Should the Fundraising Standards Board be abolished?

Sir Stuart Etherington’s review of the self-regulation of fundraising has concluded that the Fundraising Standards Board should be abolished and the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) stripped of its responsibility for overseeing the Code of Fundraising Practice.

Published at the end of September, the 72-page report recommends that a new body – tentatively called the Fundraising Regulator – should be established to replace the FRSB and given the responsibility for setting fundraising standards.

The new body would have the power to adjudicate over all UK-based fundraising organisations, regardless of whether they had registered with it. In the present system, the FRSB only has power over its members, who total nearly 1,400.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, was appointed in July 2015 to lead the review by Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society.

The review says the IoF should no longer have responsibility for setting fundraising rules because the organisation remained open to accusations of conflicts of interest and had not administered the current code of practice in a way that has protected public confidence. The review also says that the IoF and the Public Fundraising Association should merge into a single professional fundraising body. Furthermore, it recommends the creation of a new Fundraising Preference Service to enable people to opt out of fundraising communications.

It says that the proposed Fundraising Regulator should have a broader range of sanctions than have been available to the FRSB, including the ability to order charities to stop carrying out certain fundraising activities for limited periods.

In a statement, Sir Stuart Etherington said the existing system of self-regulation had “quite clearly failed to prevent serious breaches of trust and widespread dissatisfaction” and the proposed changes would provide effective reform. He added that there needed to be a shift to long-term thinking in which charities would form meaningful relationships with donors.

Charities looking at ways to develop and increase funding may find it helpful to discuss their options and financial issues with professional advisers that specialise in this area. For more information on how Milsted Langdon’s charities team can help, please contact us.

Posted in Charities.