Charity regulators respond to potential AI monitoring responsibilities

27 Sep 2023 News

Charity regulators have responded to suggestions that they could be charged with regulating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) within the sector.

A government white paper, published in March, states that sector-specific regulators will implement the government’s AI framework. 

The AI white paper states that the government’s framework will be underpinned by “a set of principles that will drive consistency across regulators while also providing them with the flexibility needed”.

At a Charity Forum event last week, sector consultant Zoe Amar said that the Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator will be responsible for issuing guidance on the technology and regulating it. 

Amar said: “What seems to happen as part of [the white paper] is some of the regulation is going to get devolved to sector-specific regulators.

“In the context of the charity sector, that will be charged to the Charity Commission, the Fundraising Regulator, and all these different types of regulation are in theory, supposed to last 12 months from the white paper coming out.”

Fundraising Regulator: ‘We remain mindful of its potential risks’ 

The Fundraising Regulator told Civil Society that it is up to the government how AI is regulated.

Its Code of Fundraising Practice is currently undergoing a review which will consider incorporating specific guidance on the use and outcomes of AI.

This will not be confirmed until early 2025, when the new and updated code is expected to be published. 

“While the Fundraising Regulator will have no role in regulating AI as a technology, we will continue to regulate the use of and outcomes of AI as they relate to charitable fundraising,” said Jim Tebbett, head of proactive regulation and projects at the Fundraising Regulator.

“The Fundraising Regulator will be exploring how or whether AI can be used to improve our own work, but we remain mindful of its potential risks as well as its potential benefits for the charity sector, and we advise charity trustees to remain aware of those risks, and ensure that they remain compliant with code, both in its current and future forms.”

Meanwhile, a Charity Commission spokesperson said: “The use of artificial intelligence is becoming more and more prominent, with impacts felt across all sectors.

“As with any technological advance or major change in our society, we continue to monitor what this might mean for the charitable sector and our role as regulator.” 

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