Fundraising bodies commission joint review of self-regulation

Peter Lewis of the Institute of Fundraising says a consultancy will be selected to look at how the IoF, the FRSB and the PFRA can work together in the future

Peter Lewis
Peter Lewis

The Institute of Fundraising, the Fundraising Standards Board and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association are jointly commissioning a consultancy to review the operational and governance structures of self-regulation.

The independent review on creating a sustainable self-regulatory system for fundraising is being funded by a £20,000 grant from the Office for Civil Society, with a further £40,000 for implementing its recommendations.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, said the aim of the review was to make recommendations that would ensure the institute, the PFRA and the FRSB were "fit for purpose and sustainable on an ongoing basis".

It will look at how self-regulation is financed and what efficiencies can be achieved across the three bodies, including sharing back offices or looking at the way each body develops its membership, training, best practice, advisory, enforcement, licensing and space allocations functions.

The review will include an examination of the institute’s governance structures, with a focus on the composition of its board and standards committee to ensure the appropriate expertise in the handling of the Code of Fundraising Practice and the engagement of the sector in developing the code.

It will focus on the make-up of the PFRA’s board and advisory groups and the body’s fitness for taking on new challenges. Its processes for negotiating site-management agreements on behalf of charities, mystery shopping and enforcement processes, penalties and information sharing among members and co-regulatory partners will also come under scrutiny.

The review will look to ensure the FRSB is fit for future expansion and examine its adjudication processes and how they could be strengthened.

It is being launched in response to recommendations made in Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006, published last year, and the report by the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee on regulation of the charity sector, published on 6 June. Both recommended that the sector should be given five years to improve self-regulation.  

The IoF, the PFRA and the FRSB have already agreed a division of their responsibilities in response to Hodgson’s criticism of the "confused self-regulatory landscape". The FRSB is the single public-facing regulatory body and point of contact for the public about complaints relating to any kind of fundraising; the IoF sets the standards and writes the rules and codes against which the FRSB adjudicates; and the PFRA specialises in the distribution and enforcement of face-to-face fundraising, working with local authorities.

Lewis said: "There is no question of bringing the FRSB into the IoF. We all agree we need a public-facing regulatory body to adjudicate against the IoF code. It is about how we can together best meet future challenges in the best way for the sector."

The final report is due in October.

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