IoF and Fundraising Regulator under fire for not keeping historic versions of code

A couple pursuing a complaint against a charity have said they were unable to obtain an old copy of the Code of Fundraising Practice from either body

A couple pursuing a complaint against a charity have criticised the Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Regulator for being unable to produce a copy of the Code of Fundraising Practice from just over three years ago.

The pair, who asked not to be named, contacted the organisations to request a copy of the code relating to the period between 2014 and 2016, but both said they were unable to provide historic versions of the document.

The complainants wanted the code as part of background research because of a dispute with a charity dating back to that period.

The couple said that, by contrast, the Chartered Governance Institute (formerly ICSA) was able to provide historical versions of the Charity Governance Codes relating to 2010 and 2005 without any difficulty.

The Code of Fundraising Practice was overseen by the IoF until 2016, when the newly formed Fundraising Regulator took it over as part of the implementation of reforms to the self-regulation of fundraising made after the review by Sir Stuart Etherington, former chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The complainants contacted several major charities to ask if they were able to help and the homelessness charity Crisis was able to provide a copy from 2012.

The couple said it was "unprofessional and unacceptable" that the IoF and the Fundraising Regulator were unable to provide historical copies of the code.

"We were able to obtain two previous Charity Governance Codes without any problem at all from the ICSA," the complainants said.

"However, neither the Institute of Fundraising nor the Fundraising Regulator had kept a copy of the Code of Fundraising Practice."

"We had to ask not one, but two different charity bodies about the same Code of Fundraising Practice. We were shocked to be told that neither had kept a copy of the previous code.

"Not keeping a copy of your own code of practice comes across as being unprofessional."

A spokeswoman for the Institute of Fundraising said the organisation did not hold a document library and was therefore unable to provide a copy of the old document.

She said the code was an evolving document and generally did not change much between different versions.

Asked to comment on the case, a spokeswoman for the Fundraising Regulator said: "The code was formally transferred to the Fundraising Regulator at our launch in July 2016.

"It is not a static document but one that we have looked to improve for both fundraisers and members of the general public alike so they can use and understand it confidently.

"The most up-to-date version of the code can be downloaded by anyone from our website, and further improvements to its accessibility will come into effect on 1 October."

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