Standards board will publish its first adjudications from February

The Fundraising Standards Board will publish its first adjudications shortly after February 2008, when it will have been receiving complaints from the public for a year.

The FRSB said it expects by then to have completed "three or four" adjudications - decisions made by the board in cases that could not be resolved by the charities themselves or by officials. After that, adjudications will be published as and when it processes them.

The first adjudications will be accompanied by a report on the nature of complaints received by charities and those passed on to the FRSB because they could not be resolved by the charities concerned. Charities will not be named if complaints are settled by the charities themselves or by FRSB officials without formal adjudications.

The board said that most complaints received so far fell into three categories: the type of language used; cold calling; and the high intensity of direct mail that people have received. To date, it has not received any complaints about face-to-face fundraising. Jon Scourse, chief executive of the FRSB, has also outlined his five-year plan for the board's development.

The first year, until February, is dedicated to encouraging charities to join the scheme, which is currently close to having 700 members. From February, the board will concentrate on increasing public awareness.

In the third year, it will concentrate on tackling complaints before focusing on building membership and awareness in the fourth and fifth years.

"Public awareness of the brand is going to be low at first with a new organisation," said Scourse. "Until the public know we are here they won't complain.

"Our job is to improve standards in fundraising rather than being seen as a policeman running around with a big stick. We would rather be seen as a catalyst to ensure that standards are maintained, if not improved."

Scourse said the board would also review the actions of the charities that it had received complaints about, and feed this information back to the Institute of Fundraising to help make its codes of practice more helpful, particularly for smaller charities.

"The needs of small charities are very different from those of large charities," he said. "The type of guidelines available needs to be reviewed at some stage."

He added: "We are in a place where small charities need more of a toolkit type of approach to fundraising guidelines."

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