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Ethical collaboration policy

Please see below for information on our ethical collaboration policy.

Position statement

The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. Its goals are to help develop: informed policy, by undertaking original research and providing objective analysis; effective services, by fostering innovation and helping put ideas into action; and skilled people, by building understanding, capacity and leadership.

In this context, The King’s Fund seeks to work with a range of organisations to support all aspects of its work and, where appropriate, to generate income. Collaborations may include sponsorship agreements, joint ventures, commissions, consultancy and partnership working. All income-generating activities are conducted in direct pursuit of the Fund’s mission statement and values. Income generation is essential to supplement the money we raise from our own assets and to allow us to continue with our range of activities.

We wish to develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with commercial and other health-related organisations without compromising the independence of the Fund.

Guiding principles

Maintenance of independence

The Fund is very careful when working with other organisations that its independent status is not compromised in any way. If there is a possibility that this may be placed in jeopardy we will withdraw from any such initiative.

Mutual respect

The Fund’s collaborations are intended to generate shared learning, as well as income. It is important that both parties respect the expertise and skills that the other brings – over and above any financial benefits.

Integrity and transparency

The Fund aims to be transparent in its relationships with other organisations. There must be strong grounds for believing a formal collaboration will result in benefits to the Fund and its work. It should always be made explicit what each party is bringing and gaining from a formal relationship. The Fund will also be transparent about who it is working with and the nature of the relationship and work.

Shared goals for better health

The Fund will seek partners whose goals, values and actions promote and/or enable good health. Specifically, it will not work with any organisation that is associated with tobacco. Each partner will be judged on a case by case basis.

Conflicts of interest

The Fund’s mission and values help to establish which collaborations are appropriate. Successful collaboration requires mutual respect and transparency of benefits. When establishing a new collaboration, both parties should endeavour to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest that cannot be safely managed.

To help ensure potential conflicts of interest are identified and managed appropriately:

  • The Fund gives no warranty that the deliverables of a partnership will not contain any material that may be disadvantageous to its partner's business or area of work (for example, it will present research findings determined by objective analysis of available evidence regardless of whether they support a partner's work or position).

  • Speaker places at Fund events are determined by the Fund entirely on merit and cannot be determined by any formal partnership arrangements

  • Sponsors will have no direct control over analysis, conclusions, positions or recommendations by The King’s Fund. In the case of partnership projects or joint ventures, the rules of engagement for establishing outcomes must be agreed beforehand and should be transparent.

  • The Fund will be open about other collaborations with organisations working in the same areas or sectors and expects the same approach from its partners.

  • The Fund will not allow direct access to its customers and contacts by third parties (other than those generated directly by collaboration).

  • The Fund will not allow partners to link or imply direct material benefits for their products through an association with the Fund.

Obligations of partners

  • In the event of any matter arising which could significantly adversely affect the standing of the partner in the reasonable opinion of the partner, the partner must inform the Fund as soon as reasonably practical. The Fund also has a duty to keep the partner informed of relevant information. The Fund reserves the right to take appropriate action to ensure its reputation is not adversely affected in anyway as a result of such incidents.

  • A formal collaboration is considered a business arrangement; therefore all aspects must be clear and explicit to all parties involved. All agreements are exchanged in writing and partners are required to endorse and abide by the Fund's ethical partnership policy.

  • The King's Fund should be consulted whenever and wherever its name is used by partners, for both internal and external communications. Approval must be sought for any copy produced which refers to an initiative from The King's Fund that is supported/sponsored by a partner organisation.

  • At no time can the Fund's logo be used without express written permission for every occasion it is used.

  • At no time can press releases be issued that refer to The King's Fund without our prior approval.

  • Staff on both sides should beware the potential for bias generated through partnerships, where this might impinge on professional judgement and impartiality.

  • Both parties commit to confidentiality requirements at all times.

The King's Fund would like to acknowledge that this policy draws on the NHS Confederation's ethical sponsorship policy.