Policies And Transparency

The Institute's Aims

The Griffin Institute formally known as Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research (NPIMR) has been a center for medical research and training, both preclinical and clinical since the opening of the original Northwick Park Hospital early in the 1970s. Our goals are to enhance the quality of learning for clinicians so that they may take these skills and use them in their hospitals and clinics worldwide to enhance patient care as well as produce high quality integral science.

We are proud of our commitment to improving the quality of life of the animals in our care and how each and every animal goes towards directly impacting and advancing human medicine and surgery, that in 2020 we joined the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK.

The Institute's Commitment

We are committed to ensuring that all staff, surgeons, clinicians, and students whether involved in animal-based research or training, treat all our animals with respect and consideration. It is an expectation that staff, students and clinicians are to take a proactive interest in the welfare of the animals under their care, and to ensure that all aspects of their work and research comply with the highest ethical standards.

The Institute is committed to following the process of reduction, replacement, and refinement (3Rs) in all animal based pre-clinical research and training. This is to ensure that we uphold and promote an ethical, moral, and legal responsibility and a culture of care in all aspects of our research and education and always look for non-animal alternatives if appropriate.

Codes of Practice

In the United Kingdom, the use of animals to be used in medical research and education is governed by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Under this Act, all premises in which laboratory animals are housed and experiments performed are detailed in an Establishment licence. An EU Directive, revised in 2010, also supports and governs the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

Working to the Codes of Practices set out within the Act, ensure that the conditions for the welfare, housing and care of laboratory animals meet the rigorous standards and that the well-being of laboratory animals remains a high priority. For pre-clinical research, regulated procedures, as defined by the Act are conducted by experienced persons who have been granted a personal licence by the Secretary of State only after completing and passing the educational pathway to obtaining a personal licence. Personal licence holders will enter onto a training and competency trajectory that will follow them throughout their career across all establishments, to ensure that their training is complete and transparent. Within the Griffin Institute we have NTCO’s that track the competency of our staff and students as well as visiting personal licence holders.

In addition to this, all experiments must be authorised by a Project License which sets out and analyses the potential benefits of the work and the expected cost to the animals. The Home Office review and grant these licences only where the results can justify the use of animals.

Compliance with the Act is regulated by a dedicated Home Office Inspector who has the legal right of access to all areas within our establishment without warning. Our inspector ensures that no procedures are carried out without appropriate licenses being in place and that the highest standards of animal care and welfare are given and maintained.

The Ethical Review Process

The Act sets out that all research establishments must conduct regular meetings to ensure scientific projects are reviewed ethically. The Animal Welfare Ethical Review Body (AWERB) within the Institute, consists of named animal care and welfare officers, named veterinary surgeons, scientific personnel, and lay people. Every project is put towards an ethical review and these are scheduled on a regular basis. All of the pre-clinical projects and training
regimes that are conducted in-house, are presented to the board and only if strict criteria are met and fully justified, do these projects get granted approval.

The AWERB is also responsible for overseeing and approving new project licence and project licence amendments. Only amendments that have taken the 3R’s into consideration and ensure the science is kept on track or enhanced will be granted.

Why Animals are used in Research

As a general principle, animals are used in research when there is a need to gain knowledge about biological questions in living organisms. In most cases it is simply not yet possible, to replace the use of living organisms in research with alternative methods. Animal research has contributed to improving the lives of millions of people and animals, through improving medicines and surgical techniques that both doctors and veterinarians use to treat their patients. By law, new compounds and medical devices must be shown to be safe and effective in animal studies before they can advance to human clinical trials.

Equality and Diversity policy


We are an equal opportunities employer. We are committed to equality of opportunity and to providing a service and following practices which are free from unfair and unlawful discrimination. The aim of this policy is to ensure that no applicant or member of staff receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be relevant to performance. It seeks also to ensure that no person is victimised or subjected to any form of bullying or harassment.

We value people as individuals with diverse opinions, cultures, lifestyles and circumstances. All employees are covered by this policy and it applies to all areas of employment including recruitment, selection, training, deployment, career development, and promotion. These areas are monitored and policies and practices are amended if necessary to ensure that no unfair or unlawful discrimination, intentional, unintentional, direct or indirect, overt or latent exists.

The Chief Executive has particular responsibility for implementing and monitoring the Equality and Diversity policy and, as part of this process, all policies and procedures are administered with the objective of promoting equality of opportunity and eliminating unfair or unlawful discrimination. All employees, workers or self-employed contractors whether part time, full time or temporary, will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training, or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. All employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the Institute. Equality of opportunity, valuing diversity and compliance with the law is to the benefit of all individuals in our Institute as it seeks to develop the skills and abilities of its people. While specific responsibility for eliminating discrimination and providing equality of opportunity lies with managers and supervisors, individuals at all levels have a responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect. The personal commitment of every employee to this policy and application of its principles are essential to eliminate discrimination and provide equality throughout the Institute.

Our commitment as an employer
The Institute is committed to:
• creating an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of our staff are recognised and valued
• every employee, worker or self-employed contractor is entitled to a working environment that promotes dignity and respect to all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated
• providing training, development and progression opportunities to all staff
• understanding equality in the workplace is good management practice and makes sound business sense
• reviewing all our employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness

Our commitment as a service provider
The Institute is committed to:
• providing services to which all clients are entitled regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, offending past, caring responsibilities or social class
• making sure our services are delivered equally and meet the diverse needs of our service users and clients by assessing and meeting the diverse needs of our clients
• fully supporting this policy by senior management and ensuring agreement has been reached with employee representatives
• monitoring and reviewing this policy annually
• having clear procedures that enable our clients, candidates for jobs and employees to raise a grievance or make a complaint if they feel they have been unfairly treated
• treating breaches of our equality and diversity policy as misconduct which could lead to disciplinary proceedings

Equal opportunity policy statements
We will:
• ensure that people of all ages are treated with respect and dignity
• ensure that people of working age are given equal access to our employment, training, development and promotion opportunities
• challenge discriminatory assumptions about younger and older people

We will:
• provide any reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled people have access to our services and employment opportunities
• challenge discriminatory assumptions about disabled people
• seek to continue to improve access to information by ensuring availability of loop systems, braille facilities, alternative formatting and sign language interpretation

We will:
• challenge racism wherever it occurs
• respond swiftly and sensitively to racists incidents
• actively promote race equality in the Institute

We will:
• challenge discriminatory assumptions about women and men
• take positive action to redress the negative effects of discrimination against women and men
• offer equal access for women and men to representation, services, employment, training and pay and encourage other organisations to do the same
• provide support to prevent discrimination against transsexual people who have or who are about to undergo gender reassignment

Sexual orientation
We will:
• ensure that we take account of the needs of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals
• promote positive images of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals Religion or belief
We will:
• ensure that employees’ religion or beliefs and related observances are respected and accommodated wherever possible
• respect people’s beliefs where the expression of those beliefs does not impinge on the legitimate rights of others

Pregnancy or maternity
We will:
• ensure that people are treated with respect and dignity and that a positive image is promoted regardless of pregnancy or maternity
• challenge discriminatory assumptions about the pregnancy or maternity of our employees
• ensure that no individual is disadvantaged and that we take account of the needs of our employees’ pregnancy or maternity

Marriage or civil partnership
We will:
• ensure that people are treated with respect and dignity and that a positive image is promoted regardless of marriage or civil partnership
• challenge discriminatory assumptions about the marriage or civil partnership of our employees
• ensure that no individual is disadvantaged and that we take account the needs of our employees’ marriage or civil partnership

We will prevent discrimination against our employees regardless of their offending background (except where there is a known risk to children or vulnerable adults).

Equal pay
We will ensure that all employees, male or female, have the right to the same contractual pay and benefits for carrying out the same work, work rated as equivalent work or work of equal value.