Charities have been given five months to get their operations in shape before new laws governing how they approach potential donors – introduced following the uproar over fundraising methods – are properly enforced.
The Fundraising Regulator has said it will take a “flexible approach” until March to allow charities time to adjust, although the move has sparked criticism that its guidance is still not clear enough.
The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 actually came into force in March, although new clauses only came into force on November 1.
Among other measures, charities will have to prove how they will protect the public from unreasonable intrusion on a person’s privacy, unreasonably persistent approaches or undue pressure to donate, as well as how compliance with the agreement will be monitored.
Any agreement signed now must include the above clauses. However, the Fundraising Regulator has published further information about the Act.
The guidance states: “Until 31 March 2017 the Fundraising Regulator will take a flexible approach in its expectations of updated agreements between charities, professional fundraisers and commercial participators to take into account reasonable contingency arrangements which may be required as a consequence of the new duty.”
However, Chris Priestley, a partner in the charity law team at Withers Worldwide, told Civil Society magazine: “There remains some doubt as to the regulator’s position on agreements that charities have entered into prior to the new rules coming into force.
“It would helpful if the regulator could publish an unambiguous statement that existing agreements do not have to be renegotiated or amended.”
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