Academics 'want clocks to go back to a world before 2015', says Fundraising Regulator

Ian MacQuillin and Adrian Sargeant have called for responsibility for the Code of Fundraising Practice to be taken from the regulator and returned to fundraisers

The Fundraising Regulator has said that a paper from two fundraising academics that called for responsibility for the Code of Fundraising Practice to be removed from the regulator and returned to fundraisers "calls for the clocks to go back to a world before the 2015 scandals".

The paper, Fundraising Ethics: A Rights-Balancing Approach, which was written by the fundraising academics Ian MacQuillin and Adrian Sargeant, said the regulator had adopted a "consumer protections ethos", meaning there was a danger that in ethical decision-making priority would be given to donors’ needs because they had the greatest capacity to influence the regulator, at the cost of beneficiaries.

It said that "rather than create a further series of knee-jerk and bespoke adjustments to the code", there should be "a systematic review of the underlying ethical frameworks that should be shaping our decision-making".

But in a blog post published on Third Sector today, Stephen Service, policy manager at the Fundraising Regulator, says MacQuillin and Sargeant were treating the fundraising scandals of 2015 as a "historical anomaly".

Service argues that the code, which was previously overseen by the Institute of Fundraising but was passed to the regulator after Sir Stuart Etherington’s review of fundraising self-regulation, has not left the fundraising community.

"We work closely with fundraisers to ensure the code reflects current practice and the need of charities to raise money for their important causes," he writes.

"MacQuillin and Sargeant rightly identify that charities are answerable to two communities: the donors and the beneficiaries.

"But it is unhelpful to pit this as a zero-sum game in which one must win at the expense of the other. Ethical fundraising is in the interest of both donors and beneficiaries.

"A balanced approach to fundraising regulation must take into account the needs of both."

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