How you use the NHS Identity on charity materials depends on whether they are for use by your trust’s NHS charity or for an independent charity.
The distinction is that an NHS charity is a charity which either has an NHS Trust or Foundation Trust as its sole corporate trustee or which has individual trustees appointed for that purpose by the Secretary of State for Health. NHS charities are registered with the Charity Commission, but, as they are trusts, they do not have their own legal personality; their NHS body or NHS-appointed trustees are responsible for them.
Former NHS charities which have converted to full independence are set up as either charitable companies limited by guarantee or charitable incorporated organisations, and, as such, are separate legal entities.
Because NHS charities are intrinsically linked to the NHS organisation via their objects they may use the NHS Identity to a greater degree than independent charities.
The previous NHS Identity Guidelines allowed NHS charities to create their own logos. It did not give any guidance on whether these needed to use the NHS fonts and colours. Whilst many NHS charities have no specific branding, lots of others have developed their own distinct, and now well-established, logo and in some cases have also adopted a separate name for the charity.
As a registered charity, we recognise that it is helpful for them to be seen as operating independently from the NHS organisation they support. We don’t think it would be practical or helpful to change the policy on allowing a separate logo or now mandate that they use the NHS fonts and colours.
Therefore, NHS charities can continue to develop a separate logo and they can choose whether to visually align their charity to the NHS by using the NHS fonts and colour palette.
Whatever visual style they choose to develop, all NHS charities should follow best practice around the accessibility of their communications, for example, in terms of the fonts they use and how they use colour.
NHS charities can:
- Use their NHS organisation’s logo on charity branded materials e.g. Annual Report and Accounts, fundraising materials and grant documentation. Ideally, their NHS organisation’s logo should be positioned top right. If this isn’t possible e.g. because that’s where their charity logo goes, it can go bottom right.
- Use the NHS letters or any part of their trust’s organisational name or the name of their hospital(s) or service(s) in the name of the charity, or any supporting strapline.
As with any non-NHS organisation, independent charities:
- Can use an NHS organisation’s logo if they are working in partnership with them and have their permission. They would need the permission of NHS England’s national communications team to use the national NHS lozenge or NHS letters to represent charitable activities or a partnership supporting the wider NHS.
- Can only use an NHS organisation’s logo or the national NHS lozenge on materials relating to their NHS charitable activities/partnership. In some cases, we would expect to see the NHS organisation’s logo or the national NHS lozenge in a supporting position and with an explanatory statement about the relationship such as ‘Fundraising for’, above the logo in black text.
- Cannot use the NHS letters in their charity name or logo and cannot use the NHS lozenge as part of their charity logo, without permission. For enquiries, please visit the contact us page.
- Can only use the NHS Blue as a colour in the design of their charity logo with permission. For enquiries, please visit the contact us page.
- Would need the permission of the Trust board of the NHS organisation to use any part of their organisational name or the name of their hospital(s) or service(s) in the name of the charity, or any supporting strapline.