Fundraising Standards Board to begin random audits of members' activities next year

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, says the audit process should be operating by June and might start with a 'light-touch' online investigation into membership compliance

Alistair McLean
Alistair McLean

The Fundraising Standards Board will start carrying out random audits of members’ fundraising activities from next year, the regulator’s chief executive has said.

Alistair McLean told Third Sector that it had always been the FRSB’s intention to move away from the current system of self-certification to auditing members’ compliance, as recommended by Lord Hodgson in his review of the Charities Act 2006, published in July.

The FRSB, which is the single public-facing regulatory body and point of contact for complaints about fundraising, is developing the audit process and hopes to have it in place by June, said McLean.

He said the audit was not meant to be a burden on members and might, initially, be a "light-touch" online investigation into their compliance with membership commitments.

This could look at areas such as whether charities are using the FRSB’s tick logo, have its Fundraising Promise in place and a clear and easy-to-access complaints processes.

The FRSB has 1,450 members and is aiming to audit between 5 and 10 per cent a year on a random basis to make the process "more robust", said McLean.

"It is the next stage in the evolution of self regulation. It has always been the intention to move from a system relying on self-certification to a system with a built-in audit demonstrating members’ compliance with the membership commitments," he said.

"As new members join there is a transitional period to develop their compliance with the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice, making sure they have a robust complaints system and making it clear they demonstrate the Fundraising Promise."

Details of the process are still being worked out, but McLean said it would not mean extra costs for members.

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