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Our consultation policy and process

Consultation Policy

We are committed to engaging and consulting with the sector and public on important fundraising and regulatory issues. As part of our commitment, we strive to meet the consultation principles set by the Cabinet Office

The role of consultation

We know that the decisions we make affect people and fundraising organisations across the UK. So, it’s important that our decisions are based on evidence and take account of the views of those who have an interest in the outcome. 

Consultation gives our stakeholders the chance to share their views before we decide on a course of action. It is the way that those affected can influence our decisions and it’s an opportunity to explain the impact of our proposals. 

If you have any comments on how we can improve our consultation process, please get in touch.

A guide to our consultation process 

When we consult

We will consult our stakeholders on policy decisions that may have an impact on the way in which fundraising is carried out. This may include changes to:

  • the Code of Fundraising Practice;
  • the Fundraising Preference Service; 
  • the levy or registration fee; or
  • other policy decisions about our work.

We will not generally consult on matters of process. 

How we consult 

We are responsible for a range of issues relating to the way charities communicate with the public to raise funds and we need to be sure that our decisions are well-informed and evidence-based. An effective consultation means allowing all those interested in the outcome of a decision to have their say before we make a decision. 

We aim to: 

  • involve all those whose voices need to be heard, including big and small fundraising organisations, public, consumer and community groups, and individuals across the UK; 
  • explain the different options that we are considering before we make our decision; 
  • help those with views to respond fully and in an informed way, listen to those responses and use them to help understand the impact of any decision we make;
  • be clear and open, so everyone can see what is happening when and why; 
  • deliver value for money by making sure the cost of running the consultation process is proportionate; and 
  • be as timely as possible in running the consultation process. 

We will communicate as widely as possible throughout each consultation. This may involve: 

  • holding face-to-face meetings; 
  • using our website to gather feedback and to provide detailed background information; 
  • briefing the media using news releases; and 
  • writing articles for the media to inform the wider sector.  

Our consultation approach

We will carefully evaluate and choose our consultation approach depending on the issue and those affected or likely to take an interest. We think the best way to ensure the views of all concerned are heard is to use a combination of informal engagement and formal consultation.  Informal engagement

We may engage in the following ways.

  • Conducting research to understand the views, needs and behaviour of people and organisations involved in or concerned about fundraising practices. Where the issue is likely to be of particular importance or require substantial change, we may seek to evidence the potential impact of any options proposed. We’ll make sure that our research reaches smaller organisations that may struggle to get their opinions heard. Our research may be based on surveys, opinion polls, focus groups and special events, or any combination of these techniques. 
  • Bringing together an expert or public panel to support particular pieces of work.
  • Speaking regularly with stakeholders, such as at informal meetings and seminars to help us understand their concerns. We may, for example, have pre-consultation discussions with those stakeholders who are particularly affected to understand the issue from their perspective. 

Formal consultation

There are generally two categories of formal consultation: 

Category 1: Consultations which contain major policy initiatives and/or are of interest to a wide range of stakeholders (especially those who may need a longer time to respond). These consultations will usually last 10-12 weeks. 

Category 2: Consultations that contain policy proposals which are technical in nature or have a limited scope or are of interest to a limited number of stakeholders. These consultations will usually last four to eight weeks.  

We will not consult on changes to the Code which only make sure the standards accurately reflect the requirements of the law. 

After the formal consultation 

We will acknowledge receipt of all responses received. We are committed to being open and transparent about the responses we receive to consultations, so we will publish a summary of the responses we receive on our website. We won’t link responses to respondents when we publish a summary of responses, and we will evaluate each response on its own merits. The summary of responses will include a list of the organisations who responded to the consultation. 

In our response to the consultation, we will give the reasons for our decisions and will explain how the views received helped shape our decisions. 

Confidentiality

Where engagement is informal, we will respect the confidentiality of stakeholders we engage with and will not reveal details if we have agreed to keep discussions private. 

Where an individual or organisation responds to a formal consultation and wants their submission to be kept confidential, they should let us know. 

Confidentiality is subject to any obligations to disclose information, for example, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

Future consultations

We invite everyone interested in the decisions we make to register online with us to receive emails about consultations and news of our other activities.