Fundraising Regulator has 30 investigations open, says head of policy

Gerald Oppenheim made the revelation at a conference in London today, organised by the ICSA

Gerald Oppenheim
Gerald Oppenheim

The Fundraising Regulator has 30 active investigations into alleged fundraising breaches ongoing, according to Gerald Oppenheim, head of policy and communications at the Fundraising Regulator.

Speaking at a conference organised by the governance institute the ICSA in London this morning, Oppenheim said the regulator had received 713 complaints between 7 July 2016 and 31 March 2017, of which 30 were being investigated.

In February, Oppenheim said there had been about 500 complaints by the end of January and they had gone "through the roof" over the previous month.

Oppenheim said today that the regulator had answered about 1,500 enquiries since it was launched, with fundraising, the levy, registration with the regulator, the Fundraising Preference Service and the fundraising code some of the main issues raised with the regulator.

Oppenheim said the issue of fake fundraising pages on crowdfunding websites has been thrown into "sharp relief" in the past few weeks by incidents such as the Grenfell Tower fire and the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.

The Fundraising Regulator does not have the power to regulate individual giving on crowdfunding platforms and covers only fundraising by charities.

Oppenheim said the crowdfunding platforms were trying to deal with the problem of fake fundraising pages on their websites but "the regulatory framework is a bit amiss there".

He also told the conference that the FPS, which will give people more control over the charities they hear from, would be launched in England and Wales in July.

He said the FPS was "not a blanket opt-out" and the "big red button" that could stop all contact with charities was not feasible.

Instead, he said, the FPS would allow for selective opt-outs in which people would name the charities they did not want to hear from.

Oppenheim said that a decision on fundraising regulation in Northern Ireland was imminent, following on from a consultation on the form fundraising regulation should take there.

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