LGA to promote PFRA fundraising agreements to councils

28 Nov 2012 News

The Local Government Association is calling on councils concerned about street fundraising practices to strike agreements with the PFRA to manage face-to-face fundraising on their high streets.

The Local Government Association is calling on councils concerned about street fundraising practices to strike agreements with the PFRA to manage face-to-face fundraising on their high streets.

The LGA will today announce the joint national agreement with the face-to-face regulator after a survey of its members found that three quarters of councils are concerned about the effect aggressive face-to-face fundraising could have on their residents and regions.

It is the first time that the LGA has recommended that its members strike agreements with the PFRA which place limits on the number of fundraisers on their streets, the days and location of fundraising among other issues to do with street fundraising. The PFRA presently has these ‘site management agreements’ with 52 local governments, but the figures may soon rise as the LGA recommends the 423 councils which make up its membership to engage with the fundraising body.

The agreement, called ‘Making the Pledge’, is indicative of the PFRA’s renewed focus on engaging with the local government sector, rather than advocating for face-to-face fundraising in the mainstream media or indeed promoting it within the charity sector itself.

Cllr Mehboob Khan, Kirklees Council leader and chair of the LGA Safer and Stronger Communities board (pictured right, next to PFRA chair Paul Stallard), said that a balance needs to be struck between charities right to ask, and individuals’ right to not be bullied into giving.

“Councils tell us that their residents and businesses can feel pressured by the aggressive behaviour of some face-to-face fundraisers, and that they have no powers to stop this from deterring visitors and impacting on local business activity,” he said in a statement ahead of the agreement launch. “The LGA has worked with the PFRA to strengthen and make more transparent the voluntary agreements that all charities collecting this way are signed up to, while we wait for central government to reform the licensing regime.”

The regulations regarding public collections is one of the unresolved issues brought up in the Charities Act 2006. Much of street fundraising is permitted – or otherwise – by local councils using an out-of-date law from 1916, but the Charities Act had proposed that street fundraising, as well as other charitable collections, be brought under one regulatory regime. This, however, has not yet happened.

The Institute of Fundraising, which is responsible for writing the codes of conduct for fundraising, has welcomed the agreement between the PFRA and LGA. 

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