PFRA and Local Government Association call for legislation for councils to license all types of fundraising

Call comes as part of new agreement, jointly launched by Paul Stallard of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association today, to improve face-to-face fundraising

Paul Stallard
Paul Stallard

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association and the Local Government Association have called for a unified piece of legislation that gives councils the power to license all types of fundraising.

The call comes in the introduction to the associations' new agreement to work together to improve standards of face-to-face fundraising. Paul Stallard, chair of the PFRA, and Mehboob Khan, chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, will jointly launch the partnership, Making the Pledge, at an LGA conference in London today.  

"Councils have a long established range of licensing responsibilities, often in difficult and controversial activities such as sales of alcohol, sex establishments and betting shops, and through various consultation and engagement mechanisms are able to balance different interests within communities," the pledge states.

The new agreement was trailed last week by Sally de la Bedoyere, chief executive of the PFRA. It has been drawn up in response to an LGA survey that found three out of four councils were concerned about the impact the aggressive behaviour of some fundraisers could have on their residents and high streets. 

As part of the agreement, the LGA has accepted a place on the PFRA’s board, allowing it to influence policies and practices as they develop on behalf of councils.

The pledge states: "We will continue to work together at a national level to ensure that voluntary agreements can prove successful for councils, their communities and charities.

"Whilst we hope that this will solve the problem, we also continue to advocate that legislation is needed to enable a more formal licensing process if voluntary measures fail."

Both associations called for a unified piece of legislation that provides a clear and effective mandate for councils to license all types of fundraising, the document states.

The pledge recommends the PFRA’s site management agreements as a "foundation for resolving tensions about face-to-face fundraisers". The document sets out what councils can expect to be covered in their agreements, such as the location of fundraisers, the number of fundraisers and charities present, the hours and days when fundraising can take place and the monitoring of activity by the PFRA and the council to maximise resources.

The document, which is being sent to the LGA’s 423 members, explains the complaints process for councils and members of the public and the PFRA’s new sanctions regime

Stallard said: "Now that the charity sector has the official support of the LGA through this pledge, I am confident that street fundraising can continue to provide new donors and new money for as long as charities need to use this method."

Khan said: "A sensible balance needs to be struck between charities’ duty to ask people for support and the rights of local people not to be put under undue pressure to give. That is the aim of this agreement."

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