The Nuffield Trust is an independent health charity. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate. Here we outline the principles that underpin the decisions we make about whom we will work in partnership with.
We are funded primarily from income generated from the Nuffield Trust’s own endowment. The endowment was given to the Nuffield Trust in 1940 by Viscount Nuffield and the capital value is currently about £100 million. We use our investment income to fund in-house research, support our infrastructure, and allow us to commission external research.
This income generated from the endowment therefore continues to remain the most important source of income for the Trust and guarantees the independence of our research and wider activities. It ensures that we are not dependent on any other source of income to carry out our charitable purpose.
More details on how we fund our work are available from the How we are funded page. Further information on financial matters and our governance structure is set out in our audited Report and Financial Statements.
Working in partnership
We recognise the value of working in partnership with other organisations and are continually looking for opportunities to collaborate and partner with organisations on issues of mutual interest. These may include Government departments, such as the Department of Health; NHS organisations; charities and other not-for-profit organisations; and commercial companies.
We believe that external funding of our work can lend greater legitimacy and influence to our activities, as well as allowing us to expand our programme of charitable activities.
We therefore seek to work with a range of organisations that support our work – whether that is through funding our researchers to undertake specific research projects, joint initiatives with partners, consultancy involving our health care experts, or sponsorship of our events.
However, this is undertaken with careful consideration of our independence and reputation, with the majority of our activities funded from our endowment.
Principles for partnership working
A number of important principles underpin decisions we make about whom we will partner with, accept research funding from, or enable to sponsor our activities, such as events. These are:
- Charitable remit: our guiding principle is that all funding secured from external sources – whether for funded research projects or sponsorship – should further our charitable objectives and be in keeping with our strategic priorities.
- Maintaining our independence: our reputation relies on our independence. Any partnership we enter must not compromise our independence. If it does, then we will consider withdrawing from any such partnership or sponsorship.
- Conflicts of interest: we will not work with organisations when there is a conflict of interest (real or perceived) with our work.
- Editorial control: we will only accept income where we retain control over the activities and intellectual property of the project in question. We will always maintain editorial control over published material.
- Integrity and transparency: we will be transparent about whom we are working with and the nature of the partnerships we are engaged in. All partnerships will transparently set out the benefits to both the Nuffield Trust and the partner.
- Level of financial contribution: the acceptance of research funding and sponsorship will not be determined by the level of financial contribution alone – we will work with organisations as long as they help to further our charitable objectives and be in keeping with our strategic priorities.
- Range of partners and sponsors: we will not become reliant on research funding and sponsorship from any one organisation.
- Marketing: we will not endorse specific companies and/or products.
Protocol for events sponsorship
We seek sponsorship for some of our major events, including our annual Health Policy Summit and one-day conferences on topics that are in our areas of expertise.
As a matter of course we insist on maintaining control over programme content for all our events, regardless of whether they are sponsored or not by third parties.
When and where appropriate we will offer speaking and chairing opportunities to sponsors. However, these slots will be determined and allocated solely on merit and editorial reasons, and not due to a financial contribution alone.
In addition, partners and sponsors will not be allowed direct access to the individuals and organisations signed up to the Nuffield Trust’s mailing lists.
Nuffield Trust is dedicated to protecting all data it holds using industry best standards. It is the policy of Nuffield Trust that information assets are protected from all threats, whether internal or external, deliberate or accidental.
We have achieved the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 Information Security standard. Appropriate and secure management of data is included within the scope of the ISMS. This certification validates that Nuffield Trust has implemented the internationally recognised information security controls defined in ISO/IEC 27001:2013. Specifically:
- Risk assessment and risk treatment
- Information will be protected against unauthorised access
- Confidentiality of information will be assured
- Integrity of information will be maintained
- Regulatory and legislative requirements will be met
- Business continuity plans will be produced, maintained and tested
- Information security requirements will be communicated to all staff
- IT systems will not be misused.
NHS Digital data access request service (DARS)
A core part of our work at the Nuffield Trust is providing evidence-based research to inform health care policy and generate debate. Analysis of health service data plays an essential part of our work, and we make extensive use of data from NHS Digital. These data are an essential source of information on patient activity and outcomes, which allows comparisons across different parts of the NHS and over time.
We place a very high priority on ensuring that we protect the patient and other information we use in our work. We place a very high priority on ensuring that we protect the patient and other information we use in our work and maintain compliance with the internationally recognised ISO 27001 information security standard. We have worked closely with NHS Digital during 2019 to develop a data sharing agreement which covers our research programmes, and sets out the purposes and processes which the Trust follows in the use of data. This approach means that we can also respond effectively to new health policy issues, and undertake rapid analysis.
For further information, please refer to the purpose statement.
Using patient data in research
Our work uses data provided by patients and collected by the NHS as part of their care and support. Using patient data is vital to improve health and care for everyone. There is huge potential to make better use of information from people’s patient records, to understand more about disease, develop new treatments, monitor safety, and plan NHS services. Patient data should be kept safe and secure, to protect everyone’s privacy, and it’s important that there are safeguards to make sure that it is stored and used responsibly. The Nuffield Trust takes this responsibility seriously and, as stated above, has achieved the ISO27001 Information Security Standard. The Trust is also committed to ensuring that everyone is able to find out about how patient data is used and publish details of the Trust’s processing activities in our privacy statement.
The purpose of our Research Governance Policy is to outline the Nuffield Trust’s obligations and the requirements of both staff and contracted researchers in research governance.
The Nuffield Trust wishes to commission and undertake high quality research in a way that fosters excellence, effective leadership, openness, accountability and honesty.
The Nuffield Trust has a clear responsibility to develop a culture among staff and with contracted researchers in which attention to governance and ethics in research becomes accepted practice.
For the purpose of this policy, research includes:
- original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding;
- the development and interpretation of existing knowledge for specific applications or within a professional setting (for example, within a health care setting), including audit and audit-type studies, and service evaluation.
The Research Governance Policy applies to research carried out, funded, commissioned or published by or on behalf of the Nuffield Trust.
NHS digital audit of Nuffield Trust data sharing activities
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), now NHS Digital, conducted a data sharing audit of the Nuffield Trust on 14th and 15th July 2015. The audit is a check against the requirements of the Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) between HSCIC and the Nuffield Trust. This DSA governs the way that Nuffield Trust can use, share, store and eventually destroy any data that is supplied by HSCIC. The audit was successfully completed, and the formal report is available to read from the HSCIC website. See also our Information security and data statement.