The Briggs Co-ordinating Committee was established in 1976 to formulate a new statutory framework for nursing education. The work of the committee resulted in the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979, which came into force on 1 July 1983. This act reorganised the administration of the qualification and registration of nursing staff: it abolished a number of supervisory bodies, including the General Nursing Council for England and Wales, the Central Midwives Board, the Council for Education and Training in Health Visiting, the Panel of Assessors for District Nurse Training, and the Joint Board of Clinical Nursing Studies.
These bodies were replaced by the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) and four National Boards including the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (ENB). The ENB is required to provide or to approve the provision of training courses for nurses, midwives and health visitors which lead to qualification for registration or proffered subsequent training. The Board has to ensure that such courses meet the requirements of UKCC with regard to content and standards. It is also required to hold or to arrange examinations, to collaborate with UKCC in the improvement of training, and to investigate cases of alleged misconduct.
Like the Boards for Scotland and Wales, the ENB is composed of forty-five members. The majority of members are people who were either practising nurses, midwives or health visitors, or people with qualifications or experience in teaching in those disciplines. These members were initially appointed by the secretary of state for social services, but are now be elected by the Board itself. Similarly, in the first instance the Board chairman was appointed by the secretary of state, but is now elected by the members of the Board.
The ENB held its inaugural meeting on 19 September 1980, and over the next three years established a number of advisory committees, working closely with UKCC in its supervisory role. On 1 July 1983, the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979 came into force, and the ENB inherited the legal responsibility for approving institutions in England where professional nursing and allied courses were provided; the institutions ranged from centres of higher and further education to major teaching hospitals and small hospices (some of which are not part of the National Health Service).
The Board's powers were amended by the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1992, which passed the function of investigation of alleged misconduct to UKCC.
In 1999 an independent review of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979 (as amended in 1992 and consolidated in 1997) recommended that the UKCC and the National Boards should be replaced by a more strategic and streamlined Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). A Nursing and Midwifery Order in Council abolished the UKCC and the National Boards and established the NMC, which came into operation on 1 April 2002.