PFRA calls for local authority input in chugging dispute

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has warned that a meeting next week with anti-chugging MP David Lepper and representatives of the Brighton business community is unlikely to achieve anything unless the local authority also agrees to attend.

PFRA chief executive Mick Aldridge, who will represent the association at the meeting next Thursday, said the proven solution to traders’ concerns about chuggers was a formal site management agreement.

But he said such agreements require “the involvement of a dedicated local authority point of contact with oversight of the whole area and a detailed awareness of factors that effect pedestrians”.

A spokeswoman from the PFRA said the local authority had so far refused to participate in discussions because it doesn’t perceive a problem. She also said that there had been no complaints from members of the public in Brighton about chuggers.

“We haven’t experienced the kind of things the most vociferous people in Brighton are complaining about,” she said. “Brighton seems to be a special case. Mr Lepper has an issue with fundraising and has taken it upon himself to try to rid his community of what he sees as a problem.”

She added: “Mr Lepper would like an outright ban on face-to-face fundraising but that is not going to happen. It’s far too important a form of fundraising. We don’t think there’s an issue with it, but we are happy to talk to anyone.”

Last year Lepper branded the PFRA “ineffective” in dealing with chuggers in Brighton, who he called “rude and intimidating”. He also called into question the independence of the Fundraising Standards Board when it was launched earlier this year, though his fears were allayed after a meeting with the board.

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