The art gallery administrator Tate has become the first charity to refuse to pay the start-up costs of the new Fundraising Regulator, Third Sector has learned, with a further two reluctant to hand over contributions.
Parkinson’s UK is understood to have reservations about paying the regulator the £15,000 it has requested from each of the UK’s 50 largest fundraising charities to finance its set-up, and the sight-loss charity the RNIB is also dragging its feet over making a payment.
A further nine charities have not responded to a letter about the payment sent by Stephen Dunmore, interim chief executive of the regulator, Third Sector understands.
A total of 38 charities have either paid or firmly committed to doing so; 28 had done so by February.
Lord Michael Grade, chair of the regulator, is understood to be planning to speak to the 11 chairs of the charities that have expressed concerns or not replied.
A spokeswoman for Tate, which runs four art galleries in England, said in a statement: "Tate is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored, and already regulated for charity law purposes, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
"Tate fully supports the idea of a regulator, but its fundraising does not include the activities covered by the Etherington review recommendations and it was not clear that it would be appropriate to contribute.
"Tate would of course be open to discussions as to how the proposals might be broadened to include other fundraising activities."
Paul Jackson-Clark, director of fundraising at Parkinson’s UK, said: "Our donors, members and supporters look to us for transparency and guidance in any financial decisions we make, and we are committed to making the best use of the voluntary donations that we receive.
"Because of this, and following discussions between our senior leadership team and trustees, we have asked the regulator for more information and to clarify a number of points ahead of making any decision."
It emerged in February that the RNIB had reservations about paying the fee and Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of the sight-loss charity, confirmed during a panel debate at Third Sector's Fundraising Week last Tuesday that its position on the matter had not changed.
The Children’s Society is understood not to have paid yet, but it has sought and received additional information from the new regulator about its plans for the money.
There has been some concern among charities about being expected to pay towards the £300 fee that will be received by the regulator’s board members for each day they work. Other charities have not budgeted properly for the expense or are worried about donors’ perceptions of it.
Charities that have told Third Sector they will pay the £15,000 are Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, the British Red Cross, the NSPCC, the RSPCA, Marie Curie, Macmillan Cancer Support, Oxfam, Save the Children and Guide Dogs.
Dunmore followed this up with a letter of his own in February, requesting a "positive commitment" from each charity within two or three weeks.
According to Dunmore’s letter, the £15,000 contributions would be used to fund the regulator’s initial costs, including staff and accommodation, capital expenditure, survey and data-collection work, and expenditure related to its board and committees.
Dunmore told Third Sector the regulator’s discussions with the RNIB and Parkinson’s UK were continuing. "We’ve made excellent progress with the negotiations and are very grateful to the charities that are contributing," he said.