Posts Tagged ‘Consistancy’

Fact or Fiction – Fake News

As a reader of this blog you probably subscribe to the proverbial view ‘Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear’. Well there is one charity, with cross political party members of the House of Lords as trustees, who seek to call fiction and fake news to account.
Registered charity no. 1158683 Full Fact seeks to improve the integrity of ‘facts’ quoted by others including politicians and the media.

‘It’s easy to trumpet the facts you care about, far harder to support the ones you don’t.’

Fact checks alone are not enough to halt the spread of misinformation but accurate and balanced information will help.  The charity says ‘It is also necessary to push for corrections where necessary, and work with government departments and research institutions to improve the quality and communication of information at source’.

Like Caesar Wife

  • Full Fact seeks to be beyond reproach and does not employ outside external  fundraisers or employ the kinds of fundraising tactics that give rise to recent public concern.
  • They had no recorded fundraising complaints in 2017.
  • The approach is that donors are a crucial part of the extended Full Fact team and deserve to be treated with respect.
  • They solicit donations from the public on the website and other online channels but are also supported by other charitable trusts. Funders giving more than £5,000 should be listed on the website.

Aspirations for 2019

  • Clear well presented facts reflecting both sides of an argument should be checked and treated with integrity.
  • Admission of any vested interest by public figures and the media.
  • Improved political debate followed by rapid and appropriate action.

Trusts fit for the Queen

THE QUEEN’S TRUST 272373 – originally The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal provides grants to charities associated with enabling young people to help others in direct and practical ways.
After spending over £100 million since inception they are now ‘spending out the remaining funds and will close to new applications by 2019.’
THE QUEEN ELIZABETH DIAMOND JUBILEE TRUST 1145640 –  Spending around £12m per annum with £48m in hand as part of ‘a mission to leave a lasting legacy, owned by the whole Commonwealth, in honour of Her Majesty The Queen….. to eliminate avoidable blindness and empower a new generation of young leaders.’ Hence £6m, half of the annual sum is spent with Sightsavers.

THE QUEEN’S COMMONWEALTH TRUST 1172107 was formed in 2016 and registered as a charity in 2017. Based on ‘The Queen’s belief in young people as a force for good. This new charity claims to be focusing on sport, education, health and environment. The Trust’s ambition is to enable young people to build a better future for all.   ‘This new venture may also be a precursor to the inevitable vacuum and fund raising opportunity when the Queen dies.

ROYAL COMMONWEALTH SOCIETY 226748
The Royal Commonwealth Society was founded in 1868 and received its Royal Charter in 1882 as the Colonial Institute aka The Royal Colonial Institute later to become The Royal Empire Society and ultimately The Royal Commonwealth Society. During 150 years of operation it has demonstrated it can adapt to the times.
Income and assets are around the half million pound mark available for youth based activities including annual multi-faith observance on commonwealth day, commonwealth essay competition  and a youth leadership programme.

Concerns

  • Fragmented organisation can be costly, lack focus and create duplication and potential division.
  • Large reserves, cash balances and investments are costly to service and administer. At the same time charitable benefits are delayed or denied.

Birth Defects & Trust

A new birth defect scandal, surrounding German manufactured Primodos, is brewing. Superficially this appears to be a 40 year old cover up of problems potentially caused by Primodos that was a pregnancy testing drug produced by Schering AG, a German company now owned by Bayer.

Until more information comes to light it is more appropriate to look at the current situation  of the UK Thalidomide charities.

Thalidomide

The German drug company Chemie Grünenthal gmbh developed and sold Thalidomide, also known as Contergan and Distaval,  as an  anti-emetic suitable for morning sickness and a “wonder drug” for insomnia amongst other uses.  The UK sales and distribution was via Distillers Ltd now part of Diageo. Diageo have stood by the Thalidomide Trust  and donate over £10m per annum with a similar level of funds donated from the UK Health Department. In fact the trust income over the last 5 years has been a staggering £125m.

Since the first problem cases in 1959 up to 20,000 children and families have been affected by numerous miscarriages or were born with some kind of disability due to damage caused by thalidomide.   The Thalidomide Society (231708) was formed in 1962 by the parents of children affected by the drug thalidomide. The original aim of the Society was to provide mutual support and a social network as well as to seek compensation.  The Thalidomide Trust  (266220)   was established in 1973 for the  care, welfare, treatment and education of   relief of the disabilities of or to meet the needs of children suffering from congenital disability due to thalidomide. It provides relief and assistance to its beneficiaries through financial assistance and support services in support of  467 victims. There is still £137.8m reserves left even after exorbitant legal & finance costs stretching in to the millions of pounds.

In 2004 HM Government passed a Statutory Instrument which allows distributions from the Trust to be paid free of income tax and all distributions to beneficiaries were paid under these terms  and no income tax liability arose.

Survivors in the UK have had a life-long battle for compensation from the German government to allow UK survivors to access a special health fund set up to help Germany’s own 2,700 thalidomide victims.

After 50 years and much pressure The European Parliament voted in November 2016  in favor of a non-binding motion supporting victims who have not been compensated more than 50 years after their mothers took the drug to combat morning sickness, with devastating results. The parliament motion urged  ‘…the German Federal Government to use the opportunity presented by the forthcoming amendment to the Thalidomide Foundation Act to allow thalidomide survivors, who have been accredited as such by court-appointed trust schemes or are beneficiaries of national government schemes, to access the Special Health Fund of the German Thalidomide Foundation for People with Disabilities;

It specifically covers some 2,700 German thalidomide sufferers, 500 in Britain and Italy, 200 in Spain and 100 in Sweden. More importantly it formally seeks to redress inequities and responsibilities previously ignored or badly acknowledged.

Concerns

  • Charity is not consistent, always equitable or the best way to resolve an issue.
  • National interests and different cultures can complicate the public interest in charitable support and understanding.
  • The natural inclination is to trust; doctors, charities, professionals and  governments (but not politicians).
  • Medical discoveries and new treatments may supplant or improve outcomes sometimes by new charitably funded research and such endeavours  should be encouraged not be discouraged.
  • Accepting responsibility and accountability takes far too long. There is often a culture of cover up and obfuscation even when dealing with serious individual harm.
  • Despite Thalidomide and Promodos other medications with side effects are available. Remain vigilant!