Charities have been warned that they will face much tougher sanctions than their agencies in cases of fundraising bad practice, under the new regulatory regime.
Speaking at a panel discussion at Third Sector’s Fundraising Week, Fundraising Regulator head of policy Gerald Oppenheim said both agency and charity would fall under its remit.
But he added: “You’ve also got to think about who’s employing who in this relationship. The charity is employing the agency, so you’d be looking to see what sort of agreement the charity had entered into and how the agency had carried that out.”
The move will bring the Fundraising Regulator in line with the Information Commissioner’s Office, which puts greater onus on the company running the marketing activity – and not their agency – to ensure they are operating within the law.
When asked if charities would shoulder more of the responsibility and face harsher sanctions, Oppenheim said: “Yes, because the charity is the employer and the agency was doing a job for you.”
He highlighted Charity Commission guidance, which states that trustees must exercise “appropriate oversight” of their organisations’ agreements with external agencies.
The exact nature of the sanctions facing charity miscreants has yet to be decided, although they could be banned from using certain marketing techniques for a set period. Whether agencies will be barred from working in the sector, however, remains to be seen.
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