Fundraising bodies formalise agreement on public complaints

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association will pass on all complaints from the public about face-to-face fundraising to the Fundraising Standards Board

Face-to-face fundraising
Face-to-face fundraising

The Fundraising Standards Board and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association have agreed a memorandum of understanding that sets out each body’s responsibilities in regulating face-to-face fundraising.

Under the agreement, the PFRA will no longer handle complaints about street or doorstep fundraising from the public, passing them on to the FRSB instead.

The PFRA will continue to resolve issues raised by local authorities that relate to its core work, such as alleged breaches of site-management agreements and of its rule book.

The regulators will meet regularly to share information about face-to-face fundraising activity, including the results of the PFRA’s mystery shopping programme and penalty points system, and the complaints the FRSB receives about face-to-face.

The PFRA has agreed to tell the FRSB about cases in which the behaviour of one its members is significantly worse than the industry standard, or where its penalties and sanctions regime has failed to improve a member’s standards. The FRSB has agreed to inform the PFRA at an early stage if it has launched an investigation relating to face-to-face.

The document makes official and adds detail to an agreement the regulatory bodies and the Institute of Fundraising made in September – this said that the FRSB should be the single public-facing regulatory body and point of contact for complaints about fundraising.

The move comes in response to recommendations made in Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006 about the need to address the "confused self-regulatory landscape" in fundraising.

The PFRA and the FRSB said the purpose of the agreement was to improve self-regulation and the quality of face-to-face fundraising, which would in turn protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the technique.

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, said: "The public must be clear about who to contact when they want to complain. This agreement is an important step, channeling public feedback about fundraising directly into the FRSB’s independent complaints process.

"Comprehensive complaint monitoring enables the sector to identify common areas of concern and address those issues, raising standards and building public confidence."

Sally de la Bedoyere, chief executive of the PFRA, said: "Our two organisations have been working well for many years and it makes sense to all parties for our roles to be clarified, particularly regarding complaints."

Jenna Pudelek

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