This is the October 2016 update from the Good Thinking Society
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October 2016

Welcome to our regular update on our projects and progress, designed to give our supporters an insight into some of the things we're working on and how you might be able to help. Please share it with anyone you think might be interested in hearing more about Good Thinking's work. 

Charity Commission to review alternative health charities following our challenge 

Charity Commission to review alternative health charities following our challengeLast month we wrote to the Charity Commission to challenge its refusal to revoke the charitable status of organisations registered as charities which promote homeopathy, warning the Commission that a failure to address our concerns regarding the status of these charities could be unlawful and potentially subject to a Judicial Review. We asked the Charity Commission to revoke the registration of these charities, or to commission a full review of policies regarding organisations promoting alternative medicine. Following our challenge, the Commission committed to a review of the law regarding the advancement of health as a charitable purpose, to be completed by July 1st, 2017.

The Good Thinking Society welcomes the Charity Commission’s response and is very pleased to see a sensible timeframe in place for the review. We firmly believe that a well-executed and comprehensive review that will be complete by July 2017 ought to provide the framework for much more effective regulation of health charities, and should avoid the need for further legal action.

Michael Marshall, Project Director of the Good Thinking Society, said: “It is highly encouraging to see the Charity Commission make a clear commitment to reviewing how it applies charity law in relation to alternative medicine. We have very serious concerns regarding a number of charitable organisations which are promoting treatments that are based on no good evidence at all, and in some cases are comprehensively disproven.

“By law a charity must offer a public benefit – clearly the promotion of an ineffective treatment, especially to very ill and vulnerable people, cannot be of benefit to the public. For these organisations to continue promoting such treatments with all of the financial and reputational benefits that being a registered charity offers fundamentally undermines the credibility of the Charity Commission, and by extension the many highly-respectable and worthy charities regulated by it.

“After the review has concluded in July and the Commission takes the necessary action based on the findings, we hope the public will once again be able to trust that when they give their money to a registered charity, they are funding an organisation that will make a positive contribution to society, and – in the case of health charities – offer a genuine benefit to the public’s health and wellbeing”.
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If you've seen something you'd like us to investigate, or if you'd like our advice on an issue you're facing or an activist idea you're working on, please get in touch.
In other Good Thinking news:
NHS Wirral CCG consultation report shows “overwhelming majority consensus” to cease Homeopathy and Iscador funding
NHS Wirral CCG consultation report shows “overwhelming majority consensus” to cease Homeopathy and Iscador funding
The decision on homeopathy funding by NHS Wirral CCG is due to be announced on October 4th, following an extensive consultation. Ahead of the decision, the CCG has released their report on the the consultation, showing 95% of respondents support an end to homeopathy funding in the Wirral.  
Good Thinking Society's Simon, Marsh and Laura to appear at QED
Good Thinking Society's Simon, Marsh and Laura to appear at QED
Europe's largest critical thinking and skepticism conference, QED, takes place on the 14-16 of October, with the Good Thinking team appearing on a number of panels. Laura will be appearing on a panel discussing our dentistry project, while both Simon and Marsh will be dissecting our campaign work as part of an activism panel. Tickets for QED cost £99 and are available until Monday October 3rd.
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