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A campaign to secure a government review into the care and treatment of critically-ill children on behalf of the Charlie Gard Foundation has been nominated for “Best Public Affairs Campaign” at the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) Global Awards 2022. 

Following the tragic death of Charlie Gard, who suffered from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome in 2017, Whitehouse Communications worked with the Foundation to ensure parents’ views are considered when decisions are being made about the care and treatment of critically-ill children. This is critical in preventing cases from escalating to court, which can be extremely distressing and costly for both parents and clinicians.    

The seminal moment of the campaign was Whitehouse’s work ensuring that the House of Lords voted in favour of the amendment to the Health and Care Bill, led by Baroness Finlay, titled “Dispute resolution in children’s palliative care”. The amendment, also known as Charlie’s Law, defeated a government-whipped vote by 112 votes to 107.  

The government offered a compromise amendment in light of the broad coalition of support from MPs, Peers, medical professionals, and parents. The compromise amendment passed, requiring the government to review the causes of disputes between parents and clinicians. The outcome of this review is expected to be published by October 2023.   

The ICCO Global Awards celebrate outstanding public relations and communications practices from leading agencies, in-house teams, and professionals across the world. 
Entries into this year’s 22 categories came from more than 20 countries and were judged by an international  jury panel  of experts across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. 

Connie Yates and Chris Gard, founders of the Charlie Gard Foundation said: 

“We are delighted to have been nominated for the ICCO Global Awards. Whitehouse were instrumental in helping the Foundation secure a government review into the care and treatment of critically-ill children. We finally have a commitment from government to explore ways to prevent disputes from escalating to court. This outcome is a win not only for the Foundation, but for the many families across the UK that have suffered the devasting loss of a critically-ill child.”

Chris Whitehouse, Chairman and Managing Director of Whitehouse Communications, said:

“We are delighted that our campaign with the Charlie Gard Foundation has been nominated for “Best Public Affairs Campaign” at the ICCO Global Awards 2022. Our work with the Foundation reflects Whitehouse Communications’ commitment to championing the rights of those most vulnerable in our society and ensuring that legislation is shaped by the people which it claims to serve. We look forward to continuing to platform not only the Charlie Gard Foundation, but all the parents who have had tragically similar experiences.”