The ASHM Partnership Program (APP) is designed to provide opportunities for ASHM to partner with public sector and not-for-profit organisations, corporate entities and international bodies to bring into being activities and opportunities which are in accordance with ASHMs objects (see Appendix 1).
The aim of the APP is to support ASHM in meeting the educational, professional, research and community needs of its members, the sector and the society generally in relation to HIV, viral hepatitis and sexual health matters. It does this as an independent operator which bases its decisions on the best available evidence and, where evidence is limited or not available, appropriate professional opinion. From time-to-time evidence-based responses may not be achievable, such as where funds or personnel are not available, in which case ASHM works on the basis of pragmatism and through discussion and consultation. ASHM ensures that its decision-making process is clear and transparent.
ASHM recognises that other organisations operate under different business models and that companies' commercial objectives may influence decisions about participation or investment in programs. Notwithstanding this, there will be opportunities when the interests of ASHM and a potential commercial or non-commercial partner intersect. We also recognise that private, government, commercial and not-for-profit agencies may from time-to-time have the need for the types of services that ASHM can offer. It is through the identification of these intersections that ASHM hopes to further develop its partnerships with private and public sector agencies, outside our traditional government funding sources.
As a not-for-profit and a charity, ASHM will direct any funds generated by goods or services developed through APP arrangements, including management fees and licences back into the Society for the express purpose of realising its objectives.
ASHM will provide a range of services, including the creation of goods on a fee-for-service basis. It will do this as a result of:
Inviting third parties to enter into partnership arrangements, by seeking a range of inputs including cash, in-kind support and particular resources including intellectual property
Calling for donations and/or sponsorship for specific purposes including campaigns and in general, in support of the objectives of the Society; and
Responding to approaches from third parties who are interested in partnering with us.
The APP program excludes all Conference Sponsorship whether this is conference sponsorship of ASHM conferences or sponsorship of conferences to which ASHM provides Professional Conference Organising (PCO) services.
Registration, certification and accreditation programs will not be funded using APP funds except in the case with the partner is the registering or certifying body.
National, State and Territory policy and/or guidelines activities will not be funded from the APP program. This includes but is not limited to:
Australian Commentary on the DHHS Antiretroviral Guidelines; and
HIV, HCV and HBV Testing Policies
Each partnership entered into under the APP will be subject to an agreement. The agreement will make explicit the arrangement entered into. Entering an APP arrangement does not confer rights on either partner to use the other's logo, outside the uses described in the agreement, and does not extend endorsement of any products or policies produced by either party.
It is recognised that association brings with it a level of tacit endorsement and, as such, ASHM will assess the implications of any unsolicited approaches or responses to calls for inputs and/or donations. As a general rule ASHM would not partner with:
Agencies which cannot comply with the ACFID code of conduct particularly with respect to the rights of children, human trafficking and illegal behaviours (see Appendix 2)
Agencies or individuals who were not prepared to make the arrangement transparent (except in the case of philanthropic and wholly unfettered financial contributions (donations) where the donor wishes to remain anonymous)
Agencies or individuals who are acting illegally, where this illegality is known or suspected by ASHM
Agencies or individuals who are not prepared to furnish accounts, reports, evidence of legal status and/or references of previous partners if so requested in the process of assessing a potential partnership
Where there is an educational component to an APP activity, ASHM will ordinarily establish an independent scientific or other appropriately qualified faculty (reference group) to oversee the educational content of the event, activity or resource. The scope of such a faculty, if established, would be detailed in terms of reference and binding upon the partners.
ASHM may also contribute to activities which already have an established faculty, provided the arrangements are deemed appropriate and in line with this policy and any other relevant policy. From time to time, however, the nature of an activity may not require the establishment of a faculty. For example:
Independent faculty established by ASHM, content decisions binding and outlined in Terms of Reference.
Faculty already established when arrangement entered into. APP Panel considers faculty to be suitably independent and ASHM takes on specific tasks or joins faculty.
An existing out of stock resource is re-printed with commercial funding, there is no change to the content, no additional faculty is required.
Where speaker or content are suggested by a commercial partner, the education oversight faculty must be satisfied that the program, curriculum or content delivered by the partner meets the standards of evidence required of this program. That is: it is based on the best available evidence and, where evidence is not available, appropriate opinion, generally developed through the professions. This caveat applies equally to all partnerships and is a responsibility of any faculty constituted under this agreement.
The involvement of commercial partners is not explicitly excluded as a function of these guidelines. Commercial partners will have a strong interest in the content of some activities, education and resources, for example, when a corporate entity enters into a partnership with ASHM for the delivery of a training program for its staff or students.
The commercial partner should have the expectation that any material provided by ASHM will be accurate and up to date and appropriate for its purpose. The same standard and quality should be expected when a partnership is providing an educational activity for third parties, for example, to general practitioners about a new class of drugs and their implication of the management of a given condition.
ASHM welcomes engagement with commercial and non-commercial partners who:
Ensure balanced information on products and services – including alternative products and services – are presented/delivered.
Impartially state the benefits and/or limitations of products and services.
Accurately represent the body of evidence.
Influence participants to act in an appropriate manner.
Work with ASHM to deliver materials or programs with the objective of better patient outcomes and/or the quality use of medicines.
The above provisions can also apply to a non-commercial partner where, like the commercial partners, the non-commercial partner may need to be an active contributor to the relationship in order for ASHM to understand the practices and processes in place in an entity. A recent example of this was the development of a resource on screening for the Defence Force. Where Defence Force medical personnel needed to ensure that the content of the resource reflected the processes, forms and terminology used, as well as the more clinical content provided by ASHM.
As a general rule, ASHM will not enter an APP where there is no educational benefit. Events of that nature will not generally be viewed as an APP and will instead be managed through the Conference Sponsorship and Events Division as a fundraising event. An example would be a dinner or concert in support of the International Gift Fund. An exception to this is where an event may be seen purely as a fundraiser for philanthropic purposes.
The Board will appoint an Advisory Panel to oversee the APP. The Panel will comprise:
An individual with expertise in activity partnerships with public and private sector entities as well as the HIV, viral hepatitis and sexual health sector.
A member with an interest and expertise in ethics.
A representative of ASHM's Board of Directors.
An ASHM member with an interest in partnerships and called on to represent the experience of a consumer of activities delivered through the APP Program.
A nominee from the Organisational Members representing professional agencies and workforce.
The Division's Managers will attend Ex Officio as required and provide secretariat assistance to the program.
The Board will establish Terms of Reference which will be adopted or modified by the Advisory Panel.
To provide advice to the Board and CEO on APP matters generally.
To approve for publishing on the ASHM website an agreed descriptor of the program which will:
Include a set of agreed standards against which applications will judged, and
A mechanism for making applications, and
To receive feedback from partners and potential partners and program recipients and establish a mechanism for responding to the feedback, including complaint.
To identify a mechanism by which the program can undergo continuous quality improvement as it becomes more developed or refined.
To approve guidelines on how the program will be conducted and which will include:
Ways that the partners will be acknowledged
Use of logos
Holding out and making of claims
To approve a set of guidelines for considering and responding to applications and including:
The provision of feedback to applications
Mechanisms for resubmitting an application
To provide specific advice to the CEO and APP program on applications, particularly applications which are outside of the guidelines.
To publish the panel's formal recommendationsl
To provide to the Board recommendations on how the Program might be modifiedl
To issue a report for inclusion in the Annual Reportl
The Board will receive advice from the Advisory Panel and take legal and other advice as required. The Board recognises that the relationship between the medical and health profession and corporate entities, particularly but not exclusively the pharmaceutical industry, is the subject of considerable scrutiny. The Board will continue to monitor the treatment of these relationships, the standards of the industry, the community and the professions and any instruments devised to provide guidance on these relationships such as:
Medicines Australia Code of Conduct
Any specific Company Codes of Practice or Conduct
NHMRC Code of Conduct and Guidelines
College (RACP, RACGP etc) Codes
Other material bought to its attention, and
The Panel may be asked to provide advice on specific issues relevant to the APP as they come to the Board's attention.
The Finance and Division Managers will be required to bring to the attention of the CEO any reference to the APP in grant and/or funding contract correspondence and in the wording of any agreements. It will be important to be cognisant of cases where there are restrictions on the application of private funds for specific government funded activities.