Review of fundraising regulation reveals 'lack of trust' between the three bodies involved

The full report by PwC on the workings of the Institute of Fundraising, the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association and the Fundraising Standards Board says self-regulation 'is being pulled in many directions'

The three fundraising bodies
The three fundraising bodies

The three organisations involved in the self-regulation of fundraising do not currently trust each other enough to be able to work in partnership to deliver self-regulation effectively, according to a recent report.

The report by the professional services firm PwC was jointly commissioned by the Institute of Fundraising, the Fundraising Standards Board and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association to review how self-regulation was working.

A summary was published last week containing only the recommendations and the "preferred option", which is for the three bodies to "work collaboratively to agree and implement a shared overarching strategy that delivers against a shared vision for self-regulation".

The full report, seen by Third Sector, contains five other options, a study of the strengths and weaknesses of the three organisations and an assessment of the current system of self-regulation, which contains the observations on trust.

It says: "Crucially, for the three organisations to be able to work in partnership to deliver self-regulation in an effective way there needs to be trust. This currently appears to be lacking.

"We note from the majority of our interviews that the linkages and relationships are not strong enough at all levels to allow effective and efficient information flow between the three organisations.

"This is an area of weakness between the three, leads to inefficiency and is a drain on limited resources. There is also a lack of a common strategy or communication plan. This means that the self-regulation of fundraising as a concept is being pulled in many directions."

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, told Third Sector that trust would grow as the organisations began to work more closely together and put a joint communications strategy in place, as proposed in the preferred option.

"PwC explored a number of options and settled on a preferred option that it thought was the best solution," he said. "By putting that into practice as a group and individually, we will develop more trust and a better understanding. It’s also about knowing more about what each other does."

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, said in a statement: "We have always worked closely with the PFRA and the FRSB and we will all be working together to strengthen the relationships between us so that charities and donors are able to rely on the most effective system of self-regulation.

"The fact that the three organisations came together to jointly commission this review and have now agreed a way forward shows that there is a common commitment across all to work together in a positive and constructive manner.

"We have already started putting in place more formal mechanisms for engagement; for example, there will be senior representation on committees or boards of all three organisations, which will only improve cross-organisational working. And, as the joint strategy develops, we’ll see the self-regulatory system as a whole improve even further."

Sally de la Bedoyere, chief executive of the PFRA, said: "It is not my policy to respond to information leaked to journalists. The summary represents the agreed direction of travel, which is the most important thing."

The PwC review, funded by the Cabinet Office, was a response to Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006, which found that having three bodies responsible for different areas of fundraising regulation was confusing for the public.

The Cabinet Office gave £20,000 to pay for the review with an additional £40,000 to come for implementation of recommendations.

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