The Self-Regulation Steering Committee, comprising senior representatives from many voluntary organisations, is today releasing proposals for a new self-regulatory scheme covering charitable fundraising.
The Self-Regulation scheme or Regulation of Fundraising Scheme (‘RFS’) will comprise three elements: administration and control, membership scheme and complaints procedures, and standards.
An independent Regulation of Fundraising Unit (RFU) will administer the scheme, operating as a discrete division within the office of the Institute of Fundraising. An independent Council, made up of representatives from within the sector, members of the public and other independent experts, will be responsible for overseeing the development of fundraising standards and the management of the complaints procedures.
A membership scheme will be established that will be open to organisations seeking to raise funds, those advising them and professional fundraisers under which they agree to adhere to the highest standards of fundraising, to promote the scheme and to submit to its complaints handling regime. Membership will not be restricted to, or linked with, membership of any other membership body, such as the Institute of Fundraising, for example.
At the core of the regulation will be the the adoption, development and dissemination of the Codes of Fundraising Practice and a Donors’ Charter. It is anticipated that there will be a single set of standards for the whole of the UK. The current Codes of Fundraising Practice, produced by the Institute of Fundraising, will be recognised by the regulatory scheme, but the Codes are likely to be adapted and added to in an ongoing effort to drive up standards.
The proposals include benefits for fundraisers and fundraising organisationsthat sign up as members of the self-regulation scheme. These include help and ./guidance from the RFU in the form of toolkits and telephone advice; and access to an independent, donor-focused complaints structure.
In return members will be required to:
- adhere to all applicable Codes of Fundraising Practice;
- use the logo on all fundraising materials and their website (transitional arrangements will be made to allow smaller organisations to comply with these requirements);
- provide donors with access to hard copies of the Donors’ Charter, details of the scheme and complaints procedures;
- put in place an annual audit and procedures to monitor adherence to the Codes;
- establish an internal complaints handling procedure;
- submit an annual return to the scheme;
- agree to be monitored by the scheme to abide by decisions made by the Council in response to complaints;
- and pay the appropriate membership fee.
The Institute of Fundraising has commissioned a business plan outlining how much charities will need to pay to sign up, when the scheme is likely to break even and how much financial support will be required from the Government. The Home Office is currently reviewing these documents to confirm the level of funding that will be provided.
Simon Hebditch, Chair of the Steering Committee and Executive Director (External Affairs) at Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), said: “In order for self-regulation to succeed, it is vital that the scheme engages fundraisers and fundraising organisations across the sector. But, at the same time, it must be a robust regulatory scheme with real penalties attached – not just a paper exercise. The public must be confident that any complaints they have will be dealt with swiftly and fairly. The complaints procedures and processes need to be firm enough to instil the highest standards in fundraising practice.
“As with many other specialist trades, from the media to the medical profession, self-regulation gives us the opportunity to harness the expertise of people who work in fundraising to regulate the profession that they know so much about. Self-regulation is an opportunity for the sector to establish best practice in fundraising and, with time, to make real headway in increasing public confidence in charities even further.”
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