The Conservative peer Lord Hodgson has asked the voluntary sector and members of the public to share their views and evidence about the regulation of fundraising and the handling of complaints about charities, as part of his wide-ranging review of charity law.
Hodgson is in charge of reviewing the Charities Act 2006, and is due to produce recommendations for reform of the law by June.
He has issued new calls for evidence in five areas: self-regulation of fundraising; public charitable collections; complaints, appeals and redress; reporting and accounting requirements; and registration thresholds.
The call for evidence on the self-regulation of fundraising says: "We are particularly interested to hear from those involved in charity fundraising, or who have had cause to complain about charity fundraising. We would also welcome any comments from members of the public about their views on charity fundraising, self-regulation and transparency."
It says the review must consider whether the self-regulation of fundraising through the Fundraising Standards Board has been successful and whether statutory regulation of fundraising is required.
The call for evidence on reporting requirements says: "There are around 180,000 registered charities and more than 70,000 of them have to send their accounts and annual report to the Charity Commission every year. On an arithmetic average basis this means about 280 registered charities need to do so every working day.
"Clearly the commission cannot, and never has been able to, examine the volume of accounts it receives in any detail. Is the burden on charities and on the commission proportionate, given that members of the public can ask any charity directly for its accounts and its annual report?"
The call for evidence on complaints about charities says the creation of a Charities Ombudsman has been suggested. It says, however, that this would raise questions about trustees’ independence and an increased regulatory burden.
The new calls for evidence are in addition to previous requests for views on a wide range of issues. A list, and details of how to respond, can be found on the Cabinet Office website.