Fundraising legislation and reviews move forward

The House of Lords has agreed amendments to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill which will bring in new fundraising regulations. Also below: more on the Etherington review into fundraising self-regulation and separate Commons committee inquiry on fundraising practices.

The official record of the Lords ‘report stage’ can be found in Hansard (for 20th July). The relevant section is amendment number 14 – the full text of the amendment is included at the end of this news item. If you are reading Hansard, note that there is an interruption after amendment 17 for a ‘Coalition Strategy’ announcement.

See Parliament’s own web page on progress and details of Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill. The House of Lords third reading – a final chance to make amendments before it goes to the Commons – is yet to be scheduled.

Civil Society News covers the main elements of the new rules and has further details of the “Etherington review” into fundraising self-regulation. Also see our earlier news item.

Etherington review of fundraising self-regulation

The official review’s terms of reference have been added to NCVO’s original article ‘A review of fundraising self-regulation‘, or download direct (pdf, 194KB). The review panel is to consult the three fundraising self-regulatory bodies and “Chief executives/chairs of large fundraising charities; umbrella representatives of small charities” as well as representatives of the media and commercial fundraisers. The review “is expected to report by Monday 21 September”, so perhaps there isn’t time for wider sector input.

Commons Committee fundraising review

The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (which replaces the Public Administration Select Committee) has announced details of its own inquiry into fundraising practices.

It will focus on four key areas:

  • the extent and nature of practices adopted by call centres raising funds for charities and the impact on members of the public, particularly vulnerable people.
  • the Government’s recently proposed legislative changes on this issue.
  • how charities came to adopt these methods, and how they maintained proper governance over what was being done on their behalf.
  • the leadership of charities and how their values are reflected in their actions and activities.

Charities can submit material – deadline is 26th August, with an evidence session to be held in early September. See the Committee’s news item for further details, to submit documents online see the inquiry page. Civil Society News coverage.

Bill amendments on housing association assets, schools, social investment

This has been moved to separate news item, ‘Charity law debate covers public benefit, protecting assets‘.

Amendment 14 in full

Note: Parts 1 to 3 are about contracts between a professional fundraiser or commercial participator and a charity. Part 4 applies to charities with gross income for the year exceeding one million pounds (or the charity’s gross income in that year exceeds £250,000 and at the end of the year the aggregate value of its assets (before deduction of liabilities) exceeds £3.26 million).

After Clause 12, insert the following new Clause—

“Fund-raising

(1) Section 59 of the Charities Act 1992 (prohibition on certain fund-raising without agreement in prescribed form) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (6) for “such requirements” substitute “the requirement in subsection (7) and such other requirements (including any requirements supplementing subsections (7) and (8))”.

(3) After that subsection insert—

“(7) The requirement in this subsection is that the agreement must specify all of the following—

(a) any voluntary scheme for regulating fund-raising, or any voluntary standard of fund-raising, that the professional fund-raiser or commercial participator undertakes to be bound by for the purposes of the agreement;

(b) how the professional fund-raiser or commercial participator is to protect vulnerable people and other members of the public from behaviour within subsection (8) in the course of, or in connection with, the activities to which the agreement relates;

(c) arrangements enabling the charitable institution to monitor compliance with subsection (1) or (2) by reference to the agreement.

(8) The behaviour mentioned in subsection (7)(b) is—

(a) unreasonable intrusion on a person’s privacy;

(b) unreasonably persistent approaches for the purpose of soliciting or otherwise procuring money or other property;

(c) placing undue pressure on a person to give money or other property.”

(4) In the Charities Act 2011, after section 162 insert—

“162A Annual reports: fund-raising standards information

(1) If section 144(2) applies to a financial year of a charity, the annual report in respect of that year must include a statement of each of the following for that year—

(a) the approach taken by the charity to activities by the charity or by any person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund-raising, and in particular whether a professional fund-raiser or commercial participator carried on any of those activities;

(b) whether the charity or any person acting on behalf of the charity was subject to an undertaking to be bound by any voluntary scheme for regulating fund-raising, or any voluntary standard of fund-raising, in respect of activities on behalf of the charity, and, if so, what scheme or standard;

(c) any failure to comply with a scheme or standard mentioned under paragraph (b);

(d) whether the charity monitored activities carried on by any person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund-raising, and, if so, how it did so;

(e) the number of complaints received by the charity or a person acting on its behalf about activities by the charity or by a person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund-raising;

(f) what the charity has done to protect vulnerable people and other members of the public from behaviour within subsection (2) in the course of, or in connection with, such activities.

(2) The behaviour within this subsection is—

(a) unreasonable intrusion on a person’s privacy;

(b) unreasonably persistent approaches for the purpose of soliciting or otherwise procuring money or other property on behalf of the charity;

(c) placing undue pressure on a person to give money or other property.

(3) In this section—

(a) “commercial participator” and “professional fund-raiser” have the meaning given by section 58 of the Charities Act 1992 (control of fund-raising: interpretation);

(b) “fund-raising” means soliciting or otherwise procuring money or other property for charitable purposes.

(4) Section 58(6) and (7) of the Charities Act 1992 (references to soliciting money etc) apply for the purposes of this section as they apply for the purposes of Part 2 of that Act.””