Terms of reference for review of self-regulation of fundraising announced

The terms of reference for the review of the self-regulatory system of fundraising have been agreed.

Chaired by NCVO chief executive Sir Stuart Etherington, the review panel will be comprised of Lord Leigh of Hurley, Baroness Pitkeathley, and Lord Wallace of Saltaire.

The review will look at the effectiveness of the current self-regulatory system for fundraising in light of recent high-profile cases.

It will make recommendations and proposals to ministers, the charity sector and other bodies involved in fundraising on the changes needed to ensure an effective system of self-regulation which protects the interests and the confidence of the public while serving beneficiaries.

The review will cover the main forms of fundraising: direct mail, telephone, doorstep, and textile collections.

It will consider the structure of self-regulation, and the relationship between standard-setting, enforcement, and operational management. The operation of the self-regulatory system and the current self-regulatory bodies will also be examined.

The scope of regulation will be covered by the review, including who is and is not regulated, and sanctions. It will also cover the responsibilities of charity chief executives and trustees, the role of third-party fundraisers and their relationship with charities, and the relationship between the fundraising sector and the public.

NCVO will act as secretariat with Cabinet Office support. The review panel and secretariat will consult with representatives of the public interest, consumer experts, parliamentarians, fundraising self-regulatory bodies, and chief executives/chairs of large fundraising charities and umbrella representatives of small charities.

Representatives of commercial fundraisers will also be consulted, along with media representatives, other self-regulatory bodies, and academics specialising in regulation.

The review was announced on the weekend, alongside amendments to the Charities Bill providing extra safeguards for vulnerable people to protect them from aggressive fundraising methods.

Fundraising has come under intense scrutiny in recent months following the death of 92 year-old Bristol woman Olive Cooke. In particular, the Daily Mail has run several high profile stories exposing alleged poor practice among fundraisers.

The amendment to the Bill has now been introduced, including a requirement for large charities to set out their fundraising approach in their trustees’ annual report, including the use of professional fundraising agencies and the steps in place to prevent inappropriate fundraising.

The review of self-regulation is expected to report by Monday 21 September 2015.

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