This statement covers arrangements for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (the ‘RCOG’) working and interacting with for-profit organisations, companies and business (collectively referred to as ‘industry’) and covers all activities related to:
- Sponsorship and support of, events, meetings, programmes, awards, publications
- Assessing clinical/medical need, utility and impact
- Public affairs, advocacy and campaigning
- Education materials, activities and services
- Research (pure and translational) and development
The RCOG will at all times fully meet the requirements of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice, the Fundraising Standards Board, the Association of Medical Research Charities, and, where appropriate, those of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
Independence and impartiality
The RCOG is open to working with organisations from a variety of sectors, so long as they align with the College’s mission and values and align to our charitable aims and objectives.
To ensure we maintain independence and integrity at all times we are clear that references in RCOG’s publications or information services to a particular product by generic or trade name never constitutes an exclusive recommendation of the product or service.
Before seeking financial contributions from industry, the RCOG will ensure it has a thorough understanding of the company through a due-diligence process. Where financial support is offered, the RCOG will seek to be clear about the company’s expectations, ensuring that these are in line with the RCOG’s charitable objects.
The RCOG name, logo and any of its materials may not be used by industry without our written agreement and the RCOG will maintain editorial control over any content that refers to the relationship.
Openness and transparency
The RCOG will report collaborations and financial contributions received from industry in its financial report and accounts. When consulting industry regarding any aspects of research, specific arrangements will be covered by confidentiality agreements. The RCOG will state that it has received industry support on publicity and other materials associated with a particular programme, service, activity or education/other material, printed or digital.
Any direct collaboration with industry or direct funding of a project that is carried out by industry will be subject to a clear agreement and terms and conditions that will identify requirements and expectations, particularly around intellectual property, publications and exploitation.
Any collaboration must clearly support the RCOG’s strategic aims and objectives, promote the work of the RCOG and accord with the RCOG values. The industry partner and RCOG will jointly ensure that the agreement complies with the terms contained within the relevant sector’s code of practice (AMRC, ABPI, and any other sector-relevant guidelines including, but not limited to, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, insurance, diagnostic and devices industries).
Revenue generated through commercial sponsorship by industry is used to support the delivery of the College’s charitable aims, including but not limited to, facilitating meetings or events, professional development, guidelines and patient information leaflets or other educational materials, research and other activities.
If a company offers financial support, the RCOG will seek to be clear about the company’s expectations and ensure that these are in line with the RCOG’s charitable objects. The acceptance of support or sponsorship (monies received directly as core funding, or as project funding, as donation in-kind, or other provision) will be confirmed by a written agreement which sets out roles, responsibilities and the terms and conditions governing the partnership.
All partnership arrangements and agreements will be monitored and reviewed annually for matters of reputational and other risks to RCOG, with any concerns raised with the partnering organisation at an annual review or sooner, as required.
Avoidance of conflict
The RCOG is judicious about any partnership it enters into. The RCOG has a policy not to have industry partnerships, relationships or match-funding bids with organisations that are not aligned with its values and charitable objects.
The conflict sectors include (but are not limited to): tobacco and alcohol companies; gaming and gambling; companies that aggressively market breast-milk substitute products; organisations which compromise patient safety, any company or organisation which conflicts to RCOG guidance, policy position or/and acts in opposition to the RCOG’s mission of ‘improving women’s health, everywhere’.
We expect industry partners to be forthcoming about new relationships that may undermine or conflict with our activities. RCOG’s reputation is central to the work that we do and thus we have the right to choose who we work with and refuse sponsorship if deemed a risk to reputation.