Scottish fundraising panel has had no complaints to investigate

Alison Elliot, the panel's chair, says the lack of complaints seems to show that people are more content with fundraising practices in Scotland than those south of the border

Direct mail: source of some complaints south of the border
Direct mail: source of some complaints south of the border

The Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel has not been required to investigate any complaints about fundraising practices in Scotland since it started work in December.

A spokeswoman for the panel told Third Sector that although the panel had received some complaints from members of the public, none had merited investigation, either because they fell outside the panel’s remit, or because the complainant had not contacted the charity in question with their complaint first.

In a blog, Alison Elliot, chair of the panel, said the lack of complaints seemed to show that people in Scotland were more content with fundraising practices than people in England.

"We know of some disquiet, but it’s not on the scale they have down south," she said.

By contrast, a spokesman for the Fundraising Regulator, which regulates fundraising in England and Wales, said it was typically investigating about 20 complaints at any one time.

The SFSP oversees only charities registered in Scotland, while larger charities registered in England but operating on both sides of the border would fall into the remit of the Fundraising Regulator.

This, Elliot said in her blog, has meant "we have very few large charities based in Scotland that are in a position to outsource their fundraising, which is where a lot of the trouble can happen".

But despite the lack of complaints the panel should not be complacent, she said.

"People don’t suddenly don halos when they cross the border," she said. "Perhaps people don’t know that they should get in touch with us."

She did, however, acknowledge that "plenty" of people had been in touch with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator to complain about things besides fundraising.

Ultimately, she said, the Scottish sector needed to concentrate on keeping standards high in fundraising.

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