Stephen Dunmore hopes to have new regulator in control within six months

Interim chief executive of Fundraising Regulator wants to take over Institute of Fundraising and Fundraising Standards Board responsibilities by summer

Stephen Dunmore
Stephen Dunmore

The new Fundraising Regulator aims to take over the Code of Fundraising Practice from the Institute of Fundraising and take on the Fundraising Standards Board’s workload within the next six months, its new interim chief executive Stephen Dunmore has said.

In his first interview since starting his new role earlier this month, Dunmore – who was chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund until 2008 – told Third Sector he also wanted to put in place by the end of June a system that enabled the regulator to charge large charities a levy.

Dunmore, who will earn £80,000 for completing a 12-month contract that began earlier this month, said he had had positive early discussions with the IoF and the Public Fundraising Association about transferring the Code of Fundraising Practice and the PFRA Rule Book to the regulator.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, said last September that the organisation had anticipated handing over the code within 18 months, but Dunmore said this was now expected to happen by the early summer.

"The intention of me and Lord Grade [interim chair of the Fundraising Regulator] is that we will be up and running in the spring or early summer," he said. "The code and the rules for street and door-to-door fundraising will have transferred to us; we’ll have taken on responsibility for any new casework or adjudications coming in to the FRSB after that point; and the levy will be in place."

He said that staff from the Fundraising Standards Board would have the right to seek jobs with the new regulator and that, as per the Etherington review, he planned to fund the regulator by means of a levy on charities that spend at least £100,000 a year on fundraising.

He said it would not be mandatory for such charities to pay but the government would be "watching very carefully" and could enforce the amendment recently added to the charities bill to bring in mandatory registration of the regulator if self-regulation was deemed to have failed.

He said he anticipated raising £2m a year from the levy – which would come to about £1,000 each if it was applied equally across the approximately 2,000 charities that spend more than £100,000 a year on fundraising – but he was currently considering whether to vary the size of the levy according to the amount charities spent on fundraising.

Dunmore said that charities of all sizes would be encouraged to register with the regulator, for which they might be charged a small administration fee. In doing so, they would indicate their support for the body and their willingness to abide by its rules, he said.

He said that although the working group considering how to implement the proposed Fundraising Preference Service was due to report its findings by early summer, the service might not be in place until April 2017 because it would take at least six months to set up the contracts and database necessary to run such a service.

Dunmore said he did not yet have a view on how the FPS would work, but several leading charities had highlighted potential problems with the proposal. He stressed that the effectiveness of any measures put in place by the regulator would be evaluated over time.

Asked if he would be willing to allow Suzanne McCarthy, the independent chair of the IoF’s standards committee, to be appointed to a similar role on the new fundraising practice committee at the Fundraising Regulator, he said this was something he was considering "very seriously". He said he wanted to take advantage of the existing resources available at the IoF and the FRSB. This is likely to please the IoF’s Lewis, who indicated in December that he wanted McCarthy to move to the new regulator.

Dunmore said the regulator would use office space donated by the Charities Aid Foundation at its headquarters in London for the first six months of its operation. It currently has about six staff but will look to increase this to up to 20 in the summer, when it will also seek larger, more permanent premises, he said.

He said the composition of the regulator’s new board would be announced in the coming weeks.

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