On 3 February 2017, the Fundraising Regulator announced its first consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice (the Code). The consultation will run until the end of April 2017.
The Code (and its associated rulebooks for street and door fundraising) set out the standards expected of fundraising charities in the UK. These standards were developed through the work of the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and Public Fundraising Association. Ownership of the Code was formally transferred from the IoF to the Fundraising Regulator at the time of its launch on 7 July 2016, in line with the recommendations made by Sir Stuart Etherington's cross-party Review of Fundraising Regulation in 2015.
Whilst the consultation marks the first major development of the Code since it was transferred to the Fundraising Regulator, the proposed changes do not amount to a "root and branch" overhaul. Instead, the consultation covers a number of specific issues (some of which arose in the Fundraising Regulator’s adjudication decision on the Neet Feet Fundraising Agency in November 2016):
- solicitation (disclosure) statements – the consultation proposes requiring these statements to be given before an individual makes a commitment to donate;
- whistleblowing – the consultation proposes that fundraising organisations should be required to have an internal procedure for staff and volunteers to raise concerns;
- people in vulnerable circumstances – the consultation asks whether the Code’s current requirements on treating donors fairly and protecting vulnerable people are sufficient;
- charity collection bags – the consultation proposes a requirement not to deliver charity collection bags to a property displaying a "no charity bags" or "no junk mail" sign;
- third parties – the consultation proposes greater clarity on what steps charities are expected to take to ensure the compliance of third parties with which they work. It also suggests providing examples of "unreasonable intrusion" on a person's privacy, "unreasonably persistent approaches" or "undue pressure" (all terms used in the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016), so as to aid fundraisers' understanding of their responsibilities.
The consultation does not cover:
- the Fundraising Preference Service – guidance for this service is to be announced closer to its launch later in 2017;
- data and consent – the Fundraising Regulator published its new guidance in this area, entitled "Personal Information and Fundraising: Consent, Purpose and Transparency" on 21 February 2017.
If you require further information on anything covered in this briefing please contact James Maloney(firstname.lastname@example.org) or your usual contact at the firm on 020 3375 7000.
This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
© Farrer & Co LLP, March 2017