Men's Health Forum Ethical Policy

The Men's Health Forum's ethical policy governs its relationships with partner organisations, funders and other stakeholders.
  1. Introduction

    Men’s Health Forum (MHF) is a charity whose mission is to be an independent and authoritative advocate for male health and to tackle the inequalities affecting the health and wellbeing of boys and men in England, Wales and Scotland.

    MHF believes that its mission can be more effectively achieved if it works collaboratively and in partnership with a wide range of other organisations in the public, third and private sectors. The Forum has also relied – and still depends – heavily on support from a wide range of organisations for a significant proportion of its core and project costs.

    It is essential, therefore, that MHF has a strict, clear and transparent policy for collaboration and partnership. Such a policy will benefit both MHF and other organisations by ensuring that MHF remains independent and autonomous, that there can be no actual or perceived improper influence on its work, and that its reputation is enhanced rather than put at risk.

    This policy also aims to enable the Forum’s staff to operate without the need for constant reference to the Trustees. Trustees and staff are expected to adhere to this policy.

    This version of MHF’s policy on relationships with external organisations supersedes that originally approved by the Board of Trustees on 3 April 2003.

  2. The Forum’s values

    Men’s Health Forum aims to be bold, innovative and authoritative. It seeks to act with integrity, to be inclusive and to work co-operatively but to retain its independence at all times.

  3. Working with other organisations

    Men’s Health Forum:

    • Believes it is vitally important to maintain and develop co-operative relationships with other organisations, including government, NHS, local government, third sector organisations, and those that develop, manufacture and market medicines and other treatments.
    • Recognises that other organisations have different aims and objectives – often including the need to be profitable – and will have their own particular marketing agendas. However, MHF will not enter into a partnership or relationship with any other organisation that would contradict or compromise one or more of the values listed in section 2 above.
    • Is committed to openness and transparency in all its dealings with other organisations (subject to any necessary legal or other constraints, e.g. relating to commercial confidentiality). MHF’s Annual Report will state which organisations have supported the Forum financially (or in other ways) and by how much[1].
    • Will enter partnerships and collaborations only if it is recognised as an equal party, irrespective of how large or powerful the other organisation might be.
    • Will enter partnerships and collaborations with other organisations only when the outcome will be mutually beneficial. 
    • Will consider partnerships and collaborations that result in core or project funding or help-in-kind. Although MHF’s preference is for long-term relationships with other organisations, it will nevertheless consider short-term commitments positively. MHF welcomes relationships that support any area of the Forum’s activities.
    • Is entitled – and usually prefers – to seek support from more than one organisation, either for core funding or for a specific project. No organisation can expect to acquire an exclusive relationship with MHF. MHF will not enter into relationships that are designed to give one organisation a competitive advantage over another.
    • Will accept funding (or other forms of support) only when a written agreement on the specific support offered has been accepted and signed by both parties. This agreement will include details of agreed contact people on both sides, the outcomes/outputs expected, how the agreement will be monitored and enforced and when and how progress reports will be provided to funders.
    • Will not work with or accept donations from organizations[2]:
      • Whose policies and activities are inherently detrimental to men’s health (e.g. the tobacco industry)[3];
      • Whose policies and activities systematically discriminate on the basis of sex, age, colour, race, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation[4];
      • With which a relationship would, perhaps because of the organisation’s public reputation, weaken the MHF (e.g. by alienating important stakeholders), and which may also as a result lead to an overall fall in income.
      • Will not support or endorse any specific medical products, treatments or devices (including all pharmaceutical products whether available on prescription only or over-the-counter). However, in exceptional circumstances, MHF may consider supporting specific non-medical products (e.g. foods, fitness equipment, micronutrient supplements) where the evidence that they can contribute to improved male health is unequivocal or where there are other compelling reasons to do so.
      • Will consider the endorsement of patient information resources produced by the pharmaceutical industry and others but only when the information produced does not imply that MHF supports or endorses any specific medical products, treatments or devices (including pharmaceutical products whether available on prescription only or over-the-counter).
      • No partner organisation should infer that acknowledgement of its support by MHF represents endorsement of its policies, actions or products. Any promotional use of MHF’s name (or logo) by any other organisation must have prior explicit and written consent from MHF’s Chief Executive or Chair of Trustees. Press releases which refer to MHF cannot be issued without its prior approval.
      • Reserves the right to withdraw from any partnership or collaboration if it is not being implemented according to the agreement or develops in a way that contradicts MHF’s policies and principles.
    • The Forum will publish this policy in full on its website (

Publication date: June 2010


[1] Only payments totalling £5k pa or more will be listed.

[2] Any organisation proscribed by this list would still be eligible to receive the Men's Health Forum eBulletin (or similar forms of communication) or to purchase Men's Health Forum resources (so long as the purchases are ‘off-the-shelf’ and not produced to a meet the organisation’s specific requirements).

[3] There may be circumstances where a distinction should be made between an organisation and its workforce. For example, while the Men's Health Forum would not accept sponsorship or a donation from a tobacco company, we might still consider participating in health improvement activities commissioned from us by the company for its workforce. If we were to provide a service of this kind, it would be necessary to agree with the company any public reference that might be made about its relationship with the Men's Health Forum.

[4] This clause is not intended to preclude working with, for example, faith organisations might be hostile to homosexuality in order to reach groups of men who may have particular health problems.

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.

Registered with the Fundraising Regulator