Terms of Reference

The Clinical Ethics Committee (CEC) should have clear terms of reference.

  • The relationship of the CEC to the host organisation and the scope of functions of the CEC within the organisation. This should be appropriately agreed with the host organisation. Provision of adequate resources for the CEC to function within the host organisation should also be agreed including, as a minimum, rooms for meetings, IT support and administrative support. Ideally, the CEC will also be able to draw on a budget (for example, for refreshments, attending training and other relevant events, etc.)
  • The purpose of the CEC, i.e., aims and objectives of the CEC
  • The main responsibilities and remit of the CEC, i.e., its functions and the scope of the support the CEC provides (including any topics/areas beyond the CEC’s remit)
  • The process for managing CEC activities, e.g., the referral process for case consultation, including the process for handling urgent referrals
  • Statements covering accountability and governance, e.g., where (and how) the CEC reports
  • Indicative membership and terms of service, including how members and the Chair are to be appointed, duration of membership, and roles and powers of any officers of the CEC including the Chair

You can find further information about terms of reference, including a downloadable example, in Clinical Ethics Resources and Downloads.

We partner with the Institute of Medical Ethics (IME), an organisation which is dedicated to improving education and debate in medical ethics. Visit the IME website