Fundraising Regulator committee members step back from Neet Feet investigation over conflicts of interest

14 Jul 2016 News

Two members of the Fundraising Regulator's adjudications committee will step back from the organisation's first investigation due to conflicts of interest.

According to a spokesman from Pagefield, the regulator’s public relations company, both Peter Hills-Jones, chief executive of the PFRA, and Catherine Cotterell, deputy executive director of fundraising at Unicef UK, will not be involved in the adjudication committee's first-ever investigation.

The Fundraising Regulator will investigate Neet Feet, a face-to-face fundraising agency, after it was named in The Sun's latest investigation into unethical fundraising practices, which was published on Monday.

The agency is currently listed as an organisational member of the PFRA, although the PFRA has said it is in the process of suspending the agency. And Unicef UK was one of the charities named in the article as having worked with the agency.  

The Pagefield spokesman said: “The Fundraising Regulator will follow standard corporate good practice to manage conflicts of interest – all will be declared, with consideration given to how they can be managed.

“Where a complaint or adjudication relates to a charity with which a member is involved, that individual would step back from involvement in the debate and decision.”
He said that as a result, Hills-Jones and Cotterell would step back from the investigation. 

Both the PFRA and Unicef UK have been approached for comment. 

Make-up of the two committees 

The Fundraising Regulator published the lists of people who will make up both its adjudication and standards committees on its website to coincide with its launch late last week.

The spokesman said there is at least one vacancy still to be filled on the standards committee, but “there are no plans to do that immediately”. The spokesman said that the adjudications committee has been fully appointed.

The standards committee will oversee the development of the Code of Fundraising Practice and associated rulebooks, which were last week handed over by the Institute of Fundraising and the Public Fundraising Association.

The standards committee will be chaired by Suzanne McCarthy, who also sits on the Fundraising Regulator’s board. McCarthy was also chair of the former standards committee that was based with the IoF.

Lay members on the board include Guy Parker, chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, Nick Jones, interim executive director of marketing, fundraising and communications at Save the Children, and Louise Parkes, corporate director of income and innovation at Barnardo’s.

Michael Smyth has been announced as chair of the adjudication committee. Smyth is a visiting professor at Queen Mary University of London and was a partner at law firm Clifford Chance for over 20 years as its head of government practice.

Lay members of the adjudications committee include Andrew Nebel, non-executive director of Moorfields Eye Hospital, and Lucy Caldicott, interim chief executive of Diversity Role Models.


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