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Consultation on the Fundraising Code

The Code of Fundraising Practice outlines the standards expected of charitable fundraisers across the UK. It is a key part of maintaining public trust and confidence in the sector, providing reassurance for the public that charitable organisations hold themselves accountable and that they will handle complaints appropriately.

Why we are carrying out a consultation on the Fundraising Code

It is vital that all fundraisers can use and understand the Code of Fundraising Practice, and that it is easily accessible to the public.

We’ve gathered feedback on the Code in several ways since we launched in 2016, including:

  • Feedback from our first consultation in February 2017.
  • Roundtable sessions with smaller charities.
  • Conversations with other regulators and bodies representing the sector.
  • Queries and comments received from fundraisers and members of the public through our enquiries and complaints functions.

That feedback has influenced this review.

Past feedback on the Fundraising Code

Feedback indicated that the Code could benefit from a thorough review to:

  • Clarify the purpose of the Code and to whom it applies.
  • Ensure the language of the rules is clear and consistent.
  • Define key terms used in the Code to ensure there is a consistent understanding.
  • Review the order of the Code, identify gaps, and strengthen cross-referencing with relevant guidance.
  • Avoid repetition between rules and reduce the number of sections.
  • Emphasise more clearly the importance of general rules that apply to all fundraisers as well as those that only apply to specific forms of fundraising.
  • Provide closer links with case studies and good practice examples.
  • Clarify which parts of the Code are applicable across the different legal jurisdictions of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, particularly in regards to the proposed changes.
  • Bring into the Code any relevant rules from the legal appendices, removing those that have no direct relevance to fundraising and provide clearer linkage between the legal rules within the Code and their foundation in legislation.

The scope of the consultation on the Fundraising Code

This consultation focuses on the style, presentation, clarity and accessibility of the Code.

The consultation does not propose to make fundamental changes to the standards within the Code, except where a standard may be identified as an unnecessary repetition or contradiction of a rule elsewhere in the Code, where the meaning is unclear or where it is found to be inaccurate in relation to UK law.

The consultation is intended to establish views on the proposed changes outlined below. Once the consultation is concluded any changes that may result to the Code will be subject to a full technical and legal review. For this reason, we have not included legal references at the top of each section. 

What we are seeking views on

The consultation seeks views on a new draft of the Code. The new draft includes:

a) A new table of contents and a simpler ordering of the Code’s content, which:

  • Identifies two key parts to the Code: “rules relevant to all fundraising” and “rules relevant to specific fundraising practices”.
  • Combines the twenty sections of the Code, fourteen legal appendices and three rulebooks and simplifies these into three sections– “General Rules”, “Working with Others” and “Fundraising Methods”.

b) A “Plain English” review of language used in the Code, including:

  • Using a direct form of address (‘You’ must rather than ‘the organisation’ or ‘the fundraiser’ must) and emphasising that most rules will apply to charitable organisations that fundraise unless otherwise stated.
  • Avoiding jargon where possible and substituting simpler alternatives for some words, except where there is a substantive difference in meaning or a conflict with what the law requires.
  • Using active rather than passive verbs where possible (for example, ‘further information can be found’ becomes ‘you can find more information’).

c) A new Code introduction, highlighting:

  • What the Code is, its purpose and why it is important to the reputation of charitable fundraising.
  • Its scope, including who it applies to, how it works with related laws, regulations and other Codes, and why it includes non-legal standards.
  • How the Code is kept up-to-date and relevant to current fundraising practice.
  • How complaints against the Code will be considered and dealt with in cases where a Code rule is breached.
  • How the Code should be read and used.

d) A glossary of key terms used within the Code.

e) A table of those rules proposed for deletion or amendment, including:

  • Rules / legal appendices which relate to charities but where there is limited relevance to fundraising specifically (for example, “payment of trustees”).
  • Rules / legal appendices which are not widely applicable and likely to only be relevant in a very narrow local context (for example, rules relating to the “Three Peaks challenge” event).
  • Rules / legal appendices which apply only in limited circumstances and repeat in detail regulations set and primarily enforced by other regulators. For example, in the “Public Collections” section we propose to:
    • Replace much of the content which repeats local licencing rules for public collections with references to external guidance where this information can be found.
    • Simply state that public charitable collections must have a licence where required and keep to the terms of that licence.

f) Incorporation of the face-to-face fundraising rulebooks in the “Fundraising Methods” section of the Code rather than as a separate set of documents.

The website

Our website is currently being redesigned, with the first phase completed in July 2018. Following this consultation, the Code’s web pages will be reviewed to make them more accessible and to create more effective links between the Code and relevant guidance. Development of this section of the website will include a search box to make it easier to find key words and phrases.

Questions

Below are the consultation questions. You can respond online or send us your feedback in an email to consultations@fundraisingregulator.org.uk

1) Do you agree with the proposed approach set out in this consultation?

Yes / No

If no, please explain why, giving your reasons with any supporting evidence.

2) What is your view on each of the proposed changes? In your response, please give reasons for your views, ordering your comments under each of the headings (a-f) as follows:

a) The new Contents page and reordering of rules

b) “Plain English” review of language

c) Code introduction

d) Glossary of key terms

e) Rules proposed for deletion or amendment

f) Incorporation of fundraising rulebooks in the Code

3) Are there any points not covered by this consultation that you think should be considered to improve the style, presentation, clarity and accessibility of the Code?

How to respond

Responses should reach us by Friday 16 November 2018 at the latest. Earlier responses are welcome.

Please complete your response online.

You can also send your response by email to consultations@fundraisingregulator.org.uk or by post to:             

Policy Department, Fundraising Regulator, 2nd Floor, CAN Mezzanine, 49-51 East Road, London N1 6AH

If you have any questions, please contact the Fundraising Regulator via email at enquiries@fundraisingregulator.org.uk or by phone on 0300 999 3407.

Handling your response

We will publish a summary of all responses and a list of all organisations that have responded. However, if you ask for your response not to be published we will consider your request seriously.

Next steps in the process

A summary of responses will be published on the consultation web pages, together with the Fundraising Regulator’s final decisions regarding changes to the Code.

Comments and complaints

If you have any comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted, please let us know using the enquiry contact details above.