against its terms of authorisation and has powers to intervene.
To become a member of the SCAS foundation trust, visit www.southcentralambulance.nhs.uk/foundation-trust/becomeamember.ashx