Page URL: https://www.progress.org.uk/trusteesreport2011
This document is part of the Progress Educational Trust (PET)'s reports and accounts for the year ended 31 March 2011, as submitted to the Charity Commission.
The charity's 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007 reports and accounts are also available on this website.

Trustees' Report for the year ended 31 March 2011

The Trustees present their report for the year ended 31 March 2011.
The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out in note 1 to the accounts and comply with the charity's governing document, the Charities Act 1993 and the Statement of Recommended Practice Accounting and Reporting by Charities, issued in March 2005.

Charity information
Trustees: Professor Marcus Pembrey (Chair)
Tony Hickinbotham
John Parsons
Advisory Committee: Malcolm Hodgson (Chair until March 2011)
James Lawford-Davies (Chair from March 2011)
Professor Colin Blakemore
Pat Bristow
Dr Jess Buxton
Fiona Fox
Simon Freeman
Professor John Galloway
Dr Evan Harris
Harry Hart
Dr Tessa Homfray
Dr Kirsty Horsey
Ben Jones
Dr Fred Kavalier
Alastair Kent
Stuart Lavery
Fiona Miller
Dr Stephen Minger
Laura Riley
Dr Anna Smajdor
Dr Alan Thornhill
Patron: Baroness Mary Warnock
Charity number: 1011897
Charity offices: 140 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8AX, UK
Auditors: Gerald Edelman, 25 Harley Street, London W1G 9BR, UK
Bankers: Royal Bank of Scotland, 28 Cavendish Square, London W1M 0DB, UK
Charities Aid Foundation Bank, 25 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4QJ, UK

Structure, governance and management
The charity was established by a charitable trust deed on 17 May 1992. The deed provides that the number of Trustees shall not be less than three nor more than five and that the Trustees can appoint additional Trustees by invitation.
The Trustees who served during the year were:
Professor Marcus Pembrey (Chair)
Tony Hickinbotham
John Parsons
All Trustees give freely of their time and no remuneration or benefits are paid to them.
All Trustees are kept up to date with ongoing developments in charity law and practice with appropriate training courses being considered if appropriate. It is the policy of the Trustees to provide new Trustees with all relevant information appertaining to the charity and its affairs upon induction in order that they can obtain a sufficient level of knowledge to enable them to perform their roles effectively.
The Trustees met five times during the year. The decisions of the Trustees are recorded by written minute and the daily management of the Trust is the responsibility of Sarah Norcross and her team. The Trustees also refer to the Advisory Committee set up to assist them on matters relating to the activities of the charity.
The Trustees have assessed the major risks to which the charity is exposed, and are satisfied that systems are in place to mitigate exposure to those risks.

Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee has a depth of skills and experience in genetics, embryology, assisted reproduction, stem cell research, clinical practice, media, education, information technology, business, commercial practices, law, medical ethics and charity management.
The Committee met three times during the year. At their meetings the Advisers discuss informally with each other, with Staff and with Trustees and participate in a more formal session when specific questions are tabled and addressed. In addition, individual Advisers are consulted by the Director on an ad hoc basis.
Malcolm Hodgson, Chair of the Advisory Committee, sadly died of cancer in February 2011. Malcolm had been a member of the advisory committee and volunteering for the charity as a business manager since 2004. He was an indispensable contributor to PET's work and is much missed. James Lawford-Davies was appointed as chair of the Advisory Committee following Malcolm's death.

Patron
In July 2010, Baroness Mary Warnock accepted an invitation to become the charity's Patron. In October 2010, The Times newspaper named Baroness Warnock one of the UK's 'Top Five Science Ethicists'.
Testament to the influence that Baroness Warnock has had on public policy in the charity's field is the fact that a quarter of a century after she chaired the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology, the UK is still abiding by the recommendations made in the committee's 1984 report (.pdf 769KB), often referred to simply as the Warnock Report.

Objectives and activities
The charity's object is to advance the education of the public in all matters involving human fertility and the human embryo and in particular to undertake research increasing knowledge concerning the causes and prevention of congenital disease; and increasing knowledge about the causes of miscarriage.
In carrying out this review, the Trustees have referred to the Charity Commission's general guidance on public benefit, and in particular its supplementary public benefit guidance on the advancement of education. The Trustees consider how planned activities will contribute to the objects of the charity.
The Trustees review the aims, objectives and activities of the charity each year. There is a rolling evaluation of its activities at both Trustees' and Advisory Committee meetings.

Main Objectives and Strategies and Public Benefits
The fundamental objective of is to create an environment in which ethically sound research and practice in genetics, assisted conception, embryo/stem cell research and related areas will thrive. The ultimate beneficiaries are families threatened by genetic disease or infertility, including parent aspiring to give birth to healthy children. One in six couples in the UK is affected by infertility and 2-3% of births result in babies with either congenital or genetically determined abnormalities.
The wellbeing of such patients is enhanced not only by direct medical help, but also by a fuller understanding of their condition. Assisted conception and genetics are fast-moving areas of science which are tightly regulated and the public struggle to keep up with the science, policies and ethics involved. PET seeks to educate not only those with a personal interest in these field but also those with a professional interest.
PET's strategy to achieve these objectives in 2010-2011 has been to provide and encourage authoritative and balanced information, comment and debate on topical and contentious issues arising in its fields. PET has operated in the civic space between government/regulators, scientists, and practitioners, and those who are directly or potentially affected by developments in genetics, assisted conception and embryo/stem cell research. PET has sought to bring timely influence to bear on policymakers as new advances and issues have arisen.
PET has continued to do this through its weekly email news digest, commentary service and website BioNews, through public debates and an annual conference, and through working with the media and other interested parties. BioNews is free of subscription charges, and has a wide readership which is estimated to be in the region of 13,000.
PET strives to make contact with a wide range of age and interest groups and to educate the public about the complex scientific, ethical and social issues which arise from genetics, assisted conception and embryo/stem cell research. PET's public events are mostly free of charge, and are supported by donations or grant funding. Where a charge is made, for example at PET's annual conference, concessions are offered for students, pensioners and those on benefits. All PET events are widely advertised, so as to attract a large and diverse audience.
More than 600 people attended PET events held during this year. Reports of the events, and comment pieces by some of the event speakers, were published in BioNews in order that those who could not attend could nonetheless read about each event online. This widens the reach of PET events, and together with the media coverage that these events attract, helps to bring informed debate to an even wider audience.
The benefits of PET's activities were carefully balanced against any potential harm or detriment. For example, some of PET's activities this year involved debate about mental health and racial classification, and so care was taken to ensure that these issues were handled with due sensitivity.
Collaborations with reputable and established organisations are being maintained and expanded, in order to enable PET to reach a larger audience. Communication is central to PET's work, and PET will continue to engage with its audience via the spoken word, print publications and websites.

Development activities and achievements
BioNews
BioNews is the charity's free online news service and comment resource.
Work on search engine optimisation has been undertaken, as consequence of which the website's prominence on Google and elsewhere continues to be high. BioNews is recognised as a news source on Google News, helping boost traffic and extending the reach of BioNews to people with no prior knowledge of BioNews or to PET.
Between 1 May 2010 and 31 March 2011, there were 248,138 visits to the BioNews website, which is an average of over 700 visitors per day. An average of 1.6 pages were visited per website visit, and visitors spent an average of 1 minute 24 seconds on the site.
The geographic reach of BioNews is wide.
UK: 86,048 visits
USA: 77,306 visits
Canada: 16,313 visits
Australia: 12,615 visits
BioNews has attracted a growing number of subscribers. Since 1 November 2010, the number of subscriptions to BioNews has risen by 177.
BioNews is also attracting a wide variety of writers for its opinion pieces, from clinical specialists and members of the House of Lords to a donor-conceived individual. There have been a number of opinion pieces from contributors outside the UK, for example from Canada, Denmark and the USA. Whereas BioNews used to publish only one comment piece per edition, it now regularly publishes at least two. The number of Volunteer Writers at BioNews has also continued to grow.
PET and BioNews now have a presence on the social networking platforms Facebook and Twitter. Hyperlinks to BioNews articles have been disseminated via these platforms, and work has commenced to increase the number of followers that PET and BioNews have on each of these platforms.
One of the ways that PET seeks to increase the reach of BioNews while securing much-needed revenue is by syndicating BioNews articles for print publication. For example, 2010 saw a BioNews article republished (and translated into French) in the book Donner et Après: La Procréation par Don de Spermatozoïdes Avec ou Sans Anonymat.
BioNews survey
PET conducted an online survey of BioNews readers over the summer of 2010. A record number of respondents participated in this survey - 611 in comparison to 255 in the previous BioNews survey in 2008. This gave PET increased confidence in identifying trends and establishing reader preferences.
Respondents to the 2010 BioNews survey were mostly health professionals, web literate and loyal to BioNews, with a lower interest in policy and regulatory matters than in science and ethics. They mostly read BioNews to stay up-to-date, and generally found the newsletter about right in content and length. Opinion pieces were considered more valuable than reviews, and the respondents would like more coverage on stories from outside the UK.
According to some respondents, BioNews is particularly valuable as its content is not found elsewhere. BioNews also benefits from a small unique readership (which is to say, there are some BioNews readers who don't look elsewhere for news).
BioNews Internships
The BioNews internship scheme, which trains postgraduate students in the art of science writing, has continued to flourish. Two PhD students from University College London and one from King's College London participate each term, and gain practical news writing experience under the expert supervision of BioNews editors. All BioNews interns to date have completed the course, and have provided positive feedback on it.
In June 2010, Sarah Norcross spoke at a meeting at King's College London, where she discussed the BioNews internship scheme with students and encouraged them to apply for internships.
Annual Conference
Passport to Parenthood: The Evidence and Ethics Behind Cross-Border Reproductive Care
PET's annual conference was held on 24 November 2010 at University College London's Institute of Child Health.
What was it about? Cross-border reproductive care - popularly referred to as 'fertility tourism' - is the booming phenomenon of individuals and couples travelling overseas for fertility treatment.
One motivation for this is the UK's acute shortage of donor sperm and eggs, resulting in long waiting lists for treatment at home. Another factor is the ability to circumvent UK fertility regulation in favour of more permissive regimes, which allow the use of sperm and eggs from anonymous donors (prohibited in the UK since 2005) or the transfer of multiple embryos to fertility patients (deprecated in the UK). There may also be more mundane reasons for receiving fertility treatment abroad, such as better quality of service, or the simple possibility of combining treatment with a holiday.
Researchers investigating the scale and causes of the phenomenon presented their findings, while experts from various disciplines offered contrasting perspectives on the ethical, practical and legal ramifications. In PET tradition, following introductory presentations the bulk of each session's running time was devoted to soliciting questions and comments from the audience.
Ultimately, the conference asked whether cross-border reproductive care is best understood as a problem, or as a solution to a problem.
Speakers: Professor Lorraine Culley
Natalie Gamble
Zeynep Gürtin-Broadbent
Stuart Lavery
James Lawford-Davies
Professor Naomi Pfeffer
Professor Janet Radcliffe Richards
Dr Françoise Shenfield
Juliet Tizzard
Chairs: Dr Evan Harris
Dr Allan Pacey
Lord Naren Patel
Professor Sally Sheldon
Audience: There were 120 attendees. These included academics, ethicists, fertility doctors, nurses and counsellors, journalists, patients, policymakers, practitioners, regulators and students. Other charities, including the National Gamete Donation Trust and the Donor Conception Network, sent representatives to the conference.
Impact PET received 52 evaluation forms from conference attendees. More than 90% of respondents said that they were better informed as a result of having attended the conference. Almost 30% of attendees had not attended a PET event before. To quote one attendee: 'I thought the range and variety of what was presented and what came up in discussion was excellent. Good to hear voices from the coalface from the clinics and lawyers working with patients who go overseas, also from the regulators as well as some broader sociological/ethical perspectives.'
The British Medical Journal published an article about the event entitled 'UK women seek infertility treatment abroad because of shortage of donor gametes at home, survey finds', while New Scientist published an article about the event entitled 'Surrogate mothers need better protection', and She magazine published a feature about the event in its February 2011 edition.
The conference benefited from financial support including an unrestricted educational grant from Merck Serono. The Trustees are very grateful for all the support received.
Parliamentary and Policy Work
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) began work on updating its Clinical Guideline Fertility: Assessment and Treatment for People with Fertility Problems. PET director Sarah Norcross attended a Scoping Workshop for the update of the guideline, and in June 2010 PET submitted a response to NICE's consultation on the draft scope for updating the guideline.
PET also submitted a response to Nuffield Council on Bioethics' Consultation on Human Bodies in Medicine and Research in July 2010. This was one of the most comprehensive responses the charity had ever submitted to a consultation. With an increasing demand for bodily material such as organs, blood and gametes for use in medical treatment and research in the UK, the consultation asked what policies and principles should govern donation. PET's consultation response focused on gametes, stem cells and umbilical cord blood banking.
Sarah Norcross accepted invitations to join the Education, Engagement and Training Working Group of the UK Government's Human Genomics Strategy Group, and the Advisory Group for the project 'Assessing Child Welfare under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act: The New Law' at the University of Kent's Centre for Parenting Culture Studies. She also continued to sit on the National Genetics Education and Development Centre's Steering Group, the National Infertility Awareness Campaign's Committee, the National Gamete Donation Trust's Advisory Council, the Association of Fertility Patient Organisations, and Transnational Reproduction's Research Advisory Group.
PET was involved in the debate surrounding the proposed abolition of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), both in the House of Lords and the media. PET held a public event about these developments, entitled 'The End of the HFEA: Are We Throwing the Baby Out with the Bathwater?', at London's Royal Society in January 2010. BioNews published several news articles about relevant debates in Parliament, and several comment articles on the relevant issues. The latter were solicited from a wide-range of commentators, including Baroness Ruth Deech (a former chair of the HFEA) to clinicians and patient advocates.
In February 2011, PET brokered a meeting between a researcher from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology - who was preparing a report for Parliamentarians on the current status of stem cell research, stem cell therapy, and regulation of these fields - and various scientific and legal experts.
PET attended the inaugural meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infertility in the Houses of Parliament.
British Society for Human Genetics
As in previous years, the charity's expertise was employed by the British Society for Human Genetics (BSHG) to assist with press office activities. Again, PET ran the press office at the BSHG's annual conference, held at the University of Warwick in September 2010.
As a result of PET's work, Dr Edison Liu's study of genetic variations associated with increased risk of oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer was covered by BBC News and BioNews. Meanwhile. the British Medical Journal and the Nursing Times both reported on the updated draft guidance on consent and confidentiality in genetic testing from the BSHG and the Joint Committee on Medical Genetics.
PET's role at the BSHG conference also included organising a workshop entitled 'Scientists Engaging with the Media' (see below). Furthermore, in his closing statement at a conference debate about encouraging families with inherited diseases to enter into research studies, Professor Sir John Burn mentioned the important role played by BioNews.
Scientists Engaging with the Media
This event took place on 6 September 2010 at the University Of Warwick.
What was it about? It is becoming increasingly important for scientists to learn how to engage with the media so as disseminate their research to a wider audience. This workshop offered conference delegates practical tips to help them secure accurate media coverage of their work. This was followed by role play exercises, which involved scientists putting themselves in the journalist's shoes and trying to develop an angle for their story and an accompanying headline.
Speakers: Dr Jess Buxton
Mark Henderson
Dr Vivienne Raper
Tom Sheldon
Impact: Over 70 people attended this breakout session. PET received positive unsolicited feedback from attendees for example, 'very enjoyable and good to look at situations through a different lens'.
Spectrum of Opinion
In July 2010, the findings from the 'Spectrum of Opinion' project launched in October 2009 were translated into a school resource pack. This pack contained 10 articles, each of which could be used as the standalone basis for a lesson or homework exercise. Each article was accompanied by three 'Questions to consider' and by lists of key words, phrases and names, and appended to the 10 articles was a glossary of terms.
Upon its launch, the pack was piloted at Robert Napier School in Gillingham. Sarah Norcross and Sandy Starr visited the school to find out what A-level students thought of this new resource, and noted that they were particularly complimentary about the pack's glossary of terms, saying that this had helped them to define terms such as 'eugenics' and 'reductionism'.
In addition to this student reaction, PET has also received feedback from teachers across a range of subjects for which the pack is designed. Not only is the pack compatible with several subject curriculums, but teachers also say that they intend to use it for extracurricular activities - for example, at a 'taster day' for GCSE students to gain an insight into A level work. Following the pilot phase of the 'Spectrum of Opinion' project, PET went on to make the pack freely available for any person or organisation to read and use.
Also in July 2010, Sandy Starr gave a presentation on the 'Spectrum of Opinion' project and its objectives and outcomes at a conference entitled 'Autism, Ethics and Society' organised by University College London and the Institute of Education. Several of the authors of articles in the pack were also present, and were able to add their views about their involvement. Following his participation in this conference, Sandy accepted an invitation to join the Autism Ethics Group based at King's College London.
In August 2010, Sandy participated in a film for the National Building Specification's Learning Channels resource, a suite of video-based learning services for individuals and organisations working in the architecture, design and construction industries. Sandy was asked to draw upon the 'Spectrum of Opinion' project for a piece on how best to meet the needs of people with autism when designing buildings.
Deafinitely Theatre
In 2010, PET worked with playwright Donna Williams on the development of her play Many Shades of Disappointment, advising her on the scientific, regulatory and cultural issues surrounding selective reproduction.
The play is set in a hypothetical future where a deaf woman has caused a public furore, exploiting the wording of a new law to attempt to ensure - via reproductive and genetic technology - that her child will be deaf. The twist in the tale is that the relevant technology is not perfect, and the resulting daughter is in fact hearing. How do mother and daughter relate to one another, once the latter grows up and discovers the circumstances surrounding her conception and birth?
PET also provided explanatory programme notes for the play's premiere as part of 4Play, a showcase of four plays produced at the Drill Hall theatre in London by the deaf-led theatre company Deafinitely Theatre. At one of the 4Play performances in February 2011, Sandy Starr was a member of the panel at a post-show question- and-answer session, while a PET Volunteer - Anoushka Shepherd - attended the performance and wrote about it in BioNews.
Jeans for Genes
PET undertook consultancy work for the charity Jeans for Genes, advising it on genetics for its schools' packs and other activities.
PET Website
The redeveloped PET website went fully live in April 2010, with new content and features added throughout the year. A key feature that was introduced ahead of PET annual conference in November 2010 was online payments. Not only could conference attendees pay their attendance fees online for the first time in PET's history, but PET supporters could also buy books, make donations to PET and join the Friends of PET membership scheme entirely online.
PET had not benefited from an update to its website since 2007, meaning that even PET's most ardent supporters were not engaging with the charity online. A number of strategies were employed to bring visitors to the redeveloped website, including 'This week at PET', a feature which was launched in May 2010. This update is posted on the homepage each week, and highlights a selection of PET's activities. PET believes that this feature demonstrates transparency and accountability, and makes information about PET's activities easily accessible. It also provides users with an incentive to visit the website regularly, and assists with search engine optimisation of the website.
The other strategy used by PET to drive traffic to its website involves Google Adwords. In December 2010, PET was awarded a Google Grant. This enables PET to place Google Adwords (up to a daily value of US$329) on Google's Result Page, completely free of charge. Between December 2010 and March 2011, Google Adwords sent 330 visitors to PET website, the majority of whom were first time visitors.
Although the terms of the grant mean that PET can only direct traffic to its organisational website, the main campaign was to market PET's BioNews publication. Visitors clicking on the relevant Google Adwords were therefore sent directly to the page on PET website that concerns BioNews, with the aim of encouraging visitors to then click through to the BioNews website proper. As well as driving traffic to PET and BioNews websites, the main benefit of the Google Grant was that it allowed PET to reach new people that it would not otherwise have reached.
In total, there were 12,011 visits to PET website between 1 May 2010 and 31 March 2011. The homepage of the website received the most visits, after which pages about PET events were the most popular. Encouragingly, more than 70% of visitors were new, and organic searches on Google were the source of more than a third of the website's visitors. This early data indicates that PET is reaching a broader audience, beyond those who already know about PET or BioNews.
Marketing
A suite of marketing materials was written, designed and printed in time for the BSHG annual conference in September 2010. The aim of these materials was to promote PET, and to encourage people to become a Friend of PET. As well as business cards for the Trustees and Staff, an A4 gatefold full-colour leaflet and a banner stand were also produced, with the theme 'Join the Debate'. These promotional materials featured contentious newspaper headlines about PET's key areas of interest. The text for these materials was written in- house, while design and production were provided pro bono by the advertising agency TMP Worldwide.
Friends of PET Newsletter
The Friends of PET newsletter Progress Report continued to be published quarterly and distributed to PET's supporters (Friends). Progress Report is a means of keeping the Friends up to date with the charity's affairs.
Debates
PET organised two evening debates that were free-to-attend and open to the general public. A total of 500 people attended these two debates.
Paying Egg Donors: A Child At Any Price?
This debate took place on 20 October 2010 at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. The debate was organised by PET in partnership with the Royal Society of Medicine, supported by the British Fertility Society and the National Gamete Donation Trust. The audience included egg donors, donor-conceived people, and parents of children born through donor conception.
What was it about? Media headlines reignited the debate over whether payment might be an acceptable way to address the current shortage of egg donors. Some newspapers speculated that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) plans to allow women to be paid thousands of pounds to donate their eggs. Could such a scenario lead to British students 'going to university on an egg'? Some people fear that direct payment would commodify not only eggs, but also egg donors and donor-conceived children. This debate was held in the run up to the HFEA's public consultation on this topic.
This evening debate saw the issue of paying egg donors debated by a panel of experts with contrasting perspectives, exploring the medical, ethical and legal dimensions of various forms of compensation and remuneration.
Speakers: Professor Brenda Almond
Dr Sue Avery
Professor Raanan Gillon
Professor Brian Lieberman
Laura Witjens
Chair: Anthony Rutherford
Impact: It is estimated that 200 people attended this event. The audience were asked on their evaluation forms whether their views had changed as a result of attending this event, and 15% of respondents stated that they had changed their minds. This is striking, given that strong and intractable views tend to be held on this topic.
Media Coverage The event was covered in two BBC News articles entitled 'Why sperm donors should be paid more' (written by event speaker Laura Witjens) and 'Sperm donors deserve greater recognition', and was also discussed in a 'Have your say' feature on the BBC News website. Laura Witjens was interviewed about the event in interviews on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 and on BBC Radio 5 Live, while Sarah Norcross was interviewed about the event on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Oxford.
Other coverage included a Guardian newspaper article entitled 'Egg donation for fertility treatment should be better paid', an Independent newspaper article entitled 'Call for sperm donor payment', and a Times newspaper article (written by the event speakers Dr Sue Avery and Professor Brian Lieberman) entitled 'Should women be paid to donate eggs?'. Additionally, a 'Fight Club' live online debate between Dr Sue Avery and Professor Brian Lieberman was hosted by the Times website.
The event was also reported on in the British Medical Journal and Abortion Review.
The End of the HFEA: Are We Throwing the Baby Out with the Bathwater?
This debate took place on 17 January 2011 at the Royal Society in London. It was organised by PET in partnership with the Anne McLaren Memorial Fund, and was supported by the Medical Research Council.
What was it about? 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), but could also spell the organisation's end, as the Public Bodies Bill currently making its way through Parliament proposes to wind up the HFEA and transfer its powers elsewhere. Who cares about the possible end of the HFEA and why? Fertility patients who rely upon the HFEA website for up-to-date information about clinical success and safety to choose a clinic; patients with families affected by genetic disease, who would like to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis or human leukocyte antigen tissue typing, techniques which may require licensing by the HFEA on a case-by-case basis; children born as a result of donor conception who want to access the HFEA's register of information; practitioners, some of whom see IVF as a routine procedure and think it is overregulated, while others with a 'better the devil you know' mindset don't want change; researchers, some of whom believe that obtaining approval for embryo research is disproportionately onerous; anyone with an interest in the moral status of the embryo.
This public event heard experts with contrasting perspectives debate whether and how fertility treatment and embryo research could be and should be regulated in future.
Speakers: Rt Revd Lord Richard Harries
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge
Professor Sheila McLean
Professor Alison Murdoch
Chair: Professor Emily Jackson
Impact: It is estimated that 300 people attended this event, and PET received 127 feedback forms from attendees. Almost 50% of those who submitted feedback indicated that they had not attended a PET event before. More than 90% of respondents stated that they were better informed as a result of attending the debate. Almost 70% of people stated that the event had changed their opinion.
As a result of the debate, several clinicians and professional bodies wrote to the Department of Health and to health minister Frederick Howe, with a clear message in support of an independent review of the statutory functions of the HFEA. The minister did not commit to this, but did say that 'there will be extensive consultation later in the summer on where functions are best transferred and, subsequently, on the orders to effect the transfers'.
Media Coverage The event was covered by the British Medical Journal in a piece entitled 'Independent review is needed to decide HFEA's fate', by the journal Nature in a piece entitled 'UK government accused of Henry VIII style move over fertility regulator changes', by the Association of Medical Research Charities in a piece entitled 'What is going to happen to the HFEA?', and by Benhealth magazine's Health Blog.
The Fertility Show
PET exhibited at the Fertility Show in November 2010. Approximately 3,500 visitors attended this event, most of whom were members of the public who were struggling to conceive. The event provided a valuable opportunity for PET to speak to UK fertility patients face-to-face. Visitors to PET's exhibition stand were invited to subscribe to BioNews and were given a complimentary copy of PET's Guide to Genetics.
There were around 100 other exhibitors from the UK and abroad at the Fertility Show, and PET Staff dedicated some of their time to visiting these other stands and networking.
PET involvement in and attendance at other conferences
PET Staff attended many other conferences and events in 2010-2011. This was valuable for the following reasons:
networking;
raising the profile of PET and BioNews and promoting PET events and initiatives;
evaluating the suitability of speakers and experts for future PET events;
commissioning commentaries for BioNews;
horizon scanning and keeping abreast of developments.
Some of the relevant events are listed below.
In June 2010, PET Director Sarah Norcross attended the annual lecture of Sense About Science given by Dr Fiona Godlee, Editor of the British Medical Journal.
In August 2010, PET Communications Officer Sandy Starr attended a speech at the Royal Institution given by David Willetts, the UK Government's Minister for Universities and Science
In August 2010, Sandy Starr and PETVolunteers Kerry Dyus attended the Summer Reception of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research at the Houses of Parliament.
In June 2010, Sarah Norcross spoke at the Daisy Network Premature Menopause Support Group's 15th annual conference.
In June 2010, Sarah Norcross, Sandy Starr and Kerry Dyus attended and manned an exhibition stand at 'Giving Patients a Voice', the annual conference of Genetic Alliance UK.
In July 2010, Sandy Starr spoke to students at Havering College of Further and Higher Education, to help them prepare for a debate about embryo screening at the Debating Matters international sixth-form debating competition. Then in March 2011, Sandy was a judge at the East Regional Final of the Debating Matters competition.
In October 2010, Sarah Norcross spoke at the Insights Conference organised by Merck Serono in collaboration with leading fertility nurses. At the conference, Sarah spoke at (and won) a debate in which she opposed the motion 'This House Believes that the Days of Purely Altruistic Egg Donation Are Over'. The motion was proposed by the clinician Laurence Shaw.
In October 2010, Sandy Starr participated in the 6th annual Battle of Ideas festival organised by the Institute of Ideas as both a speaker and a chair. He organised and chaired a debate entitled 'End of the Peer Revue: Has the Peer Review Process Lost Credibility?', and he was also a panel speaker at a debate entitled 'Choosing Tomorrow's Children'. He also attended a satellite event entitled 'Public Health: Should Evidence Always Dictate Policy?' prior to the festival proper.
In October 2010, Sarah Norcross and Sandy Starr attended a conference entitled 'What Next for Stem Cell Biology?' at the Royal Society in London, while PET Science Editor Dr Vivienne Raper attended a related evening event at the Royal Society entitled 'Cloning, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine'.
In November 2010, Sarah Norcross attended two events at the Houses of Parliament - a debate entitled 'How Far Should We Go to Meet the Demand for Organs, Eggs, Sperm and Other Bodily Material?', organised by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and a meeting to mark the reconvening of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infertility following the UK General Election. Sarah went on to attend the inaugural meeting of the latter in Parliament in February 2011.
In November 2010, Sarah Norcross and Sandy Starr attended 'Epigenetics: Where Life Meets the Genome', the annual conference of the Galton Institute
In December 2010, Sarah Norcross attended the launch of the Teachers TV programmes 'Genetics and Medicine' at the Wellcome Trust.
Sarah Norcross was awarded a Fellowship under the Genomics Policy and Research Forum's 'Bright Ideas' programme to participate in an event entitled 'The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008: A Multidisciplinary Workshop', that took place in Edinburgh in January 2011. At this event, Sarah gave a presentation about PET debate 'The End of the HFEA: Are We Throwing the Baby Out with the Bathwater?' wich had taken place earlier that week, and she also chaired a discussion of preimplantation diagnosis. The event was reviewed by Sarah for BioNews, and a number of attendees at the event were subsequently commissioned to write opinion pieces for BioNews.
In January 2011, Dr Vivienne Raper spoke at the Science Online conference in North Carolina, leading discussions on 'Blogs, Bloggers and Boundaries?' and 'How to Explain Science in Blog Posts'.
In January 2011, Sarah Norcross and PET volunteer Daniel Malynn attended a debate in the House of Lords about the proposed abolition of the HFEA.
In February 2011, Sarah Norcross spoke at the annual conference of the Royal College of Nursing's Midwifery and Fertility Nursing Forum, where she also manned a PET exhibition stand.
Throughout the year Sarah Norcross and Sandy Starr attended, and asked questions from the audience at, several open meetings of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the Human Genetics Commission (HGC). These meetings saw the HFEA and the HGC discuss and determine policy and practice on a wide range of issues.
Throughout the year Sarah Norcross attended several meetings of the London Regenerative Medicine Network.
Media coverage
In April 2010, PET's Founding Chair of Trustees Professor Marcus Pembrey was interviewed on the BBC Sussex programme Afternoon with Allison Ferns.
In August 2010, PET Director Sarah Norcross wrote an article entitled 'Fertility tourism: the last resort?' published in the Journal of Fertility Counselling.
In August 2010, Sarah Norcross was a guest on Vanessa Feltz's BBC London radio show, and discussed gamete donation and fertility tourism with the show's host Lowri Turner.
In August 2010, Professor Marcus Pembrey was interviewed on a programme entitled When Cousins Marry: The Tragic Consequences, part of Channel 4's Dispatches series.
In September 2010, BioNews was cited in a lead comment piece in the Guardian newspaper entitled 'Shortage? What shortage? How the sperm donor debate missed its mark'. Then in December 2010, Sarah Norcross was quoted in a Guardian lead comment piece entitled 'Infertile? Then join the ranks of the undeserving ill'.
In December 2010, Professor Marcus Pembrey was interviewed on a programme entitled Epigenetics, part of part of BBC Radio 4's Frontiers series.
In October 2010, an article by PET Communications Officer Sandy Starr entitled 'Has the peer review process lost credibility?' was published by the Independent newspaper, and another article by Sandy entitled 'Just the facts please' was published by Times Higher Education.
In January 2011, an article by Dr Vivienne Raper entitled 'Science blogging and tenure' was published by the journal Science.

Operational Achievements
Personnel
Sarah Norcross (Director), Sandy Starr (Communications Officer) and Dr Vivienne Raper (Science Editor) continued to work at PET.
Ailsa Stevens stepped down as PET/BioNews Genetics Editor in April 2010, and went on to become a BioNews Contributing Editor. Ailsa was succeeded in her Genetics Editor role by Dr Gabrielle Samuel, who was in turn succeeded in the role by Chris Chatterton in July 2010.
Dr Kirsty Horsey stepped down as PET/BioNews Reproduction Editor in September 2010, and went on to join PET's Advisory Committee and to become a BioNews Contributing Editor. In her place, Antony Blackburn Starza was appointed Legal Editor.
Volunteers
PET has benefitted from a steady stream of highly motivated and professional Volunteers. During 2010 and 2011, these volunteers have undertaken a broad range of activities which range from maintaining and organising the vast BioNews archive to assisting at PET events. Volunteers have also assisted with the accounts and budget, as well as the marketing strategy.
PET is an equal opportunity organisation, and is committed to a working environment that is free from any form of discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability.
Financial review
The net outgoing resources for the year amounted to £26,617 (2010: £36,033).
Income increased by 27% to £113,334 (2010: £89,305). Grants increased by the sum of £5,497 to a total of £41,375. The grant from the Department of Health ceased in the year as a result of financial constraints arising from the current difficult economic climate. However Wellcome Trust funded the charity with a sum of £36,375 which made up the shortfall. Other incoming resources increased to £50,763 (2010: £42,945) mainly due to an increase in consultancy income.
Expenditure increased by 12% to £139,951 (2010: £122,990) with the main constituent of the increase relating to salaries. At a cost of £93,191 salaries represented 67% of total expenditure. This cost increased by the sum of £16,079 in the year. The other main costs in the year related to website construction (£11,416) and office overheads £17,264.
Due in large part to the receipt of grant funding from the Wellcome Trust, PET's financial situation was satisfactory throughout the year. Net current assets at year end amounted to £17,566. Future financial viability will depend upon the continued support of grant funding bodies, customers for PET's writing and training work, sponsors, advertisers and private donors. Future viability will also depend upon PET's many greatly valued Friends, Volunteers and Advisers, without whose support the charity could not survive.

Future Developments
Incorporation
PET changed its legal status from charitable trust to charitable company, and began to operate as a limited company from 1 April 2011. The charitable trust, having transferred its assets and liabilities to the new charitable company on that date, will, in due course be wound up. PET will continue to carry out the same charitable objectives.
Social networking
PET will continue to reach new audiences through effective use of social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
BioNews
PET will carry out a survey of BioNews readers in 2011, to gain an insight into what they want from BioNews each week and to build a reader profile. PET will also monitor the number of comments on the BioNews website.
Friends of PET scheme
It is hoped that the number of Friends supporting PET will increase, as the marketing strategy is implemented and as it is now possible to become a Friend of PET online.
Events
PET will organise further public debates, and will hold an annual conference entitled 'The Best Possible Start in Life: The Robust and Responsive Embryo'.
Funding
PET will apply for several grants in 2011 and 2012. PET expects to generate revenue from writing, from advisory and consultancy work with other organisations, and from selling advertising space on PET and BioNews websites and in the BioNews email newsletter.

Statement of disclosure to the auditors
Each of the Trustees has confirmed that there is no relevant audit information of which the charity's auditors are unaware, They have further confirmed that they have taken all the steps that they ought to have taken as Trustees in order to make themselves aware of any relevant audit information and to establish that the charity's auditors are aware of that information.

Approval
This report was approved by the Trustees on 19 December 2011 and signed on their behalf by Professor Marcus Pembrey (Trustee).