Institute of Fundraising: Scotland and N Ireland will benefit from new legislation

The Institute has welcomed the Government's announcement that it is consulting on new charity legislation in Northern Ireland. The consultation period will close on 20 May.

Paul Kane, chair of the Institute of Fundraising Northern Ireland, said: "This will bring charity law here into the 21st century. The proposals will reinforce the bond of trust between the general public and charities in Northern Ireland."

The new legislation proposes the establishment of a Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, with powers to register and regulate charities.

This includes stricter accountability and reform of the legislation on street and door-to-door collections.

The establishment of a regulatory authority in Northern Ireland is long overdue. Professional and voluntary members of the Institute of Fundraising are already working to a voluntary code of conduct that seeks to promote best practice in fundraising. New legislation should aim to bring all fundraisers up to this high standard.

The Charity and Trustees Investment Bill (Scotland) has now progressed through the committee stage and the Communities Committee report has been published. This part of the process saw the committee and the Scottish Parliament debate the general principles of the Bill. The next stage will see the Communities Committee debate the amendments that have been proposed by MSPs.

The Bill establishes the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator as the charity regulator in Scotland, with powers similar to those of the Charity Commission in England. New fundraising regulations will improve the current system of public benevolent collections and give charities the power to stop unauthorised fundraising in their name.

The new Bill will also ensure that Scottish charity law develops along similar lines to English and Welsh charity law. Commercial participants and professional fundraisers will have to have a contract with charities.

Provisions in the Bill may also require professional fundraisers to make a statement regarding their remuneration and commercial participants to state how much money will go to the cause in the future.

The Scottish Executive also supports a self-regulatory scheme for fundraising, recognising that fundraising bodies should be given the chance to set best practice standards for themselves.

Although each development is at a different stage, one common denominator is an emphasis on the need to protect and support the charity 'brand' across the sector.

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