Scotland to take different route on fundraising regulation

After wide consultation, Scotland’s voluntary sector body SCVO has recommended a different approach to improving fundraising regulation north of the border, with the new Fundraising Regulator, currently being set up for the rest of the UK, not taking on the role here.

Instead, as reported in Third Force News, a Scottish independent fundraising panel will be formed, comprising members of the public, donors, fundraisers, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and the Scottish Government, to enforce standards that all charities will be expected to stick to. Charities operating in Scotland but registered in England or Wales (and probably Northern Ireland) would still be answerable to the Fundraising Regulator.

The new approach will include:

  • The creation of a phone and online fundraising complaints hub.
  • An independent panel to manage fundraising complaints that cannot be resolved between the charity and the person who is complaining.
  • A new fundraising guarantee that sets out values and high standards Scottish charities should practice in their fundraising.
  • A simple three stage process to manage fundraising complaints:

Stage 1 – Complain to the charity direct

Stage 2 – Appeal to the charity trustees

Stage 3 – Escalate to the Scottish Charities Regulator (interim measure while Independent Panel is set up).

See a synopsis of the full SCVO report ‘Clear, confident and connected: An enhanced system of charity fundraising regulation for Scotland’ or read a background article ‘Scotland chooses self-regulation of charity fundraising‘.

Civil Society News coverage.

Scottish Fundraising Complaints goes live

Thursday (7th July) sees the one-stop Scottish Fundraising Complaints hub go live, with a free-phone number and website. Set up by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and charity regulator OSCR, the website “tells you what to do if you have a complaint or concern about fundraising in Scotland.”

Through us, you will find the information and support you need to resolve issues with the charity about whom you have complaint.

Speaking about the launch of Scottish Fundraising Complaints, the Scottish Government communities secretary has confirmed that the Fundraising Regulator, which also launched on 7th July, will operate as the lead regulator for cross-border charities, where charities operate in Scotland but are registered in England and Wales (or Northern Ireland, presumably).

Third Force News article for more background.

A blog piece on OSCR’s website says:

Charities and the public are unlikely to see big changes come the 7 July. However the shift in emphasis is significant.  By looking at prevention, investing in complaints handling, and including all charities within its remit, there is the possibility of really tackling the problems of bad fundraising practice at their very roots.

The complaints phone number is 0808 1642520.