Governance Code

List of Contents

Principle 1. Leading our organisation 4

1.1 Agreeing our vision, purpose and values and making sure that they remain relevant 4

1.1 (b) 4

1.1 (C) 4

1.1 (d) 4

1.2 Developing, resourcing, monitoring and evaluating a plan to make sure that our organisation achieves its stated purpose 5

1.2 (a) 5

1.2 (b) 5

1.2 (c, d) 6

1.3 Managing, supporting and holding to account staff, volunteers and all who act on behalf of the organisation 6

1.3 (a, b, c, d) 6

Principle 2. Exercising control over our organisation 6

2.1 Identifying and complying with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements 6

2.1 (a, b, c) 6

2.1 (d) 6

2.1 (e) 7

2.1 (f, g, h) 7

2.2 Making sure there are appropriate internal financial and management controls 7

2.2 (a, b, c, d) 7

2.3 Identifying major risks for our organisation and deciding ways of managing the risks 7

2.3 (a) 7

2.3 (b) 7

2.3 (c) 7

Principle 3. Being transparent and accountable 7

3.1 Identifying those who have a legitimate interest in the work of our organisation (stakeholders) and making sure there is regular and effective communication with them about our organisation 7

3.1 (a) 7

3.1 (b) 8

3.1 (c) 8

3.1 (d) 9

3.1 (e) 9

3.1 (f) 9

3.2 Responding to stakeholders’ questions or views about the work of our organisation and how we run it 9

3.2 (a, b) 9

3.3 Encouraging and enabling the engagement of those who benefit from our organisation in the planning and decision-making of the organisation 9

3.3 (a) 9

3.3 (b) 10

Principle 4. Working effectively 10

4.1 Making sure that our governing body, individual board members, committees, staff and volunteers understand their: role, legal duties and delegated responsibility for decision-making 10

4.1 (a) 10

4.1 (b) 10

4.1 (c) 10

4.1 (d) 10

4.1 (e) 10

4.1 (f) 10

4.2 Making sure that as a board we exercise our collective responsibility through board meetings that are efficient and effective 10

4.2 (a, b, c, d) 10

4.3 Making sure that there is suitable board recruitment, development and retirement processes in place 11

4.3 (a, b, c, d) 11

Principle 5. Behaving with integrity 11

5.1 Being honest, fair and independent 11

5.1 (a, b, c, d, e, f) 11

5.2 Understanding, declaring and managing conflicts of interest and conflicts of loyalty 11

5.2 (a, b, c,) 11

5.3 Protecting and promoting our organisation’s reputation 11

5.3 (a, b, c) 11

Principle 1. Leading our organisation

1.1 Agreeing our vision, purpose and values and making sure that they remain relevant

The objective of the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) is to promote the advancement of education and public awareness of women’s and family health issues throughout Europe by conducting research, carrying out surveys, establishing and delivering training programmes, seminars and conferences on all aspects of health care.

The EIWH is governed by a board of directors nominated by members. Membership of the EIWH is open to individuals and organisations with an interest in women’s and family health. The EIWH has a membership base of individuals and organisations that contribute to the ongoing work of the EIWH.

The key priorities of the EIWH include:

  • Prevention of chronic diseases
  • Promotion of health and wellbeing and combatting smoking, drinking and obesity in women
  • Promoting active and healthy ageing across the lifespan and increasing healthy life years
  • Ensuring access to high quality treatment and care across the lifespan
  • Ensuring safety of medicines in pregnancy
  • Highlighting sex and gender in medicines regulation and medical education
  • Promoting vaccination across the lifespan
  • Advocating healthy pregnancies
  • Advocating mental health issues, with a particular focus on managing depression
  • Advocating sex and gender sensitive health systems

1.1 (b)

The Memorandum and Articles of Association of the European Institute of Women’s Health reflect the organisation’s purpose, mission and values.

1.1 (C)

The mission statement, as outlined in 1.1 was developed and agreed in 2001, on establishment of the EIWH as a Limited Company. The key objectives of the EIWH are reviewed, discussed and assessed regularly. Further, the EIWH actively invites feedback and proposals from stakeholders.

1.1 (d)

The European Institute of Women’s Health generates policy briefs on many issues and policies relevant to women’s health.  The Institute summarises issues and makes recommendations for policy action. In keeping with the objective of the EIWH, policy briefings are developed following consultation with the Institute’s network and are pertinent to women’s health. Policy statements are distributed widely to stakeholders, policymakers and citizens and a sample are available to view at https://eurohealth.ie/position-papers/.

1.2 Developing, resourcing, monitoring and evaluating a plan to make sure that our organisation achieves its stated purpose

1.2 (a)

The European Institute of Women’s Health promotes an equitable, gender-sensitive approach in health policy, research, treatment and care. As women make up over half of the population and take medicines across their lifespan, the EIWH is keen to contribute the perspective of women as medicine takers, patients and carers.

To achieve its objectives, the EIWH will continue to:

  • Promote health throughout the lifespan in women and their families.
  • Ensure quality and equity in health policy, research, treatment and care for all.
  • Draw policymakers’ attention to obstacles that women in minority and socio-economically disadvantaged groups face in obtaining a desirable health status.
  • Empower individuals to play an active part in their own health management.
  • Promote gender-specific bio-medical and socio-economic research that addresses sex and gender-based differences, therefore ensuring access to quality treatment and care for women across their life span.

The EIWH has an Expert Advisory Group appointed by the board which guides EIWH policies and activities.

To ensure success in achieving its objectives, the EIWH develops an annual work plan outlining key priorities, projects and activities. This plan is developed by staff annually and supported by the Board and members of the Institute. The EIWH 2016 Work Programme can be viewed at https://eurohealth.ie/eiwh-2016-work-programme/.

1.2 (b)

The current members of the Board of the European Institute of Women’s Health are as follows:

  • Hildrun Sundseth, President
  • Peggy Maguire, Director General
  • Sinead Hewson, Board Member
  • Maeve Cusack, Board Member
  • Karen Ritchie, Board Member
  • Barbara Dowling, Board Member
  • Merce Rovira, Board Member
  • Janusz Janczukowicz

The role and responsibilities of board members are outlined in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of European Institute of Women’s Health. The director general is responsible for fundraising activities and funder liaison.

In addition, the EIWH employs a small staff that includes:

  • A full-time director general whose role is to oversee all activities undertaken by the EIWH. The director general manages the EIWH and is responsible for implementing the strategies and policies adopted by the board and keeping the board informed of progress and developments.
  • A full-time finance manager who is responsible for all financial aspects of the organisation. The finance manager oversees income and expenditure, produces audited accounts for board review.
  • Three research officers on short-term contract basis who undertake research, develop policy briefs and provide advice on a consultation basis to European policymakers on behalf of the EIWH.

1.2 (c, d)

The European Institute of Women’s Health works at EU, national, regional and local levels to promote women’s and family health issues, to improve health policy and promote gender equity in health. The Institute raises awareness of women’s health issues with a range of effective activities including developing reports, drafting and publishing position and policy papers and providing consultation. The EIWH provides consultation to agencies of the European Commission for improvements in all aspects of women’s health.

The EIWH consults with an extensive network and continuously provides updates on EIWH activities to a wide range of stakeholders. In addition, the work of the EIWH is monitored under continuous assessment by members of the Institute, the board and stakeholders. Most pertinent, the effectiveness of the EIWH is evident in its influence in contributing to and shaping European policy.

1.3 Managing, supporting and holding to account staff, volunteers and all who act on behalf of the organisation

1.3 (a, b, c, d)

The EIWH employs two full-time staff (director general and finance manager) and three support staff (research officers) who are employed on a short-term contract basis. Staff are fully supported by the Institute and provided with a thorough induction on joining. This includes a detailed introduction to the work of the EIWH, its objectives, activities, annual work plans and tailored job descriptions.

The Institute is also supported by a network of volunteers who provide a range of highly skilled individuals who give their time to the important work of the institute.

Job descriptions for the staff of the EIWH (director general, finance manager and research officers) are in progress.

Principle 2. Exercising control over our organisation

2.1 Identifying and complying with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements

2.1 (a, b, c)

The European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) is a company limited by guarantee not having share capital and is a ‘not for profit’ organisation. Registered as a charity in Ireland, the EIWH charity number is CHY.12184. Board member XX acts as Company Secretary.

2.1 (d)

Health and safety policy…

2.1 (e)

Policies regarding employment, equality and data protection…

2.1 (f, g, h)

The European Institute of Women’s Health takes its responsibility to comply with data protection legislation very seriously. Any personal information held by the organisation is kept secure and confidential. The EIWH is fully compliant with all relevant legal requirements in relation to grants received by the Institute.

2.2 Making sure there are appropriate internal financial and management controls

2.2 (a, b, c, d)

The finance manager is responsible for all aspects of financial management and control of the EIWH. The finance manager oversees income and expenditure and produces auditors’ reports. The finance manager monitors income and expenditure against budget and produces quarterly and annual reports for the board. The finance manager is responsible for agreeing spending limits with board and staff and ensures the EIWH complies with the terms and conditions of any grants or funding received.

2.3 Identifying major risks for our organisation and deciding ways of managing the risks

2.3 (a)

Risk management plan…

2.3 (b)

The EIWH has appropriate insurance…

2.3 (c)

Ownership of property or assets…

Principle 3. Being transparent and accountable

3.1 Identifying those who have a legitimate interest in the work of our organisation (stakeholders) and making sure there is regular and effective communication with them about our organisation

3.1 (a)

The EIWH works in partnership with stakeholders from many organisations within EU funded projects and many other actions covering various topics related to women’s health. Key stakeholders include (yet are not limited to):

  • The European Commission
  • Directorate General (DG) for Health
  • DG Research
  • DG Justice
  • DG Connect
  • DG Employment
  • Social Affairs and Inclusion
  • European Parliament
  • European Medicines Agency (EMA)
  • The Council Presidencies
  • EU Member States
  • Public Health NGOs
  • Researchers
  • Health professionals
  • Academic organisations
  • European national health systems
  • Patients and healthy people: especially marginalised and vulnerable groups.

The secretariat of the EIWH, headed by the director general manages all day to day operations of the organisation and represents the EIWH at various international meetings including presentations at conferences.  It also manages relationships with EU and international organisations and agencies.

3.1 (b)

The director general is the appointed spokesperson for the EIWH and represents the organisation (by attendance and through the delivery of presentations) at various international meetings, events and conferences.

3.1 (c)

Membership of the EIWH is open to individuals and organisations with an interest in women’s and family health. The EIWH has a membership base of individuals and organisations that contribute to the ongoing work of the EIWH. They include experts from a wide range of health-related areas from across the EU.

Members contribute to the development of the annual work plan of the EIWH and agree the content. The annual plan is published on the website www.eurohealth.ie. On joining the EIWH, members can indicate the areas of work or health field that they can contribute to. Members have their own space on the EIWH website for the exchange of information and to manage their input to the various interest groups.

3.1 (d)

The European Institute for Women’s Health receives European Commission project funding. Other core funding is obtained from industry with no conditions attached to such funding. The funding policy of the EIWH is available to view at www.eurohealth.ie/funding.

3.1 (e)

Members of the EIWH receive activity updates and press releases on a regular basis as well as notices of consultations taking place and position papers being developed.

An annual report is produced, shared electronically with members of the EIWH and published online.

All board members are invited to the annual general meeting of the EIWH. The meeting is held in a central geographic location, usually Brussels.

3.1 (f)

On achieving compliance with the Governance Code the EIWH will ensure that all requirements are fulfilled.

3.2 Responding to stakeholders’ questions or views about the work of our organisation and how we run it

3.2 (a, b)

The AGM provides a clear opportunity to review and consult on feedback from stakeholders and beneficiaries of the EIWH. In addition, on joining the EIWH, members can indicate areas of work in the health field that they have an interest in contributing to.  Members have their own dedicated space on the EIWH website for the exchange of information and to manage their input to the various interest groups. Any feedback or complaints received are considered by and dealt with by the director general and secretariat, or escalated for board review.

3.3 Encouraging and enabling the engagement of those who benefit from our organisation in the planning and decision-making of the organisation

3.3 (a)

The director general of the EIWH represents the organisation at various international meetings, events and conferences. Members of the EIWH are invited to actively participate with the EIWH in providing feedback and in contributing to policy papers and the annual work plan of the organisation. Further, the EIWH consults with its extensive network on a regular basis and issues ongoing communications about its activities.

The EIWH works in partnership with stakeholders from many organisations within EU funded projects covering various topics related to women’s health. The work of the EIWH (projects, reports, policy briefs, position papers, consultations) is published on the organisation’s website www.eurohealth.ie.

3.3 (b)

If significant changes to the organisation are being planned, the EIWH is committed to consulting with its beneficiaries.

Principle 4. Working effectively

4.1 Making sure that our governing body, individual board members, committees, staff and volunteers understand their: role, legal duties and delegated responsibility for decision-making

4.1 (a)

The Memorandum and Articles of Association is made available to all board members and is published on the organisation’s website (www.eurohealth.ie). The Governance Code will be shared with all board members.

4.1 (b)

The members of the board of the EIWH are from a varied and diverse background. Each member brings a particular expertise, while all are collectively committed to advancing and improving women’s health Europe-wide. Each member is aware of their duty in terms of acting independently and maintaining confidentiality at all times.

4.1 (c)

The specific roles of board members are as follows…

4.1 (d)

Decision making process…

4.1 (e)

The job description of the director general clearly defines the role and its responsibilities.

4.1 (f)

The director general acts as the liaison between the Board and staff.

4.2 Making sure that as a board we exercise our collective responsibility through board meetings that are efficient and effective

4.2 (a, b, c, d)

Members of the board are located Europe-wide therefore a monthly meeting is hosted by teleconference and annually in person. An agenda is set and shared with members, together with minutes of the previous meeting, in advance of each board meeting. The nominated Chair ensures meetings run to schedule and keeps order.

4.3 Making sure that there is suitable board recruitment, development and retirement processes in place

4.3 (a, b, c, d)

The board of the EIWH currently comprises seven members. New members are invited onto the board due to their particular expertise and potential contribution to the EIWH. New members are provided with a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and given a detailed induction into the work of the EIWH, including the annual work plan. Training is provided as required.

Principle 5. Behaving with integrity

5.1 Being honest, fair and independent

5.1 (a, b, c, d, e, f)

The European Institute of Women’s Health has developed a code of conduct for board members. The code includes the Institute’s approach to the receipt of gifts and its ethical standards.

5.2 Understanding, declaring and managing conflicts of interest and conflicts of loyalty

5.2 (a, b, c,)

Board details and conflicts of interest/loyalty

5.3 Protecting and promoting our organisation’s reputation

5.3 (a, b, c)

The code of conduct developed by the EIWH…