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Reactions to the Etherington review on fundraising self-regulation

The publication of the review of fundraising self-regulation, chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington, has been mostly welcomed by a range of sector organisations.

Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness

The Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School, City University London, welcomed the recommendations and called for their immediate and full adoption and implementation.
Professor Stephen Lee, Professor of Voluntary Sector Management, said:

“Sir Stuart Etherington has produced the most significant and important review of the regulation of charity fundraising practice to be published in the past twenty years.
Its recommendations provide a powerful incentive for politicians and the charitable sector itself to implement the proposed new framework of co-regulation for fundraising with immediate effect.
The arguments developed in the report and the recommendations that flow from it are bold, radical and grounded in a common-sense approach that will do much to advance public confidence in the regulation of all UK charity fundraising practice going forward”.


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Alzheimer’s Society

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:

“Alzheimer’s Society welcomes Sir Stuart Etherington’s Commission review for tighter regulation of charities, to protect vulnerable people in society, including those with dementia. We strongly support the call for better training. As part of our commitment to leading the way in good practice and supporting others to do so, we have created an interactive telephone fundraising training package to ensure telephone fundraisers recognise vulnerability and handle contact with individuals in a way that is sensitive to their individual needs”.


Fundraising Standards Board

Not surprisingly, the Board issued a statement saying:

“We are very disappointed that the review calls for the closure of the FRSB and a new body to be established to regulate fundraising”.

Over 1,900 charities and fundraising suppliers have signed up to the FRSB’s independent self-regulatory scheme. Together they accounted for more than 50% of all voluntary income raised nationally.
The FRSB statement added:

“The FRSB has been clear during the course of the summer that regulation of fundraising requires fundamental reform. We support the Review’s overall conclusion that self-regulation in its current form has not been sufficient to identify the practices that were exposed most recently in the media and which are currently being investigated. Such practices are unacceptable and have critically damaged public trust in charities and charitable giving.
“We strongly believe that a revamped FRSB, properly resourced, would be the most viable and cost-effective way of moving forward in developing better regulation of charity fundraising.
“We recognise the many recommendations which the review has made. Our priority now is to work with colleagues within the regulatory framework, our members and the wider sector to support the establishment of the best regulatory model”.

The FRSB committed itself to working in the immediate future to “continue to deliver the current regulatory system, addressing public complaints and completing current investigations as well as any further allegations of poor practice which might arise”.

Institute of Fundraising

The IoF’s chief executive Peter Lewis welcomed the panel’s recognition of the need for “a regulator with stronger sanctions and real teeth; greater powers of investigation; and a firm and clear expectation that all charities should have to comply with the standards that are agreed” because that’s what its members had said they wanted to see.
He welcomed the review’s support for the Institute’s potential merger with the PFRA to create a single membership body for fundraising.
He expected some members to be concerned that the review recommends transferring ownership of the Code of Fundraising practice to the new regulator, he could understand “how from the public perspective, it is crucial to show there is no question of conflict of interest within the Code-setting process”.
He noted that the IoF had played a key role over 32 years in “bringing fundraisers together to set standards for fundraising higher than those standards required by law”, and how “thousands of fundraisers have given their time voluntarily and with integrity to improve the Code”.
Responding to both the Etherington review and SCVO’s review on the effectiveness of self-regulation of fundraising in Scotland, Lewis also welcomed SCVO’s recommendation that the Institute take the lead on ensuring fundraising practice is better aligned with the expectations of the general public and donors.

Charities Aid Foundation

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, endorsed the review’s recommendation about what constituted good fundraising, saying:

“Those who generously support charities should never feel under pressure and giving should be a rewarding experience, not one tainted by guilt or a fear of being asked for more.
“Sir Stuart’s review rightly proposes a robust new regulatory regime with independent powers and strong links to statutory authorities, alongside a new regime to give donors a clear and simple way to say no if they feel requests for donations have got out of hand. It is right that fundraising regulation should be in one clear place and that people who do not want to be contacted can opt out in an easy, hassle free way”.


Daily Mail

The Daily Mail made clear its satisfaction, reprising its claim of ‘Victory!’ on the front page. It had last made the claim in July after the government agreed to respond to its investigations into some fundraising activities by tabling legislation.
It reported on the report’s recommendations in:
• Your right to be left alone by the cold call charities: Public will be able to sign up to register that would ban any contact
Victory! After Mail’s revelations, a sweeping crackdown on charity sharks who prey on elderly and vulnerable
Daily Mail front page - Victory! - 23 September 2015

Other coverage

Charities should face fundraising ban if they harass donors – report
The Guardian
23 September 2015
Proposed new body to regulate all charities could be funded by levy on those spending £100k-plus on fundraising
Third Sector
23 September 2015
Abolish Fundraising Standards Board and take code-setting away from Institute of Fundraising, says Etherington review
Third Sector
23 September 2015
Proposed Fundraising Regulator should have bigger range of sanctions, review recommends
Third Sector
23 September 2015
Charity fundraising review: key points for the voluntary sector
The Guardian
23 September 2015
Three cheers for bold charity fundraising reform
Stephen Lee
The Guardian
23 September 2015

The U.K.’s New Fundraising Sheriff
The Agitator (USA)
24 September 2015