Fundraising Regulator says it is considering a statutory levy

And it denies that it is running on reserves because of a lack of support for the levy, which is not yet mandatory

The Fundraising Regulator is considering whether the levy on fundraising charities should be made a statutory requirement.

In a statement made today, the regulator denied speculation that it was running on reserves because of a lack of support for the levy, which all charities spending more than £100,000 a year on fundraising have been asked to pay to cover the regulator’s running costs.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the regulator, said in the statement that the organisation had raised at least £1.7m in funds for its second year of operation, starting in September 2017 and was confident of raising the £1.8m it had budgeted for.

But he said that of the 1,800 or so charities that were expected to pay the levy, almost 400 had either refused, had not responded or were in negotiations with the regulator.

The statement said that of the 372 charities that had not paid, 57 had refused, 69 were in negotiations and 246 had not responded.

The number of non-paying charities is significantly lower than the 600 given by Lord Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, at Third Sector’s Fundraising Conference last month.

Grade warned at the time that the regulator would be reviewing in July whether or not to ask the government to make the levy a statutory requirement if too few charities paid up.

Dunmore said today: "The majority of the UK’s largest fundraising charities and their membership bodies have supported the levy system, and we appreciate their assistance.

"Seventy-five per cent of charities genuinely within [the scope of] the levy have paid or are committed to paying, including all but a handful of the larger charities. That is good news."

But he said it was regrettable that some charities, particularly smaller ones, had not prioritised paying the levy and would "in effect be subsidised by their peers" if they decided not to pay.

The regulator would continue to engage with those charities, he said.

"We are currently reviewing the levy system to examine whether any changes could usefully be made in year two," he said.

"The levy calculations were based on information provided to the Charity Commission by charities, and all too often this has proved to be inaccurate.

"The review is also considering whether there might be advantages in moving to a statutory levy in year three. 

"We have been clear, as has the government, that fundraising regulation is not optional. Ministers hold reserve powers to impose both fundraising regulation and the levy on a statutory basis."

Dunmore said speculation that the Fundraising Regulator was "running on reserves" because of a lack of support for the fundraising levy was entirely incorrect.

"Building up sufficient reserves for the organisation is a medium-term aim as our funding base develops," he said.

Dunmore added that the regulator planned to publish an online register in the next few weeks of all the charities that had paid the levy.

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