Scottish observer to attend all Fundraising Regulator standards committee meetings

A memorandum of understanding agreed by the regulator and the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel also commits the two organisations to sharing information

- This story was corrected on 31 August 2017; please see final paragraph

An observer from the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel will attend all meetings of the Fundraising Regulator’s standards committee as part of a cooperation agreement between the watchdogs.

A memorandum of understanding, published yesterday, reveals the two organisations have pledged to share information to assist in each other’s investigations.

The Fundraising Regulator was established in January 2016 and launched the following July, but in June a working group convened by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations said it should have no role in Scotland. This led to the creation of the adjudication panel, which is suported by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and is formally known as the Independent Fundraising Standards and Adjudication Panel for Scotland. 

The memorandum of understanding says that the two bodies will work on a lead regulator model. The Fundraising Regulator will deal with complaints about charities that are based in England and Wales and are regulated by the Charity Commission. It will also regulate any fundraising companies based in England and Wales.

The Scottish panel, meanwhile, will deal with complaints about charities that are based in Scotland and regulated by the OSCR, but not Scotland-based fundraising companies, according to the memorandum.

The regulator has promised to consult the panel on any proposed changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice before any wider consultation takes place, the memorandum says.

Representatives from the panel will also attend meetings of the Fundraising Regulator’s adjudication committee when it is considering a complaint from a Scottish donor, or about fundraising practices taking place in Scotland, to offer background and context about fundraising in Scotland.

A panel representative will attend board meetings of the Fundraising Regulator when issues affecting Scotland are on the agenda and a representative of the Fundraising Regulator will attend quarterly meetings of the panel, the memorandum says.

In a statement, Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said: "This memorandum of understanding builds on the close working relationship we have developed with our regulatory colleagues in Scotland.

"It aims to ensure that, whether north or south of the border, the public experiences a consistent approach in how complaints are dealt with, while ensuring that national differences are identified and addressed in the Code of Fundraising Practice as they arise."

Alison Elliot, the panel’s chair, said it was looking forward to having a strong working relationship with the Fundraising Regulator based on the memorandum.

She said: "Together we hope to ensure that, across the UK, charities can be confident about how to raise funds and donors can be comfortable about giving, so that everyone benefits from the huge contribution that charities make to society."

- The story originally said the Scottish panel would deal with complaints about Scottish-based fundraising companies

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