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Code of Fundraising Practice consultation paper: closed April 2017

1. The Purpose of this Consultation

The Code of Fundraising Practice and its associated rule books for street and door fundraising outline the standards expected of all charitable fundraising organisations across the UK. The standards were developed by the fundraising community through the work of both the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and the Public Fundraising Association (PFRA). The last substantive changes to the Code were made in March 2016 by the IoF.

Responsibility for maintaining and updating the Code was transferred to the new Fundraising Regulator on 7th July 2016. The Fundraising Regulator sees its role in keeping the Code under review as an ongoing process of formal and informal engagement with fundraisers, regulatory partners and the public.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland

Charity law and fundraising regulation in Scotland is different to the system in place within England and Wales. Fundraising by charities only registered in Scotland is subject to Scottish charity law and the Scottish system of self-regulated fundraising through the Independent Standards and Adjudications Panel for Fundraising in Scotland (‘The Independent Panel’). The Fundraising Regulator and the Independent Panel in Scotland will work closely together in proposing and considering amendments to the Code of Fundraising Practice. Northern Ireland is soon to undertake a public consultation on how fundraising will be regulated there.

Scope

At this early stage in the transition of the Code, we feel that it is best to concentrate on developing the Code in line with current issues and concerns rather than conducting a “root and branch” review or develop it entirely afresh. In addition, respondents are asked if they wish to comment on the layout, clarity and accessibility of the Code (Section H). Responses on those issues will be taken into account in considering whether revisions to the Code’s format are required. There are two key issues not covered in this consultation: the new Fundraising Preference Service and new regulations and guidance on data and consent. There are several reasons for this.

The Fundraising Regulator is currently developing the new Fundraising Preference Service (FPS), which was the subject of separate consultations during 2016. The FPS is expected to come into operation for charities registered in England and Wales in the spring or summer of 2017, and our intention is to issue guidance nearer the time of its implementation.

We are working with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to ensure that the Code is compliant with the ICO’s guidance on data and consent and adequately takes account of the additional requirements in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in May 2018. Two new pieces of guidance are scheduled for release in early 2017 which will influence the development of the Code in this area: the ICO guidance on the GDPR and our own sector-specific guidance on data and consent. We intend to consult on data and consent separately once the ICO’s guidance is released to ensure the full implications for the sector are taken into account.

This consultation, the first that the Fundraising Regulator has issued on the Code, concentrates on those areas which the Fundraising Regulator considers to be the most pressing considering the changing legal and regulatory context in which fundraisers operate, conversations we have had with key stakeholders and recommendations from recent adjudications, research and guidance.

Structure

In explaining the Code changes presented in this consultation we have:

a. included the legal and / or regulatory context underlying that specific Code rule and where a legal requirement exists, whether it is specific to particular nations. A legal requirement in England and Wales may not be a legal requirement in Scotland or in Northern Ireland, although it may be a matter of good practice.

b. highlighted what the existing Code covers. Readers should note that with regards to the existing Code we use the word “MUST*” (with an asterisk) where there is a legal requirement and the word “MUST” (with no asterisk) where there is no legal requirement but we are treating the issue as a professional standard to be met by fundraising organisations. We intend to continue to use this format in the amended Code;

c. set out if, and how, we propose to change the Code and what form of words we propose to use to amend or add to the existing Code; and highlighted as part of any proposed Code change where guidance from other bodies may provide additional context or support to fundraisers. Where guidance is linked to a specific Code rule, it may provide further context in considering whether that rule was breached.

d. A reference to a statute or statutory provision is a reference to it as amended, extended or re-enacted from time to time.

There is an opportunity at the end of the consultation response form for you to highlight any issues or practices that are not covered by the consultation or the existing Code that you feel should be addressed (see Questions G1 and G2). We are also keen to hear your views on the current format of the Code, including how clear it is to read and understand. It would be helpful when giving your comments if you would include your reasons and any recommendations for improvements.

We welcome your views and comments. You can submit your response by filling in our online survey or by post. Contact details are provided in Section 3 below.

2. Consultation questions

Click here to open the PDF file of the consultation paper.

3. Responding to this Consultation paper

Responses should reach us by Friday 28th April 2017. Earlier responses are welcome.

This consultation has closed.

If you have any questions, please contact the Fundraising Regulator via consultations@fundrasingregulator.org.uk.

This consultation, and all future Fundraising Regulator consultations, can be viewed online on the consultation pages of our website.

Handling your response

We anticipate publishing all responses. 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 decisions regarding changes to the Code and when any changes will take effect. Changes to the Code will be made having taken into account the consultation responses received.

Comments and complaints

If you have any comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted, please send them to the contact details above.