Financial monitoring of Cochrane Groups takes place annually. It was previously managed by the Monitoring and Registration Committee (MaRC) and is now the responsibility of the Finance & Core Services department of the Central Executive. Many groups will remember the ‘Part B’ financial monitoring form - this has now been replaced by an online survey. Financial monitoring was suspended in 2015 during the transition from MaRC to the Central Executive. ‘Part A’ monitoring on the core functions of Cochrane Groups remains suspended while the organization undergoes structure and function changes, and is also likely to take a different format upon its return.
Monitoring is not an audit of Groups’ accounts, but a data-gathering exercise that builds a picture of Cochrane’s ‘financial health’ year on year. It enables the Central Executive to provide information to the public about who funds Cochrane, the collective monetary cost of the organization’s work, and the number of people involved in group activities. It supports the preparation of statistics about groups in order to benchmark operations and identify best practice. And it also identifies whether groups are operating sustainably, highlighting any actual or potential resource issues. This is the kind of fundamental information that the Governing Board needs in order to make strategic decisions about how to allocate core funding annually, and will be particularly important as we seek a better understanding of the feasibility and timelines for making structural changes to Cochrane groups.