Scotland sets up independent fundraising regulation


Scottish charities have chosen to create their own fundraising self-regulation system rather than buy into new English scheme

30th June 2016 by Jordan Ogg 0 Comments

Scotland has chosen to break away from the UK over fundraising regulation.

A Scottish independent fundraising panel will be formed, comprising members of the public, donors, fundraisers, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and the Scottish Government, to enforce standards that all charities will be expected to stick to. This will be supported by a free phone line and website created to help the public raise complaints.

This means Scottish charities will not be subject to the new UK Fundraising Regulator, which is set to launch on 7 July and which will charge charities a fee to regulate their fundraising activity.

Enhanced self-regulation has been identified as the best way to oversee fundraising in Scotland - Theresa Shearer

The moves follow a lengthy consultation with the third sector and the Scottish public on how to improve public trust and encourage good practice in charity fundraising.

The death of 92-year-old poppy seller Olive Cooke last year saw charities fall under intense media scrutiny when it was revealed that she had been overwhelmed by direct mail and telephone fundraising calls.

Several weeks later, a reporter for a national tabloid newspaper working undercover at a fundraising call centre suggested high-pressure tactics were used to target vulnerable older people.

In light of fallout from these and other cases, a Scottish fundraising working group was convened by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations with membership from across the third sector.

People were asked to consider whether Scotland should adopt the UK-wide Fundraising Regulator, set up a new Scottish Fundraising Regulator, or see Scottish charities and OSCR take on more responsibility through self-regulation.

The last option came out as the preferred model and has been recommended to the Scottish Government, with the further suggestion that cross-border charities use a lead regulator model.

This recognises that charities operating in Scotland but registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are answerable to the Fundraising Regulator, which is set to replace the Fundraising Standards Board as a result of the Etherington review into UK fundraising in 2015.

Chair of the Scottish fundraising working group Theresa Shearer said: “Enhanced self-regulation has been identified as the best way to oversee fundraising in Scotland and support our vibrant sector to continue to thrive in a climate of public trust and transparency. We have learned through our consultation that charities and the public needed a much simpler approach, and now we have it.”

The Scottish Government cabinet secretary for communities, social security and equalities, Angela Constance, said: “I will be considering the recommendations for charity fundraising in Scotland contained in the report but in the meantime I would like to thank all who have contributed to this extensive consultation.”