Charities must clean up direct mail or face government intervention, says Labour peer

Baroness Crawley: 'Clock is ticking for self-regulation'

The Government might introduce measures to force charities to improve their record on direct mail in 2011 if "objectionable" practices are not stamped out, according to a Labour peer.

Baroness Crawley, a Government spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office, told the House of Lords on Wednesday that the Charities Act 2006 included a reserve power for government to intervene against poor direct mail practices, such as sending coins in the post.

She warned that "the clock is ticking for self-regulation" and said the Government might intervene in 2011, when the Fundraising Standards Board is due to be reviewed.

"Not enough charities are yet demonstrating best practice through becoming members of the Fundraising Standards Board, and if the Government has to bring in a reserve power in 2011, we may well do that," she said.

Baroness Crawley was responding to a question from Conservative peer Baroness Trumpington, who asked why the Government had not used its power to stop poor practices.
Crawley told the House of Lords: "The practice of sending gifts or coins through the post is supposed to get a guilt response from people. It is a very annoying and frustrating way of going about building up a good name, as well as funds, for a charity.

"The Charity Commission, the Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Standards Board are all against it."

The text of the debate can be found here.

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