Newsletter February 2006

Bowen Forum AGM and Launch

The Bowen Forum held its AGM on 26 November, together with a launch event designed to generate awareness of and interest in the Forum’s work. The aims of the day were to inform members about progress made, and to give them an opportunity to ask questions and to voice their concerns. It also provided valuable feedback to the Forum Committee about the hopes and fears of individual therapists.

The day started with a couple of presentations by Jenny Gordon, our Independent Chair, who introduced the Forum, and by Jean Nestor from the Prince of Wales’s Foundation for Integrated Health (POWFIH), who spoke about the work of the Foundation and its regulation programme. There was plenty of opportunity to ask questions, and in the afternoon there were discussions in smaller groups which focussed on particular issues relating to the regulatory process.

The cost of regulation was naturally one of the key concerns that was discussed at the meeting on 26 November. Unfortunately it is still far too early to give an indication of this, because the idea of a federal structure is still very new, and POWFIH doesn’t yet know how many therapies and therapists would wish to be included. However, what is beyond doubt is that Voluntary Self-Regulation is a cheaper alternative to Statutory Self-Regulation (which osteopaths and chiropractors have), and that a federal structure would allow the costs of regulation to be shared between a much greater number of therapists.

The reports from the AGM and Launch are now available in the ‘News and events’ section of the website.

Bowen Forum Committee changes

Gillie La Haye

Everyone who has been involved with Bowen will know Gillie. She has worked long and hard for more years than she would probably care to remember, to champion and drive forward the Bowen cause. This has sometimes been a challenging role, one that Gillie has embraced with diligence, patience, a strong sense of purpose and a great sense of proportion. In December 2005 Gillie decided to resign from the Forum because she felt she was no longer able to give the time she felt would be required. However, having had time to consider her decision and following discussions with the committee we are delighted to announce that Gillie has decided to remain as a non-voting consultant with the Forum so that we can continue to have the benefit of her considerable experience and skills that will be invaluable in our journey to self regulation. The Forum committee would like to say ‘thank you’ to Gillie in recognition of the huge contribution she has made to date and to welcome her in her new role back onto the Forum committee.

We are also pleased to announce that Fiona Meeks will be joining the Forum Committee to replace Gillie as one of BTER’s representatives.

National Occupational Standards

The working party that is drafting National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Bowen has been meeting each month between October and January. These meetings are facilitated by Skills for Health, which is the Sector Skills Council for Health within the UK and is the Government approved Standards Setting Body for Health Sector professions. At the beginning of February, they have issued consultation drafts for NOS, which are available for all Bowen therapists to comment on, and may be accessed by clicking here.

Many thanks to all the therapists who have given up so much of their time to take part in this process.

Professor Julie Stone’s report

POWFIH has commissioned a report by Professor Julie Stone of the University of Lincoln, entitled “Development of Proposals for a Future Voluntary Regulatory Structure for Complementary Healthcare Professionals”. This was published in September 2005, and is available in the ‘regulation’ section of their website (

As a result of Professor Stone’s report, POWFIH will shortly be consulting with practitioners from each therapy group, to discuss the possible formation of a single federal style body to regulate all the therapies. Such a body might be similar to the Health Professions Council, which regulates 13 professions including chiropodists, paramedics and physiotherapists. Rather than each therapy setting up its own regulatory body, a single council would oversee a number of separate professions, each of which would be able to set its own educational and practice standards.

Some of the benefits of a federal structure would be:

  • It would provide a single point of reference for the general public;
  • There would be economies of scale;
  • New therapies could be included later;
  • There would be better public recognition;
  • A single Council may have greater negotiating power with the NHS and with insurers.

POWFIH Consultation

POWFIH has prepared a draft discussion document on 'The Foundation's Proposals for Exploring a Federal Approach to VSR of Complementary Therapies”, which was discussed at a workshop on January 25th. Comments received from participants will inform the Foundation on its formal consultation which will commence later in 2006. The formal consultation will give everyone a chance to feed in their ideas about how a federal structure could be developed. This is a great opportunity for everyone to be involved in the process, so we shall let you know when the consultation paper is published, and all members are encouraged to take part in the consultation.


The Bowen Forum now has its own website: , which includes the quarterly newsletters, and answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions. There is also now a section providing a simple guide to regulation. We apologise for not being able to keep this site as up to date as we would like – we rely on volunteers to run the Forum, and we are still learning the ropes. However, things will improve, and if anyone is willing to offer any assistance with this, or in any other way, we would be delighted to hear from you.

If anyone has any feedback on the website, suggestions for improvements, or any questions about any aspect of the regulatory process, please e-mail us at

Bowen Forum Mailing list

This electronic newsletter will be posted on the website, giving details of recent developments towards voluntary self regulation. If anyone is interested a version by e-mail, along with news of when the website has been updated, then please e-mail us at, and ask to be put on our mailing list. We regret that it is not feasible for us to provide any information in hard copy, but as a result there is no charge for being on the mailing list.

Please also note that the Bowen Forum isn’t a membership association for therapists, and being on the mailing list does not confer any regulated status – it is purely a way of ensuring that you can keep up to date with developments in the field of regulation.

Information wanted

We are compiling a database of training schools, member associations, and other organisations that have any link to Bowen in the UK . This may help to sort out some of the confusion around different Bowen groups, or it may add to it. As part of the work towards voluntary self regulation, we are aiming for feedback from all therapists, whether members of an association or not, and we would like to contact all organisations. If you know of any such organisations besides the main membership associations and schools, please pass on the details. Also, if you have any friends or colleagues who are Bowen therapists, but who are not currently a member of a professional association, please give them the details of the Forum’s website, to give them a chance to join the mailing list.