Fundraising regulator to start in the autumn

Charities and agencies will have to pay up to £1,500 a year to join the new self-regulatory body for fundraising.

The Regulation of Fundraising Unit will be launched in the autumn to safeguard the reputation of the profession amid public fears about street fundraising in particular.

It brings into effect a recommendation in the 2002 Strategy Unit report and represents the sector's attempt to stave off legislation to govern fundraising.

But the unit will not have the power to fine charities: it will rely on the threat of ejection to shame members into complying with the rules.

Over the next few months, the steering committee needs to convince the public that the scheme is genuinely independent and persuade the Government to fund it.

"We need a scheme that people will want to join but at the same time won't give them an easy ride," said steering committee chair Simon Hebditch, also executive director at the Charities Aid Foundation.

The unit's staff will be based in the Institute of Fundraising's London office, but institute chief executive Lindsay Boswell promised the unit would maintain its independence.

The institute is calling on the Home Office to provide £1.71m seed funding for three years. Membership fees and grants should make the unit self-sufficient by 2008, it says.

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