Fundraising Regulator considering 'naming and shaming'

Sir Stuart Etherington of the NCVO yesterday suggested that the regulator should go public with the names of those charities that had yet to pay its levy

- This story has been updated; please see final paragraph

The Fundraising Regulator is considering publishing a list of charities that have not yet committed to paying the fundraising levy, the watchdog has said.

At a reception to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the regulator yesterday, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, called for the regulator to "name and shame" the 370 charities that had either refused or ignored its requests to pay the levy.

Charities that spend more than £100,000 a year are eligible to pay the voluntary levy, which funds the Fundraising Regulator.

Etherington said charities should be made to explain why they had not paid the regulator.

A spokesman for the Fundraising Regulator said today that Etherington’s idea was under consideration.

"We have not yet taken a decision on whether to name and shame non-levy payers, but this will remain under consideration by the board," he said. 

Amanda Bringans, chair of the Institute of Fundraising, tweeted from the reception yesterday that she supported the idea.

But Jay Kennedy, director of policy and research at the Directory of Social Change opposed the idea, saying there were legitimate reasons why charities might not yet have paid up.

He told Third Sector: "Naming and shaming is at best premature and at worst will just damage the sector's reputation further with more crappy headlines. It could also damage the reputations of any charities that are unfairly castigated in print."

Kennedy said some charities might not have paid because choosing to do so was a strategic decision for the board that they might not have been able to make yet. He called for the Fundraising Regulator and others to establish the facts and consider their approach.

"My suggestion would be that Sir Stuart, possibly with Vicki Browning, chief executive of the charity leaders body Acevo, as voluntary sector leaders, should schedule telephone conferences with the chief executives or chairs of the relevant charities to persuade them of the case, rather than assuming that the message has been heard, understood and accepted."

A number of Twitter users suggested that naming and shaming might not be legal.

Reema Mathur, senior associate on the charity and social enterprise team at the law firm Stone King, told Third Sector: "The regulator would be wise to take advice before publishing any such list and be careful how it describes any failure to pay, to make sure it doesn’t fall foul of any regulatory or legal requirements or create any defamatory claims, for example."

- A spokesman for the regulator originally said it was not considering naming charities but he subsequently said regulator's board was considering the idea

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