The FRSB upheld the complaint about the continued delivery of unwanted clothing collection bags to a household in Cambridgeshire. The complainant contacted the NSPCC in November last year to object to receiving an unwanted collection bag from Clothes Aid, which conducts house-to-house collections on behalf of the charity.
The complainant had first contacted Clothes Aid to request no further bag deliveries to their address in September 2007. While the company provided immediate assurances that no further bags would be delivered, Clothes Aid had gone on to deliver five further collection bags to the complainant’s address, four of which were on behalf of the NSPCC.
The complainant informed the FRSB that there was a sign on the door of the household, making it clear that any such materials should not be delivered. However, according to Clothes Aid, its bag distributor did not see such a sign when the bag was dropped off at the property and no signage was apparent during a subsequent visit.
The complainant believed that the continued delivery of unwanted collection bags hindered their right to privacy, constituted harassment and demonstrated a lack of respect for their wishes not to receive unwanted marketing materials.
The FRSB concluded that Clothes Aid did not have adequate procedures in place to ensure that the complainant’s wishes were respected and, as such, that Clothes Aid had breached the ‘Respectful’ principle of the Code of Fundraising Practice (Code).
While considering NSPCC’s responsibilities in this case, the FRSB found that the charity had made reasonable efforts to monitor the actions of Clothes Aid. Both Clothes Aid and NSPCC have subsequently enhanced their processes to ensure that the wishes of householders who choose not to receive collection bags are met.
The FRSB believes that ‘No bags’ signage must be respected and that collection bags should not be delivered to households displaying them. Because this issue is not currently addressed in the Code, the FRSB has highlighted the issue to the new Fundraising Regulator, who will consider whether to develop additional specific guidance for fundraisers.
The adjudication report has now been passed to the new Regulator, which took on regulatory responsibility for charity fundraising and ownership of the Code of Fundraising Practice in July 2016.
Commenting on the adjudication, Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said:
“This adjudication highlights the need for charities and agencies to respect the wishes of members of the public in relation to fundraising asks. ‘No bags’ signage means what it says. We will consider whether the Code of Fundraising Practice needs to be amended to reinforce that point.”
A final two FRSB investigations will be published and passed to the new Regulator in the coming weeks.
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