The Fundraising Standards Board has launched the first phase of a new auditing programme that it hopes will strengthen self-regulation.
As part of the programme, announced last year, the FRSB will monitor the compliance of its members with self-regulation requirements, including the completion of the annual complaints return, the use of the tick logo and adherence to the Fundraising Promise and the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice.
It plans to audit all of its members over a five-year rolling period.
The first phase, launched on 24 June, will examine the organisations that reported particularly high levels of complaints in their annual returns. These members, which will not be named by the FRSB, will be presented with benchmarking reports, indicating their complaint levels against their peer groups.
The FRSB said it would work with the charities to understand the nature of the complaints and ensure that practices were reviewed or amended. It said it would also look into their adherence to membership requirements, such as the use of the ‘give with confidence’ tick logo.
From January 2015, the second phase of the programme will monitor adherence to the promise and the code.
Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, said: "This is a big step forward for us. One of Lord Hodgson’s recommendations in his review of the Charities Act 2006 was that the FRSB’s members should move away from a system of self-certification."
McLean said that the new auditing programme would enable the FRSB to deliver a more rigorous regulatory scheme.
"We hope to help charities identify and address any fundraising issues, with a clear goal of building public confidence in giving," he said.
The FRSB said that in the next 18 months it would consult charities through its advisory forum, the IoF and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association and develop ways to monitor adherence to the fundraising promise and the code.
When non-compliance is found, it will be dealt with through a formal three-stage process, the FRSB said. The initial step will be to notify charities and give them guidance for complying with the standards. Where charities continue not to comply, the matter will go to the FRSB’s board, with the most severe penalty being withdrawal of membership.