Sector voices opposition to 'no cold calling' zones

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association is backing a campaign to resist a proliferation of 'no cold calling' zones that could heavily restrict door-to-door fundraising.

The Direct Selling Association will this week try to persuade the Trading Standards Institute to replace the zones with 'cold calling controlled zones' - a system that would allow endorsed charities and legitimate traders to call on householders.

Existing no cold calling zones allow residents to put up signs warning cold callers - including charity representatives - to stay away. Up to 350 have already been set up since the Trading Standards Institute introduced the scheme in June last year, and it anticipates that 650 more will exist by the end of 2006. The scheme could affect cash collections and charities recruiting direct debit donors.

The PFRA is supporting the Direct Selling Association campaign. "Zones have a place in discouraging rogue traders, but we believe some councils are cynically using them as a vehicle to stop door-to-door fundraising," said Nik Earl, communications manager at the PFRA. "Some councils fail to understand that there are checks already in place."

Jeff Dale, head of marketing at Christian Aid, said the zones could threaten the £15m a year the charity raises from door-to-door collections.

"The kind of cold calling being talked about is not the sort of community fundraising we carry out," he said. "It would be a great shame if the traditions of Christian Aid Week were threatened."

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