Governing Board Charter

Vision & Strategy

Compelling and durable charitable purpose
Cochrane has a compelling and durable charitable purpose for the benefit of the public. Our vision is a world of better health for all people where decisions about health and care are informed by high-quality evidence. We are an independent, diverse, global organization that collaborates to produce trusted synthesized evidence, make it accessible to all, and advocate for its use. Our work is internationally recognized as the benchmark for high-quality information about the effectiveness of health care.

Long-term strategy flowing from the charitable purpose
The Board has a well-developed long-term strategy which is focused on impact.  It considers the possible future environments in which Cochrane will operate, including the changing needs of beneficiaries - those who use, deliver and/or pay for health care.

Board Leadership

Board commitment to focus on impact
The Board is committed to this focus and thereby to the long-term sustainable success of Cochrane.

The right ‘tone at the top’
Individual Board members are committed to act as role models for the charity’s approach1.

Suitable structures and expertise
The Board has the necessary skills, expertise and structures in place to fulfil the vision and mission of Cochrane and to implement and oversee the ‘focus on impact’ approach2.

Value Drivers & Stakeholder Engagement

Developing a supportive organisational culture
The Board has clearly articulated the values of Cochrane3. These are at the heart of the charity and are fully taken into account in decision-making throughout the organisation. The Board regularly assesses the extent to which Cochrane’s charitable purposes are being fulfilled and the values are being applied in the organisation and identifies areas for development.

Active engagement with, stakeholders
The Board has identified Cochrane’s key stakeholders. The Board engages with them and the charity’s beneficiaries – those who use, deliver and/or pay for health care. The Board seeks stakeholders’ opinions and communicates with them on matters of importance to them. The Board has developed targets and initiatives, covering all aspects of its work, in relation to diversity, inclusion and related issues and monitors progress being made towards achieving the goals it sets.

Fair remuneration aligned with purpose and values
The Board is committed to being a good employer and treating all employees fairly4.  It ensures that remuneration and promotion has full regard to employees’ contribution to the charity.

Commitment to a sound financial approach
The Board is committed to a sound financial strategy that protects Cochrane’s viability, maintaining sufficient reserves to cover contingencies whilst avoiding an undue build-up of reserves.

Innovation & Risk Management

Focus on innovation of benefit to society
The Board ensures that Cochrane has the capacity and capability to be innovative. In promoting innovation, the Board both encourages ongoing incremental improvements and seeks opportunities for transformational change.

Effective risk management system
The Board ensures that its risk management system takes full account of all risks, including the risk that Cochrane will impose negative impacts on society. It seeks to identify how risks may be mitigated and acts accordingly.

Attention to the importance of the ‘licence to operate’
The Board has full regard to reputational risk and the importance of its ‘licence to operate’ to the future success of the charity.

Board Performance

High quality stakeholder and society-orientated information used in decision-making
The Board ensures that it has sufficient high-quality, relevant and reliable information about stakeholder and wider societal matters. Cochrane works co-operatively with other organisations to help maximise its impact on society.

Clear focus on performance with respect to beneficiaries, other stakeholders and wider society
The Board has developed non-financial, and financial, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and a risk management system that flows directly from the strategy.  Emphasis is placed on matters of importance to those who use, deliver and/or pay for health care – other stakeholders and wider society. The Board seeks to foster a high level of public trust in Cochrane.

Fostering resilience to crisis situations
The Board works hard to prevent crises which could negatively impact on stakeholders or wider society and has the necessary skills and experience to respond effectively in a crisis situation.

1 Refer to the Code of Conduct for Trustees
2 Refer to the Board Skills Matrix
3 Refer to Cochrane’s Principles: [Accessed 20.02.18]
4 Refer to Cochrane’s Charter of Good Management Practice: [Accessed 20.02.18]

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