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Regulator launches market inquiry into subcontractor use by fundraising agencies

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The Fundraising Regulator’s inquiry seeks to better understand how door-to-door and on-street fundraising sub-contracts are arranged and monitored in the sector.

Launched today (12 October) and led by Head of Proactive Regulation and Projects, Jim Tebbett, this is the first time the regulator has launched a market inquiry.

It will include fact-finding, sector engagement, and workshops with stakeholders. The regulator will also engage with other regulators and sector bodies to agree a process for action against those who prove unwilling to comply with the Code.


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Once concluded, the Fundraising Regulator will share its findings and produce targeted support to help charities and agencies fundraise responsibly using sub-contracted partners. This support will be led by sector feedback and could include written guidance, workshops and events.

Commenting, Lord Toby Harris, the Chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said:

“We always want to work with the sector to ensure that charitable fundraising is compliant with the Code of Fundraising Practice. However, the significant rise in the use of sub-contractors by fundraising agencies means that we and the charity sector need a better understanding of how these arrangements are created and monitored. This inquiry is intended to deepen that understanding and enable lessons to be drawn about how best such arrangements might be structured to ensure that the public are protected and the sector’s reputation is maintained.


“We are committed to working with the sector to understand how best to monitor and regulate the use of subcontracting. Our aim continues to be helping charities and fundraising agencies comply with the Code and fundraise responsibly, so the public has confidence and trust in the sector and charitable work can thrive.”

Earlier this month, Paul Winyard, the regulator’s Head of Policy wrote a blog urging charities to review their subcontracting relationships. In it, he said there was mounting evidence that some companies that are operating as sub-subcontractors are using fundraisers who are “insufficiently trained and motivated by commission-based payment structures”. This, he added, “has resulted in high-pressure sales tactics that may well breach the Code of Fundraising Practice and threaten to undermine public trust and confidence in the sector.”

The regulator also has separate ongoing investigations into charities who have worked with fundraising agencies that have engaged in sub-contracting. These will be unaffected by the inquiry.