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Self-regulation of fundraising is broadly OK as it is, PwC concludes

Self-regulation of fundraising is broadly OK as it is, PwC concludes

The investigation into the self-regulation of fundraising conducted by PwC  has recommended no significant changes to the current model.

PwC’s report was jointly commissioned by the Fundraising Standards Board, Institute of Fundraising and Public Fundraising Regulatory Association in August last year. It followed a call made by Lord Hodgson in his review of the Charities Act 2006 for the three bodies simplify the “confusing” self-regulatory regime.

However, despite speculation that PwC would recommend PFRA and FRSB merge with the Institute, the report says: “We do not believe that immediate significant structural change would be beneficial to the organisations, self-regulation or the sector.” It then makes a number of recommendations for each organisation to consider that would allow them to continue to work more effectively “in their current form”.

Proposed amendments to the self-regulatory regime include:

Development of an overarching shared strategy for self–regulation of fundraising in the UK

  • The setting up of an online portal so that there is one public face, run by the FRSB for the regime as a whole. This would act as the ‘gateway’ for self-regulation and signpost visitors the IoF and PFRA sites, underpinned by a shared communications strategy.
  • The role of the PFRA evolving over the next three years to be more monitoring/compliance focused (but only on topics agreed by the three organisations) and becoming more aligned to the IoF to enable it to be sufficiently flexible to respond to the new ‘hot topics’ in the sector.
  • Consideration of shared logistics, such as back office or a shared communications officer, in the future. The closest the report comes to suggesting substantial change is to say that it might be “more efficient” in the future to run the PFRA as a “department or subsidiary” of the IoF.

PwC believes fine-tuning this manner will future-proof self-regulation and ensure it is sufficiently flexible and practical to adapt to and respond, in a proportionate manner, to a changing external environment which supports both the sector and the public’s trust and confidence in fundraising”.

PwC recommends the three bodies now develop “shared strategy” and “vision” to implement the full list of recommendations, which include:


• Establish an independent review process to allow complainants and charities a right of appeal.

• Work with PFRA and IoF on power to expel repeat offenders from the self-regulatory regime.

• Perform a code of compliance review on new members.


• Consider an independent chair of the standards committee.

• Take responsibility for advocating for the entire sector, including face-to-face fundraising.

• Create a consumer/public panel to feed into code reviews conducted by the standards committee.

• A more formal mechanism for the standards committee to respond to PFRA and FRSB recommendations.


• Improve the board’s skills mix by bringing members form other self-regulating industries such as financial and legal.

• Be ready to respond to the rise in doorstep fundraising.

• As it can carry out its role without being called a ‘regulator’ it should drop the ‘R’ from its name.

Separation of powers

The report has been welcomed by all three organisations. A joint statement says:

“We are confident that the report provides us all with a number of opportunities to streamline our activities and strengthen our respective roles. We will now be working closely with our memberships and reviewing how best to implement the recommendations made by PwC.”

PFRA has said in the past the self-regulation of fundraising follows the governmental ‘separation of powers’ model, which has separate bodies to make, enforce/enact and adjudicate laws. If the case of fundraising self-regulation, the IoF takes the role of the legislature, the PFRA is the executive and FRSB is the judiciary.

You can read a summary of the report by PwC.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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