Institute of Fundraising: The Institute's thoughts on the Charities Bill proposals

The draft Charities Bill for England and Wales was published a few weeks ago. What does the Institute think of the proposals within it?

On the whole, the Institute thinks that the proposals set out in the draft Charities Bill are workable. We welcome the moves towards a unified scheme for regulating public collections and attempts to improve the statements made by professional fundraisers and commercial participators. The Institute has submitted two papers to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Bill which set out the Institute's proposed changes and comments.

What are the Institute's concerns regarding public collections?

We wish to see clarification that the certificate of fitness will be given to the organisation, not the individual promoter of a collection.

It would cause administrative difficulties if each promoter of a collection had to apply for a certificate of fitness. We also think consideration should be given to the period of notification by which charities should inform local authorities that they wish to collect. There should also be a commitment that local authorities will inform charities within a reasonable timeframe if they are unable to collect on a particular day.

What about the proposed changes to the professional fundraisers' statement?

The Institute thinks the important distinction is whether a fundraiser is paid or is a volunteer, rather than the details of remuneration. We suggest that both fundraisers who are employed by a charity and sub-contracted fundraisers should state that this is the case.

What about self-regulation?

Self-regulation was not explicitly mentioned in the Bill. In its very nature, a self-regulatory scheme will be non-statutory. However, reserve powers for the Secretary of State to introduce statutory regulation if self-regulation does not work were set out in the Bill. The Institute would like to see the criteria against which the success of a self-regulatory scheme will be measured but do not think this should be in the Bill. Instead, Government and the sector should work together to ensure suitable criteria.

Does the Institute have any other concerns?

The Institute would like to see the final Bill published so it could be read without the need to refer to other legislation. The format of the draft Bill has proved to be highly inaccessible.

The full text of the Institute's submissions are available on the web site at www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk

- Andrew Watt is head of policy and standards at the Institute of Fundraising.

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