PFRA calls for change in Institute of Fundraising's draft house-to-house collections code

Regulator says reference to guidance available to licensing authorities should be deleted

PFRA: concern over draft code
PFRA: concern over draft code

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has called on the Institute of Fundraising to make changes to its draft code of practice for house-to-house collections amid concerns about the provision of licences by local authorities.

The IoF opened a twelve-week public consultation on its updated code of practice at the end of September.

In its submission to the institute, the PFRA said a passage in the code concerning the role of local licensing authorities should be deleted.

The passage in the draft code states: "Fundraising organisations should be aware of guidance available to licensing authorities on appropriate returns from house-to-house collections and may wish to contact the local licensing department as appropriate."

The PFRA warns that the code in its existing form could result in local authorities using guidance available from third parties on acceptable margins of return to decide which organisations they issue licenses to.

"It is understood that some organisations may intend to provide guidance to their members suggesting that a licensing authority would be justified in declining a license where the yield received by the charity from any collection is less than a certain arbitrary amount (e.g. 75 per cent)," the PFRA submission says.

A spokesman for the PFRA declined to say which organisations it was referring to.

Local authorities are able to decide which organisations can obtain a license for door-to-door collections under the House-to-House Collections Act 1939.

"An institute endorsement of any third party guidance also sends out entirely the wrong messages about the sector’s/institute’s willingness to submit to external restraint," the submission adds.

Overall, however, the PFRA said it was pleased with the draft code.

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