1. Introduction

Women’s Health Concern is a charity that aims to provide support and advice to women on a wide range of womens health problems.

Women’s Health Concern believes that its goals can be more effectively achieved if it works collaboratively and in partnership with a wide range of other organisations in the public, voluntary and private sectors. Women’s Health Concern has relied – and still depends – heavily on corporate support in particular for a significant proportion of its core and project costs. It is essential, therefore, that Women’s Health Concern establishes a strict, clear and transparent policy for collaboration and partnership. Such a policy will benefit both Women’s Health Concern and other organisations by ensuring that Women’s Health Concern remains independent and autonomous and that there can be no actual or perceived improper influence on its work.

This policy also aims to enable Women’s Health Concern’s staff to operate without the need for constant reference to the trustees. Trustees and staff are expected to adhere to this policy.

This policy has been drawn up with reference to the Long-Term Medical Conditions Alliance’s policy document and working with the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Charity Commission’s report Charities and Commercial Partners and the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries Code of Conduct 2006. The board of trustees reviews sponsorship policy quarterly.

2. Women’s Health Concern’s values

Women’s Health Concern is committed to:

  • Providing support and advice to women on a wide range of gynaecological and sexual health problems.
  • Educating and updating healthcare providers on a wide range of gynaecological and sexual health problems.
  • Becoming an equal opportunities organisation in terms of both its operations as an employer and all its external activities.
  • Collaborating wherever possible with other organisations and individuals who broadly share its goals and values.
  • Acting transparently and honestly at all times.
  • Preserving its autonomy and independence.
  • Complying at all times with current company and charity law in England and Wales as well as any other relevant statutory obligations.

3. Working with other organisations

Women’s Health Concern:

  • Believes it is vitally important to maintain and develop co-operative relationships with other organisations, including those that develop, manufacture and market medicines and other treatments.
  • Recognises that other organisations have different aims and objectives – often including the need to be profitable – and will have their own particular marketing agendas. However, Women’s Health Concern will not enter into a partnership or relationship with any other organisation that would contradict or compromise one or more of the values listed in section 2 above.
  • Is committed to openness and transparency in all its dealings with other organisations (subject to any necessary legal or other constraints, e.g. relating to commercial confidentiality). Women’s Health Concern’s Annual Review will state which organisations have supported Women’s Health Concern financially (or in other ways) and by how much.
  • Will enter partnerships and collaborations only if it is recognised as an equal party, irrespective of how large or powerful the other organisation might be.
  • Will enter partnerships and collaborations with other organisations only when the outcome will be mutually beneficial.
  • Will consider partnerships and collaborations that result in core or project funding or help-in-kind. Although Women’s Health Concern’s preference is for long-term relationships with other organisations, it will nevertheless consider short-term commitments positively. Women’s Health Concern welcomes relationships that support any area of Women’s Health Concern’s activities.
  • Is entitled – and usually prefers – to seek support from more than one organisation, either for core funding or for a specific project. No company can expect to acquire an exclusive relationship with Women’s Health Concern. Women’s Health Concern will not enter into relationships that are designed to give one organisation a competitive advantage over another.
  • Will accept funding (or other forms of support) only when a detailed written agreement on the specific support offered has been accepted and signed by both parties. This agreement will include details of agreed contact people on both sides, the outcomes/outputs expected, how the agreement will be monitored and enforced and when and how progress reports will be provided to funders.
  • Will not work with, or accept donations from, organisations whose activities, policies, aims or objectives contradict or are inconsistent with its own. The tobacco industry is the most obvious example
  • Will not enter into relationships that might produce adverse publicity for Women’s Health Concern.
  • Will not support or endorse any specific medical products, treatments or devices (including all pharmaceutical products whether available on prescription only or over-the-counter).
  • Will consider the endorsement of patient information resources produced by the pharmaceutical industry and others but only when the information produced does not imply that Women’s Health Concern supports or endorses any specific medical products, treatments or devices (including pharmaceutical products whether available on prescription only or over-the-counter).
  • No partner organisation should infer that acknowledgement of its support by Women’s Health Concern represents endorsement of its policies, actions or products. Any promotional use of Women’s Health Concern’s name (or logo) by any other organisation must have prior explicit and written consent from Women’s Health Concern’s chief executive. Press releases which refer to Women’s Health Concern cannot be issued without its prior approval.
  • Reserves the right to withdraw from any partnership or collaboration if it is not being implemented according to the agreement or develops in a way that contradicts Women’s Health Concern’s policies and principles.
  • Women’s Health Concern will publish this policy in full on its website (www.womens-health-concern.org) and summary details will be included in its Annual Report.

On behalf of the board of trustees and the medical advisory panel, I emphasise our commitment to providing unbiased and independent services. This principle underpins all our work and sponsors must, of course, agree to this requirement.

Please do get in touch with me to discuss sponsorship options in more detail.

With best wishes
Patrick Shervington
Trustee