Advice over Bribery Act sought by Institute of Fundraising

Amanda McLean, the institute's chief executive, wants to know if companies that invite clients to charity fundraising events might fall foul of the law

Amanda McLean
Amanda McLean

The Institute of Fundraising has sought legal advice on the implications of the Bribery Act on charity fundraising events.

Amanda McLean, chief executive of the institute, said she was expecting to hear back from lawyers this week with advice on whether companies that invite clients to charity fundraising events are breaking the law. Companies often buy tables and offer free places to clients.

The Bribery Act, which became law in April, says it is an offence to give or promise financial or other advantage to another person with the intention of trying to "induce a person to perform improperly a relevant function or activity", or reward them for doing so.

"There has been a lot of coverage in the press recently about how the act relates to corporate hospitality," McLean told Third Sector. "I wanted to make sure charities that do events fundraising won't be alarmed and that companies won’t be put off, because it’s a fantastic revenue stream for charities."

Andrew Studd, a partner at law firm Russell-Cooke, said in general he did not think that companies that took clients to charity events would be guilty of an offence under the act because it would be unlikely to be viewed as a financial advantage to the person.

"There could be limited circumstances where it might be a potential argument, but I think that’s likely to be rare," he said. "I think you would see it as a business contact going with the purposes of supporting the charity with no material benefit to them. Therefore I don’t think there’s a real risk."

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