Regulator begins talks about coordinated responses to domestic disasters

The Charity Commission says it hopes to bring together sector leaders 'as a matter of urgency'

Help in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy
Help in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy

The Charity Commission has begun talks with sector organisations about providing a more coordinated response to major disasters in the UK.

Hundreds of fundraising appeals have been set up in response to the Manchester and London Bridge terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire, but concerns have been raised about the legitimacy of some of them, particularly those created on fundraising platforms.

JustGiving said last week that more than 250 fundraising pages had been set up on its website to help victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. It added that it would hold on to the funds to ensure that all of the money reached those in need.

Residents in Kensington and Chelsea have also criticised the lack of a joined-up response to the Grenfell Tower fire disaster despite the efforts of local people, community groups and national charities including the British Red Cross, Islamic Relief and Muslim Aid.

In an opinion piece written for Third Sector on Friday, Sarah Miller, former head of press and public affairs at the Charity Commission and now a communications consultant, said the charity sector should create a domestic equivalent of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which brings together 13 international aid organisations in times of crisis overseas.

She said that having a permanent Domestic DEC secretariat would allow an appeal to be launched swiftly and money distributed from a central point to a wide range of local charities.

The Charity Commission tweeted in reply to Miller’s article:

The commission said in a further statement issued on Friday: "We have begun early talks with established charities with experience of responding to disasters to consider ways of ensuring a coordinated, swift, expert response if and when there are further tragedies.

"We will be looking to convene sector leaders as a matter of urgency when we have all been able to provide the immediate help and support that is required in west London."

A spokesman for JustGiving said that it had been approached by the Charity Commission about taking part in the discussions.

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