These terms of reference outline the role and functions of ACART.
The Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Procedures and Human Reproductive Research (‘the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology’ or ACART) is established under section 32 of the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act 2004. These Terms of Reference outline the role and functions of ACART.
ACART has the following functions:
For the purposes of performing the above functions, ACART must monitor:
ACART should also monitor the decisions of ECART to ensure that they fall within the guidelines as intended by ACART. If, after consideration of one of ECART’s decisions, ACART considers that the decision falls outside of its guidelines, ACART should inform ECART of this.
ACART shall be guided by the following principles:
ACART may issue guidelines to ECART only after it has:
When ACART issues guidelines to ECART, it must:
When ACART issues guidelines to ECART, it must:
ACART must, within time frames agreed with the Minister, provide the Minister with information, advice, and if it thinks fit, recommendations on the following matters in relation to the use of gametes and human embryos in human reproductive research:
ACART must, within the time frames agreed with the Minister, provide the Minister with information, advice, and if it thinks fit, recommendations on the following matters in relation to human assisted reproductive technology:
ACART may give advice on the above areas only after it has:
If, in the opinion of ACART, a significant number of persons wish to make oral submissions on a proposal to give specific advice on any of the above matters, ACART must hold as many meetings as are required to enable those submissions to be made.
Before ACART gives advice to the Minister or issues guidelines to ECART, it must consult on the proposed advice or guidelines with:
The Minister may appoint any person to be a member of ACART and must, before doing so, consult any persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, are able to provide advice on prospective appointees who have the required expertise and the ability to reflect relevant perspectives and concerns, including, without limitation, the perspectives and concerns of women.
The primary guiding objective for appointing members to ACART is to ensure that ACART has the appropriate expertise, skills, knowledge and perspectives to provide advice and guidelines of the highest quality.
ACART must consist of not fewer than 8 and not more than 12 members appointed by the Minister of Health.
At least half of the members of ACART must be lay members.
For the purposes of these Terms of Reference, a layperson is a person who, at no time during the person’s membership of ACART or in the 3 years before becoming a member of ACART:
The chairperson of ACART, or a member of ACART nominated by the chairperson of ACART for the meeting may attend each meeting of the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ECART). The ACART member or Chair attending the Advisory Group meeting is not a member of the committee.
The chairperson of ECART, or a member of ECART nominated by the chairperson of ECART for the meeting may attend each meeting of ACART. ECART member or Chair attending the ACART meeting is not a member of the committee.
ACART’s membership must include:
Members should possess an attitude that is accepting of the values of different professions and community perspectives, and it is important that ACART comprise people from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities. All members of ACART are expected to have an understanding of how the health sector responds to Mäori issues and their application to ethical review.
Despite being drawn from groups identified with particular interests or responsibilities in connection with health and community issues, members are not in any way the representatives of those groups. They are appointed in their own right, to participate in the work of ACART as equal individuals of sound judgement and relevant experience.
Members of ACART are appointed by the Minister of Health for a term of office of up to three years. The terms of office of members of ACART will be staggered to ensure continuity of membership. Members may be reappointed from time to time. No member may hold office for more than six consecutive years.
Persons who have served six consecutive years as members of the previous National Ethics Committee on Assisted Human Reproduction (NECAHR) shall not be immediately eligible for appointment to ACART.
A person may not be a member of ACART and ECART simultaneously.
Unless a person sooner vacates their office, every appointed member of ACART shall continue in office until their successor comes into office. Any member of ACART may at any time resign as a member by advising the Minister of Health in writing.
The Minister may, by written notice, terminate the appointment of a member or chairperson of the advisory committee.
The Minister may from time to time alter or reconstitute ACART, or discharge any member of ACART, or appoint new members to ACART for the purpose of decreasing or increasing the membership or filling any vacancies.
The Minister may appoint any person to be a chairperson of ACART and must, before doing so, consult any persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, are able to provide advice on prospective appointees who have the required expertise and the ability to reflect relevant perspectives and concerns, including, without limitation, the perspectives and concerns of women.
ACART may appoint one of its members to be Deputy Chairperson through a majority vote by the Committee.
In order to ensure that Māori have a strong role in the Committee’s governance, ACART believes that at least one of either the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson roles should at all times be filled by a Māori member with expertise in Māori customary practice and values.
Where the Chairperson role is not filled by a Māori member with expertise in Māori customary practice and values, ACART will appoint a Māori member with expertise in Māori customary practice and values to the Deputy Chairperson role.
If in these circumstances no appropriate member is available to be appointed to the Deputy Chairperson role (eg, due to vacancy or members not wishing to be appointed at that time), then ACART may appoint any other member to the Deputy Chairperson role, until such a time that ACART is able to appoint a Māori member with expertise in Māori customary practice and values to the role.
Where the Chairperson role is filled by a member with expertise in Māori customary practice and values, ACART may appoint any of its members to be Deputy Chairperson through a majority vote by the Committee.
In the event that ACART has two or more members with expertise in Māori customary practice and values, and more than one of those members wants to fulfil the Deputy Chairperson role, then the Committee will select the successful candidate by majority vote.
The Chairperson will preside at every meeting of ACART at which he or she is present.
This section sets out the Minister of Health’s expectations regarding the duties and responsibilities of a person appointed as a member of ACART. This is intended to aid members of ACART by providing them with a common set of expectations for appropriate conduct and behaviour and serves to protect ACART and its members.
As an independent statutory body, ACART has an obligation to conduct its activities in an open and ethical manner. ACART has a duty to operate in an effective manner within the parameters of its functions as set out in its Terms of Reference and in accordance with the HART Act.
ACART members should have a commitment to work for the greater good of the Committee.
There is an expectation that members will make every effort to attend all ACART meetings and devote sufficient time to become familiar with the affairs of ACART and the wider environment within which it operates.
Members have a duty to act responsibly with regard to the effective and efficient administration of ACART and the use of ACART funds.
ACART members must perform their functions in good faith, honestly and impartially and avoid situations that might compromise their integrity or otherwise lead to conflicts of interest. Proper observation of these principles will protect ACART and its members and will ensure that it retains public confidence.
Members attend meetings and undertake committee activities as independent persons responsible to ACART as a whole. Members are not appointed as representatives of professional organisations and or particular community bodies. ACART should not, therefore, assume that a particular group’s interests have been taken into account because a member is associated with a particular group.
Members should declare, and the committee regularly review their actual and potential conflicts of interest. ACART must exhibit transparency in avoiding or managing any real or perceived conflict of interest.
The public has a right to be informed about the issues being considered by ACART. The chairperson of ACART must ensure that the agenda and minutes are published on the internet as soon as possible after they are confirmed by the members of the committee. ACART should have procedures in place regarding the release of information and processing requests for information.
Individual members must observe the following duties in relation to ACART information.
These provisions ensure that ACART as a whole maintains control over the appropriate release of information concerning issues before it.
Meetings shall be held at such times and places as ACART or the Chairperson of ACART decides.
A quorum is the minimum number constituting a majority.
Every question before any meeting shall generally be determined by consensus decision-making. Where a consensus cannot be reached a simple majority vote will apply. In such circumstances, the Chairperson shall have the casting vote.
Subject to the provisions set out above, ACART may regulate its own procedures.
ACART must, as soon as practicable after each 12-month period ending on 30 June, give the Minister of Health a report:
Members of ACART are entitled to be paid fees for attendance at meetings. The level of attendance fees are set in accordance with the State Services Commission’s framework for fees for statutory bodies.
The Chairperson will receive $570 per day (plus half a day’s preparation fee) and an allowance of two extra days per month to cover additional work undertaken by the Chairperson. The attendance fee for the Deputy Chairperson is set at $450 per day (plus half a day’s preparation fee). The attendance fee for members is set at $360 per day (plus half a day’s preparation fee). The Ministry of Health pays actual and reasonable travel and accommodation expenses of ACART members.
ACART will agree a work programme with the Minister of Health. ACART will be serviced by permanent staff, sufficient to meet the Committee’s statutory functions, who will be based in the Ministry of Health.