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Shawcross: 'chugging is a blight on the charitable sector'

William Shawcross, chair, Charity Commission
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Shawcross: 'chugging is a blight on the charitable sector'2

Fundraising | Vibeka Mair | 4 Dec 2012

William Shawcross, chair of the Charity Commission, has said face-to-face fundraising, or 'chugging', is a “blight on the charitable sector”.

Giving evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) today, Shawcross agreed with Tory MP Charlie Elphicke, a long-standing opponent of chugging, that it was “damaging to the brand of charity”.

But Shawcross said it would be a huge responsibility for the Commission to start regulating fundraising in place of current self-regulation. “It would be a huge departure for the Charity Commission to police chuggers,” he said. He suggested instead that the public should put pressure on charity trustees about chugging.

Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission, also said chugging was a real concern, but that there was a resource issue and it would cost the Commission an estimated £4m to regulate fundraising.

The Commission's stance is at odds with the minister for civil society, Nick Hurd, who also gave evidence to the PASC today. He defended chugging, saying self-regulation appeared to be working, referring to recent activity between the PFRA and the Local Government Association in promoting local site management agreements.

When asked what the public could do when feeling harassed by chuggers, Hurd said: “Cross the road”.

Andrew
4 Dec 2012

I too have concerns about street fundraising but find it hard to understand the Commission's position. They are saying it is a "blight" but that they won't regulate it, yet they regulate other activities that cause much less concern both to them and the public. So where is the proportionality in their regulatory focus?

Helen Cowell
Disability Challengers
4 Dec 2012

I agree with William Shawcross. 'Chugging' is a legal loophole that has been milked by some charities. The collection of money on the High Street is governed by the Police, Factories (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 which states that collectors of cash must be stationary, positioned at least 25 metres apart and cannot approach shoppers. The only reason 'chuggers' get away with what they do is because they are not collecting actual cash and the rules do not apply. I think the law needs updating in line with cash collections.

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