Charity fundraisers to face tighter regulations

David Cameron
David Cameron

The UK government has introduced an amendment to the Charities Bill which will tighten rules on how professional fundraisers approach vulnerable people.

The new rules will see charities with incomes over £1 million compelled to set out steps they’ve taken to prevent inappropriate fundraising from vulnerable people.

Professional fundraising agencies will also have to set out in their agreements with charities what steps they are taking to protect vulnerable people from being pressured to give money, and how charities can monitor compliance.

Announcing the move yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The conduct of some fundraisers used by them is frankly unacceptable and damages the reputation of the sector as a whole, which is why we’re introducing a new law to make sure charities raise funds in the right sort of way.”

The announcement comes shortly after the death of Britain’s oldest poppy seller, 92-year old Olive Cooke, who was reportedly receiving hundreds of letters and phone calls urging her to set up recurring donations to various charities.

Charities have been forced to deny allegations that the requests amounted to harassment and could have contributed to her sudden death.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), is also to chair a “wide-ranging review” of fundraising self-regulation.

Writing on the NCVO website, Sir Etherington said: “The review will take evidence from many stakeholders – including those representing vulnerable groups – in order to identify what changes are required to rebuild public trust in fundraising by charities.

“As part of our work, we will look at approaches to regulation in other areas, with a goal of identifying changes that will substantially strengthen the current system.

“The review panel will have representation from the different political parties.

“The minister has asked me to report back by mid-September. We will publish further details and the terms of reference shortly.”

The Charities Bill is currently moving through the Houses of Parliament.

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