Agencies call for greater clarity in responses to fundraising code consultation

08 Feb 2017 News

Representatives from a number of fundraising agencies have called on the Fundraising Regulator to ensure “that evidence is given precedence over individual prejudices” when it comes to make amendments to the Code. 

Responding to the launch of the Fundraising Regulator’s consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice last Friday, Civil Society News contacted a number of third party fundraising agencies for a comment in relation to the proposed changes to the Code in relation to working with third party agencies.

Dominic Will, managing director of Home Fundraising and a trustee of the Institute of Fundraising, said it was “vital that evidence is given precedence over individual prejudices” when the Fundraising Regulator embarks on changing the Code.

“If public trust in charitable giving is to be protected and a better understanding of modern fundraising developed, then charities and third parties need much greater clarity around what constitutes effective, ethical working and an industry standard for how meaningful compliance measures can be achieved.

"The consultation document suggests creating more detailed guidance for this and, most importantly, the consultation itself sets the tone for a collaborative relationship with fundraising practitioners, industry bodies including the IoF's Compliance Directorate, the public and all key stakeholders moving forward. 

“Some further clarification on how responses from the consultation will be utilised would be welcome, and it’s vital that evidence is given precedence over individual prejudices. 

“Looking to the future, it is important that the Code remains a dynamic entity which can grow and develop, adapting to the changing fundraising environment."

A spokeswoman from an agency who wished not to be named also expressed reservations about the Fundraising Regulator not basing its proposed changes to the Code in relation to working with third parties on evidence. 

“Our concern is that the changes are being proposed when the Fundraising Regulator has not taken the opportunity to establish how they currently work” she said. “The changes are being proposed based solely on assumptions with no knowledge or testing of them in practice.”

As part of the consultation it launched last Friday, the fundraising watchdog proposed a raft of additions to the existing Code 4.2 b) which already says that: “Organisations must check and make all reasonable efforts to ensure the ongoing compliance of third parties with the Code and their legal requirements”. 

The regulator’s consultation proposed a working definition of “reasonable efforts” and a ten-bullet point checklist for compliance be added to the Code. 

Tony Charalambides, director of Listen Ltd, said the consultation “is a sensible step in the right direct and further proof that the sector as a whole is taking the need for an improved approach seriously”. 

IoF and NCVO praise ‘collaborative’ and ‘open’ consultation

The Institute of Fundraising described the consultation as “collaborative” and “open”. 

In a statement released last week, Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, praised the Fundraising Regulator’s “wide-ranging and open” approach to consulting with the sector over amendments to the Code of Fundraising Practice. 

Lewis called on the IoF’s membership to be involved in the process of consulting on changes to the code, which will run through until April. 

“It is essential that the expertise of fundraisers and the insight of donors informs any changes to the Code and we will be working with the Regulator and our members to ensure this is the case. 

"We want as many of our members to be involved as possible, so we’ll be responding formally to the consultation through our Standards Advisory Board and will publish a draft response with the opportunity for members to feedback, ahead of our final submission.”

NCVO said it is “a crucial opportunity” for the sector to continue with the process of “improving on its own high standards” and rebuilding public trust and confidence in the sector. 

Elizabeth Chamberlain, head of policy and public service at NCVO, said: “Since the last comprehensive update of the Code of Fundraising Practice, there have been a range of developments in the sector and its operating environment which the code should reflect. 

“This is why we welcome the consultation as a crucial opportunity for the sector to demonstrate its commitment to continually reviewing and improving its own high standards. I hope that fundraisers and anyone else with an interest in the sector will respond to the proposed changes.”

Ian MacQuillin, director of Rogare, said: “At first blanch most of these proposals seem pretty sensible and proportionate,” and welcomed the regulator’s announcement it wouldn’t be undertaking a “root and branch” overhaul of the Code. 


More on