The quality of trusteeship and governance in the sector is still presenting significant challenges for the Fundraising Regulator, its outgoing chief executive has said.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Fundraising Magazine, Stephen Dunmore said that "there are real challenges facing the sector, particularly in regards to the quality of trusteeship and governance".
Dunmore, who will step down at the end of this month after two-and-a-half years in charge, said that trustees are often of "mixed ability" and "lack awareness" of their legal responsibilities.
"There is plenty of guidance out there, but if people are not reading it or paying attention to it, then I really do worry about the role of trustees moving forward. The sector needs sensible and aware trustees, but finding them is a real challenge."
Dunmore also said that a lack of diversity at board level in the charity sector was holding back many organisations. "At grassroots level, things are probably no worse than they are in any other sector, but once you get to senior positions and on the boards of trustees there is a lot to be desired."
"The charity sector can be very self-righteous about this type of issue and talks a good talk on diversity, but in actual fact it is lagging far behind the public and private sectors on this. More needs to be done."
He said that it is up to umbrella bodies to really drive change in this regard. "Acevo and the NCVO really need to be stronger and take a lead on these issues," he said.
Keeping up with the times
Dunmore said that he thinks that the dynamic nature of the industry at the moment, particularly in terms of fundraising and data protection, means that trustees need to be much more on top of regulation and legislative change.
"The General Data Protection Regulation is going to have a long-term impact on the way charities contact the public. If charities are aware, clean their data and get their consents sorted out, then we will get less complaints. But some trustees, often of smaller charities, have never heard of GDPR and are not aware of what they need to do. So, there is an education process that still needs to be implemented."
Dunmore will leave the post at the end of June to be replaced by current head of policy and communications at the regulator Gerald Oppenheim.
Subscribers can read the full interview with Dunmore here.