Regulator to probe fundraising subcontractors in first-ever market inquiry

12 Oct 2023 News

Fundraising Regulator logo

The Fundraising Regulator has opened its first market inquiry which will look into issues with charities using subcontractors in fundraising. 

Its inquiry comes after a media investigation uncovered that external fundraisers were pressuring people to make donations to charities.

The regulator aims to better understand how door-to-door and on-street fundraising subcontracts are arranged and monitored in the charity sector.

It also has ongoing investigations into charities that have worked with fundraising agencies that have engaged in subcontracting. These include the National Deaf Children's Society and SOS Children's Villages. 

New hire to lead inquiry

Jim Tebbett, appointed as the regulator’s first head of proactive regulation and projects in June, will lead the inquiry, which will include fact-finding via sector engagement and workshops.

The regulator expects the market inquiry to report in early 2024 with the findings published thereafter. 

The regulator could also produce written guidance, workshops and events to help charities and agencies fundraise responsibly using subcontracted partners.

It plans to work with other regulators and sector bodies to agree on a process for action against those who are unwilling to comply with the Code of Fundraising Practice.

The regulator recently said that it would consider “whether the standards in the code need to be updated and possibly strengthened” to address bad subcontracting practice.

Chair: We need a better understanding of subcontracting arrangements

Lord Harris, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “We always want to work with the sector to ensure that charitable fundraising is compliant with the Code of Fundraising Practice. 

“However, the significant rise in the use of subcontractors by fundraising agencies means that we and the charity sector need a better understanding of how these arrangements are created and monitored.

“This inquiry is intended to deepen that understanding and enable lessons to be drawn about how best such arrangements might be structured to ensure that the public are protected and the sector’s reputation is maintained.
“We are committed to working with the sector to understand how best to monitor and regulate the use of subcontracting.

“Our aim continues to be helping charities and fundraising agencies comply with the code and fundraise responsibly, so the public has confidence and trust in the sector and charitable work can thrive.”

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