Government plans would require large charities to reveal how many fundraising complaints they receive

Amendments to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill were unveiled yesterday by Lord Bridges of Headley, parliamentary secretary in the Cabinet Office

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

The annual reports of large charities would have to include the number of fundraising complaints they receive, under new proposals put forward by the government.

Amendments to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill made yesterday by Lord Bridges of Headley, the parliamentary secretary in the Cabinet Office, include a requirement that charities with incomes of more than £1m a year include sections in their annual reports showing the "number of complaints received by the charity or a person acting on its behalf about activities by the charity or by a person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fundraising".

The amendments say these charities would have to include statements on the approach to fundraising taken by the charity or any of its agents, whether the charity or anyone acting on its behalf has signed up to any voluntary scheme for regulating fundraising, for example as a member of the Fundraising Standards Board, and if there was any failure to comply with the standards of any such scheme.

The legislation would require those charities to report on the approaches they have taken to protect vulnerable people and other members of the public from behaviour including "unreasonable intrusion on a person’s privacy", "unreasonably persistent approaches for the purpose of soliciting or otherwise procuring money or other property on behalf of the charity" and "placing undue pressure on a person to give money or other property".

The FRSB already collects and publishes the total number of complaints reported to it by member charities each year but does not reveal how many complaints were received by each charity or name any participants.

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, said: "We welcome this shift towards transparency and look forward to working with the government on these new measures."

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, announced at the weekend that additional legislation would be added to the charities bill to "protect the vulnerable from aggressive fundraisers and rogue charities".

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, has been asked to lead a review of the self-regulation of fundraising.

The review will make recommendations in September, which could be incorporated in the charities bill because it will not have completed its passage through parliament by then.

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