ARMA Corporate Partnership Policy

1. Who we are

ARMA is an umbrella body representing patient organisations and healthcare professional bodies working with musculoskeletal conditions.

Our vision for musculoskeletal (MSK) health:

  • The MSK health of the population is promoted throughout life;
  • Everyone with MSK conditions receives appropriate, high quality interventions to promote their health and well-being in a timely manner.

We engage with:

  • Public Policy
  • Services (commissioning)
  • Policy delivery and practice

ARMA is a registered charity. We are member-led, ensuring we maintain an independent voice while working with industry and government partners. The operational and activity costs of the organisation are raised via subscriptions from our member organisations and support from our Corporate Partners. ARMA seeks support from Corporate Partners for its core capacity building and advocacy activities and to help to initiate new and expand existing activities.

2. Purpose of this policy document

The purpose of this policy document is to provide a framework for how working with external organisations should be initiated, managed, and maintained to ensure transparency, maintain our independent voice and manage conflicts of interest.

3. When to apply the policy

Donations, external support, Corporate Partnerships, or collaborations with an external organisation where resources are provided directly to ARMA fall under the guidance of this policy. This includes, but is not limited to, cause-related marketing, affinity marketing, sponsorship, project, campaign or initiative funding, in-kind support and conference sponsorship. This policy also applies to advertising in ARMA publications.

4. Policy implementation

It is the responsibility of all members of ARMA staff and Board of Trustees to correctly implement this policy on every occasion that a relationship with an external organisation is implemented.

5. Core principles in working with industry supporters

5.1 Transparency

ARMA will be transparent about the sources of all funding and about any involvement of the sponsor in the activity. Our website will list all funders who have provided support in the current year and all of our current members. All externally sponsored or funded projects e.g. events or reports will state the source of funding. For events, the source of any sponsorship will be made clear in writing or verbally at the start of the event. Specific figures detailing level of financial support are not required to be displayed publicly but are available by request to ARMA. Such statements will also make it clear whether the activity is a collaboration or the funder has no say in the activity or content.

5.2 Our relationship with companies is based on these principles:

  • ARMA will only enter into a relationship where we believe this will positively benefit people affected MSK conditions and the Chair or vice Chair is satisfied that it does not pose an unacceptable risk of adverse impact on reputation.
  • Working with companies does not imply endorsement of the company or its products.
  • ARMA and companies will comply with relevant best practice guidelines and adhere to codes that have been put in place to ensure a clear, transparent and honest working relationship between companies and the charitable sector, such as those produced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the Fundraising Standards Board (FSB) and the Institute of Fundraising’s Codes of Practice.
  • ARMA is transparent about the nature and extent of any financial support it receives and will ensure that agreements comply with both the regulatory requirements and our own guidelines.
  • There is no attempt on the part of the company to influence ARMA policy or actions either explicitly or implicitly.

5.3 Strategic and editorial independence

ARMA will produce a strategic plan of activities for the year(s) ahead with clearly defined objectives. Corporate Partners may wish to support this strategic plan in whole or in parts, but are not involved in setting ARMA’s strategic priorities. ARMA will retain editorial independence on all ARMA materials. ARMA will not accept restricted or designated funds for activities that are inconsistent with the vision and mission of ARMA and its strategic and other plans.

A Corporate Partner may not veto what ARMA decides or says or publishes. Where corporate partners have collaborated in the activity and so had influence on the content, e.g. roundtable sponsors who also participate in the discussion, this will be made clear.

5.4 Plurality

ARMA will strive to have multiple companies supporting its activities to avoid the appearance of an alliance with any one company, its products, legislative agenda or regulatory concerns.

5.5 Principles of collaborative working

Any external relationship should be based on integrity, openness, transparency, independence, accountability, mutual respect and benefit for all concerned. Each party should be clear about its roles and responsibilities and the limits of these and these together with all material terms of the arrangement, should be consistent with these guidelines and must be set out in a written, binding agreement between the parties.

All commercial partnerships will be conducted in line with any relevant sector codes of practice, e.g. the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) code of practice.

5.6 Ethical guidelines

ARMA will not ally itself in any way with any organisation whose activities are likely to be seen as damaging to the health of people with arthritis. The Board of Trustees will be responsible for making final decisions in any areas of doubt.

ARMA will not accept money from a source or activity that is

  • From a company manufacturing tobacco or alcohol;
  • Illegal;
  • Unverifiable as to its source;
  • Where the relationship will be counter-productive to ARMA.

5.7 Endorsement

ARMA does not endorse companies, individual products or services whether or not labelled ‘for people with arthritis’. Any content of meetings, webinars or reports does not represent the views of ARMA unless explicitly stated. ARMA will provide appropriate recognition of company sponsorship but such recognition should not be interpreted as endorsement of particular policies or products. The inclusion of commercial partners in presentations, events or publicity does not represent endorsement.

5.8 Use of ARMA name or logo

ARMA holds final approval of all uses of its name, logo and other identifying symbols. These symbols can be used by commercial entities only if their use furthers ARMA’s mission and only with the written consent of the ARMA CEO.

Approved by ARMA Board meeting on: 30 October 2019.