Stephen Cook: Jostling begins after Etherington review

Now he's made his recommendations on the regulation of fundraising, the practical matter of putting them into effect begins, writes the editor of Third Sector

Stephen Cook
Stephen Cook

Making decisions is one thing; putting them into effect is quite another. And now that the government has set its seal on the Etherington review of fundraising regulation, the practical matter of making it happen gets under way.
There will inevitably be lobbying for amendments. Our analysis of fundraising regulation suggests there is strong resistance to the proposed Fundraising Preference Service (why is there no such service for all the other junk mail and cold calling?). Some also argue that the new Fundraising Regulator should be a development of, rather than a replacement for, the Fundraising Standards Board. Maybe there will be second thoughts.

But as things stand, the FRSB and the Public Fundraising Association are slated to disappear (and the Conservative charity specialist Lord Hodgson will no longer be able to make his cherished joke about alphabet soup). Perhaps the least likely proposition is that it will all come to fruition within six months.
There are two schools of thought – neatly captured by our cartoonist Fran – about the torrid year that charities, and fundraising in particular, have gone through. One is sanguine – we can live with all this, and normality will return. The other is despondent – the world has changed, and will never be the same again.

Whatever happens, the sector definitely needs to be more robust in refuting the aspects of recent criticism that are exaggerated and unfounded. This is the argument of Jeremy Hughes of the Alzheimer’s Society in our interview with him. And the news has just come out that the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the chief executives body Acevo will jointly put their weight into this. About time, many will say.

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