Our policies cover a wide range of operational matters, from advertising external content on our web site, from managing media enquiries to event and activity sponsorship. We work with staff, clinicians and our Trustee Board to ensure that our policies are transparent and inclusive. The policies are developed, and reviewed regularly, to ensure we retain our independency and our evidence-led approach to our activities.
Organisations may be interested in working with us, please view our Funding Prospectus.
Advertising educational and training resources, awards, seminars, courses and events
Our purpose is to advance the science and practice of ophthalmology, which we do by supporting excellence in the training and continuing professional development of ophthalmologists.
We collaborate with a wide range of organisations to deliver services, events and information that influences national eye health policy and benefits patients and the profession of ophthalmology.
We recognise that there are high quality external educational resources, awards, seminars/courses and events that may benefit our members and affiliates. We may share these on our channels, including College News, the membership quarterly magazine, EyeMail, our enewsletter, and this website.
Advertising educational and training resources
We use the following criteria to assess suitability of resource materials on and offline:
- There is likely to be an educational or professional development benefit to members or affiliates
- Publication must have no conflict of interest, or perceived conflict of interest, with the values, aims and role of the College
- No inappropriate personal information is present and publishing would not breach data protection laws
- The information is in a format we can publish, such as PDF document or web link
- Satisfactory permission to publish has been given by the creator, author or copyright holder
All educational resources submitted for publication will be considered by the Communications team and in consultation with any other relevant committee chairs and departments. We aim to respond within 20 working days of receipt of the request to [email protected]. There is no guarantee that a request will be approved for publication.
Advertising seminars, courses and other events
Each event and course is considered on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, seminars and courses that have not been awarded CPD points may not be approved for publication on our website. Please fill in the request form on our Events & Courses page and return to [email protected].
Please contact [email protected] if you wish to enquire about CPD approval for your event.
We promote relevant awards and grants to our members. Please send requests to [email protected]
There is no guarantee that a request will be approved for publication.
Please note we do not advertise external job roles.
Keeping content current
We do our best to keep all content relevant and up to date on our website. We advise anyone submitting material to keep it under review, to provide a suggested review date, and to inform us of any changes that become necessary before that date if appropriate.
We may remove material from the website without notice.
Declaration of conflict of interests
Council members are expected to complete a declaration of interest form each June and to declare any conflict of interest at the start of committee meetings and to withdraw from the ensuing discussions, if appropriate. You can view a blank DoI form template here. For individual declaration of interest forms, look at Trustee profiles.
If any organisation, working in eye health, wishes to partner with the College and make use of our brand and name, they must provide a business case for doing so. We carefully consider the use of our name and branding (crest) to safeguard our reputation and independence.
Endorsement and permission
Endorsement and permission to use our crest, name and/or the form of a written statement or wording is only provided for a specific purpose and for an agreed period of use.
No endorsement can be assumed and each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We can only endorse activities in which there has been direct involvement by the College and the conditions of our involvement, including permission to use our name and branding, has been agreed at the beginning of the activity. Permission is very rarely given retrospectively.
In all cases, we will consider requests on the following basis:
- We are satisfied and in agreement with the quality, sustainability, relevance of the activity and that there is a fit with our strategic aims
- The organisation, group or individual leading the work is of good reputation and standing
- There is no conflict of interest, or perceived conflict of interest with the College’s strategic aims, values and role.
Please contact the Head of Communications & Engagement at [email protected] with details of the activity with a minimum lead time of 20 working days prior to publication or launch of the proposed activity.
All requests will be considered by a relevant College Officer and in consultation with other relevant individuals, the trustee board, the executive and departments heads. All decisions are final.
We set the curriculum and examinations for trainee ophthalmologists, provide training in eye surgery, maintain standards in the practice of ophthalmology, and promote research and advance science in the specialty. Ophthalmologists are at the forefront of eye health services because of their extensive training and experience in the field of ophthalmology.
To help guarantee the availability of ongoing funds to pay for this work, the College aims to maintain a broad base of different sources of funding. The purpose of this policy is to ensure clarity and openness to all stakeholders in the eye health sector.
We actively seek opportunities to work together with organisations and individuals to achieve shared objectives. However, it is vital that we maintain independence and do not allow any partnership to bring the name of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists into disrepute. We therefore accept financial support from, and partnership working with, companies and individuals on the following conditions:
- There are strong grounds for believing it will result in a benefit to the aims and objectives of the College.
- The Chief Executive and Trustees are satisfied that no serious adverse publicity will result from accepting such support
- There is no attempt on the part of the company or individual to influence College policy or actions either explicitly or implicitly
- That initiatives do not compromise the independent status of the College
Cause-related marketing, affinity marketing and product/service endorsement
We do not endorse medical products or devices, nor do we promote other services knowingly linked to eye and visual conditions. Endorsement or commercial partnerships involving services of benefit to our members, such as insurance or credit cards , will be assessed by the Board of Trustees on a case by case basis with analysis of the merit of the service as well as risk attached. With lower value relationships these will be similarly assessed for merit and risk but with any endorsement only extending to the value of the purpose of the product/service rather than the individual product itself.
Only College staff will have direct access to our database, patient groups and beneficiaries. In order to ensure that all of our cause-related promotion reflects our charity’s values any potential initiative must come to the Chief Executive and relevant governance committee for approval
We will not accept financial support or partnerships with companies involved with the manufacture of tobacco.
When deciding whether to accept any particular donation, the Chief Executive and the Trustees have a duty to demonstrate to the Charity Commission that they have acted in the best interest of the charity, and that association with any particular donor does not compromise the College’s ethical position, harm our reputation or put future funding at risk.
We comply with all relevant legislation including money laundering rules, the Code of Fundraising Practice, the Bribery Act, and Charity Commission guidance, including terrorism and political activity.
We therefore would not accept any of the following where the donation:
- Was known to be associated with criminal sources
- Would help further a donor’s personal objectives which conflict with those of the College
- Would lead to a significant decline in support for the College and so risk a fall in the resources available to fund our work
- Was from an individual/business who did not have the mental/corporate capacity to freely and willingly give a gift at the time they agreed to make the donation
- Would otherwise significantly damage our reputation
In accordance with the law, the charity does not refund donations after the gift is made, except in exceptional circumstances. This may include a breach of this policy, where accepting or retaining the gift is contrary to law or where there is an extreme ethical issue in retaining the gift. In accordance with law, a gift will only be returned at the clear written instruction of the board of trustees or charity commission.
Any additional ethical concerns not outlined in this policy should be reported to the Chief Executive for consideration.
The trustees have delegated decisions on fundraising to a fundraising panel, consisting of two staff members, three committee chairs and an OTG representative, however the trustees remain the ultimate decision-making body in relation to this policy and fundraising matters.
For all internet-related policies such as Confidentiality and Data Protection, Subject Access Requests, Legitimate Interests, Privacy and Cookies and more, visit our Privacy Notice page.
As an independent charity and membership organisation, we seek to provide content that is accurate and informative and in a way that the general public can easily understand. Where possible, we provide data and statistics from a variety of sources that we believe to be accurate and relevant.
We assess and respond to media based on the urgency and relevance of the enquiry and if aligned with our aims and if we are best placed, or able, to respond effectively.
We undertake to assess and, where appropriate, action media requests in a timely manner in order to maintain positive media relations, aiming to be proactive and responsive in our communication activities.
All enquiries should be directed to [email protected]
Press releases and statements are published on the News section of our website so that they may be easily accessed by the media and the general public.
The Honorary Treasurer must be informed in writing of all sponsorship obtained for the College before the sponsorship arrangement is accepted. There are two issues concerning corporate support for College activities, which all staff and Officers need to be aware of:
Where an outside organisation supports a College activity and there is use of that organisation’s name and/or logo in connection with that activity this is regarded as sponsorship. This means it will be regarded as a contractual arrangement rather than a grant arrangement. It will therefore be VATable activity. This should not have any impact on the supplying organisation as it will be able to recover the VAT. It will also ensure that they can include the charge as an allowable deduction for Corporation Tax. A contract arrangement is also beneficial, in one sense, for the College in that if we do not spend the full amount of the contracted fee we do not have to to return unspent funds: with a grant there may be a requirement to return unused funding.
Charities are able to trade and such trading will be regarded as either “primary purpose trading” or “ non primary purpose trading”. The taxation rules for charities allow the College to “trade” as long as the trading is connected with the delivery of its charitable objects. Thus the delivery of Congress, training courses, seminars and sponsorship are regarded as primary purpose trading. These are charitable activities and even if a profit results from this it is not chargeable to taxation. The College is allowed up to £50,000 of “non primary purpose trading” activity in any financial year. At present the other activities that are classified as non primary purpose trading are the advertising income in the Congress programme, the advertising in College News and any hiring of accommodation at the College to a third party where the hire charge includes an additional service such a catering. Once the College exceeds the £50,000 limit it is liable to Corporation Tax on all its non primary purpose trading activities and this will involve agreeing what expenses can be set against this activity. Where sponsorship amounts are in excess of the cost of the activity they are sponsoring this also may be regarded as “non primary purpose” trading and will count towards the £50,000 limit
- At present the College can recover a significant amount of the VAT it suffers. The arrangement has been agreed with HMRC after considerable time and effort and it would not be productive to reopen the matter again. College Guidelines concerning sponsorship arrangements: All sponsorship received on behalf of the College should be fully acknowledged in the financial section of the annual report
- Educational material that includes a logo or notice that it has been supported must have prior approval from the Honorary Treasurer
- All sponsorships should be confirmed in a written agreement which covers, inter alia, the value of the sponsorship, the extent of any use of corporate logos and publicity materials and the duration of the sponsorship. The sponsorship agreement should also confirm that the College does not endorse any product, service or procedure associated with the sponsor
- Hospitality from sponsors, eg catering at meetings, should not be lavish and should be appropriate to the nature of the event
- It is necessary to avoid multiple approaches to the same sponsor to ensure that there is no inadvertent competition between projects seeking sponsorship. Therefore no individual Officer, Council Member, Member or staff member may seek sponsorship for College related activities without first obtaining the approval of the Honorary Treasurer.
- This is to prevent small sponsorship projects placing in jeopardy larger projects. The College monitors its dependence on funding from the pharmaceutical and medical supply industry and this reference to the Treasurer is one check that the College does not become over exposed to any one commercial organisation
- Sponsorship for research should be encouraged, but must be under the control of the researcher who must retain freedom to publish results both positive and negative.
- Organisers of regional meetings accepting sponsorship on behalf of the College must declare the value of the sponsorship in full and give details of how the money is spent. Unless otherwise agreed in advance, any unspent money must be sent to the Honorary Treasurer at the College
- Sponsorship for other activities – such as Fellowships may bear the name of the sponsor provided College independence and integrity is maintained. Where appropriate, sponsors may have a nominee on selection panels
- Companies taking part in the exhibitions at Congress must conform to College and OPTIC UK guidelines, additional sponsorship can only be offered and accepted within these guidelines. Gifts to individuals attending the Congress must be modest and of no significant value
- The College reserves the right to refuse or end sponsorship
For members and charities
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is keen to help facilitate and support those who want to carry out surveys of the membership to obtain information that will ultimately be of benefit to our members or the broader ophthalmology community.
If you have an idea for a survey that you wish to undertake please submit this to the College using this Survey Application Form. This form requests:
- A brief summary of your motivation to carry out the survey
- Aims and objectives
- Intended survey population
- Proposed analysis and dissemination of results
Please return the completed form along with all questionnaires and associated documentation (such as covering letters etc.) or links to online questionnaires by email to [email protected].
Applications will be reviewed and assessed to ensure that they are requesting meaningful information and the aims are achievable. Wherever possible the College will support requests for surveys, however we may limit the survey sample where considered appropriate. The review process will take three weeks.
The College will administer the electronic distribution of questionnaires and, where agreed, send out further reminders. Everyone carrying out a survey of College members will be required to provide a report detailing response rates and outcomes from the survey including how the information was disseminated.
A summary of all surveys accepted for distribution will be published on our website.
The College will charge a £100 administration fee for all surveys carried out.
We will not:
- Share personal contact information
- Send out surveys on behalf of commercial companies.
- Send out postal questionnaires
- Provide address labels
For further information or to discuss a survey proposal please contact [email protected].