At a joint face to face meeting in London on Sunday 3 September 2023, the Governing Board and the Council agreed to work in partnership to develop new and improved ways of engaging with the Cochrane Community.
The Council as it currently exists will not continue after the end of this year and a new Advisory Panel will be established to gather perspectives from the whole community and give advice to the Governing Board.
A working group made up of members of the Governing Board, the Council and others will be established to explore existing and new mechanisms for two-way communication, engagement and participation between the central organization and the community.
Council’s greatest value has been bringing together different perspectives from the whole community so that the bigger picture can be seen. The Governing Board expressed thanks and gratitude to members who have served on the Council. The Board recognised that the Council has tried to fulfil a wider range of functions than can be met by a single body.
With such a broad and diverse community of members, Cochrane needs a multi stranded approach to member engagement. A new Advisory Panel will be one important part of a new approach.
The working group will meet for the first time in October and we will keep you updated with progress.
Background and context
The Governing Board commissioned a review to better understand Cochrane’s governance structures. In summary, the review made the following conclusions:
- Cochrane is a complicated and a complex organisation. Formal governance and informal groups, bodies and entities have become increasingly complicated over time.
- The aim of enabling participation has led to the proliferation of groups and committees and the role and purpose of some has become unclear.
- Governance arrangements need clarifying, simplifying and strengthening.
The Council was established in 2017, the Terms of Reference set out the purpose as:
- a forum for Cochrane communities to consider high-level matters affecting Cochrane as a whole
- a mechanism to raise matters and provide input to the Board on behalf of Cochrane’s communities and
- a forum to consider matters at the request of the Board and inform Board deliberations
Some constituencies that existed when Council was created have or are being transformed. The constituencies vary in size and the process for becoming a member of Council is different depending on the constituency.
The Council ran an exercise in February 2023 to explore what members saw as the group’s purpose now and in the future and the results fed into the governance review. The consultant who led the review joined Council at their meetings on 9 May and 27 June 2023 and interviewed individual members.