Charities Act Review: Fundraising

A summary of the main proposals, with sector reaction and an assessment of what's likely to happen

Charity collection bags
Charity collection bags

Main proposals

- A clear and simple system of self-regulation should be worked out within six months to replace the "confused regulatory landscape" involving three membership organisations: the Institute of Fundraising, which sets codes of practice; the Fundraising Standards Board, which uses the codes as a benchmark for regulation but also has its own Fundraising Promise; and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, which also has rules and regulates face-to-face fundraising.

- Face-to-face collections - at present outside the control of local authorities if they solicit direct debits rather than cash - should be brought into the licensing regime, but local authorities should be encouraged to rely on self-regulation by the PFRA.

- National exemption orders, which release large charities that make frequent house-to-house collections from seeking licences repeatedly, should be abolished.

- National guidelines should be drawn up for public charitable collections, leaving local authorities significant freedom to determine the frequency and extent of different types of collections, but without the power to ban a particular fundraising method that is accepted nationally.

Sector reaction

The Institute of Fundraising, the British Heart Foundation and the British Red Cross are strongly against abolishing national exemption orders on the grounds that it would increase costs and red tape. There is no strong sector opposition to other proposals, although they might prove difficult.

What's likely to happen?

Ministers are keen to mitigate the unpopularity of face-to-face fundraising without damaging its role in giving. Hodgson stops short of saying explicitly that charities should have to seek local authority licences for direct debit solicitations; expanding and strengthening agreements between councils and the PFRA may be the preferred way forward.

There is general agreement on the need to rationalise self-regulation, which might involve tough negotiation. Abolition of national exemption orders seems unlikely, given the strong opposition.

Read in more detail about: trustees, regulation, social investment, and complaints and the charity tribunal

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