The charities and the fundraising agency at the centre of the Daily Mail’s campaign against some fundraising practices have welcomed the government’s announcement that it will legislate to "protect the vulnerable from aggressive fundraisers and rogue charities" and launch a review of the self-regulation of fundraising.
Oxfam, the NSPCC, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Save the Children said they viewed the government’s plans positively, as did the Fundraising Standards Board and GoGen, the agency that has been accused in the Daily Mail of exploiting loopholes in cold-calling rules.
The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association welcomed the selection of Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, to lead the review, but declined to comment on the proposed new legislation, and the charity chief executives body Acevo urged the government not to "throw the baby out with the bathwater".
But one senior fundraising figure, who did not wish to be named, told Third Sector that he doubted anyone in the sector would want to criticise the plans because they were "battered and bruised" by the media coverage over the past two months.
The new rules were not significantly different from the rules currently in place for fundraisers, he said.
He said it was good that Etherington had been appointed to lead the review rather than a former police officer or judge, and this demonstrated that the government wanted a model of regulation "delivered by the sector for the sector".
He said: "I can think of a big list of people who would not be as friendly to the sector."
Giuseppe Iantosca, company director at GoGen, told Third Sector: "We welcome the announcement and we’ll do everything we can to cooperate and feed in from our telemarketing experience, supplying any evidence that is required on trends or any information they want from us."
Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, said: "Those who care about charities want to see more fundraising, not less. But we cannot condone behaviour that harms vulnerable people, so we support this move and will work with government to ensure a fair settlement for the charities, donors and beneficiaries. We must, however, not throw the baby out with the bathwater."
Peter Hills-Jones, chief executive of the PFRA, said: "I am delighted that the government has asked Sir Stuart Etherington to chair a review of the current self-regulatory system for charity fundraising. Sir Stuart commands widespread respect within the charity sector, and I look forward to working with him closely over the next two months."
Alistair McLean, chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, said: "Having highlighted the need for greater safeguards for people in vulnerable circumstances a few weeks ago, we welcome the announcement that a new law will be introduced to ensure closer scrutiny of charities' management of contracted fundraising agencies. Transparency and respect must be at the heart of all fundraising practice; we welcome these additional measures to rebuild public trust and to enable people to make more informed choices about their giving."
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam, Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, Nick Georgiadis, head of direct giving at Cancer Research UK, and spokespeople for the NSPCC, Macmillan and Save the Children all said their charities welcomed the actions the government was taking.
It is understood that Etherington's review is expected to report back by 19 September, which would enable any necessary legislative changes to be added to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill while it is still going through parliament.