Fundraising Regulator chairman Lord Michael Grade has attempted to allay fears over his suitability for the job with a tough-talking TV interview in which he reiterated the warning that charities face the very real prospect of Government-backed regulation if they do not change their practices.
Speaking on BBC One’s Rip-Off Britain, Grade insisted the new regulator was up to the challenge. He said: “We have got teeth, we can name and shame, we can order charities not to certain things, we can go in and audit and investigate, we can ultimately report them to the Charity Commission, who have power over all charities in this country.
“Ultimately there is the backstop that the Government could take over the regulation of charities through a statutory regulator, which is not what anybody wants, but it’s always there. I am very confident we have got the powers to stop people. We are properly resourced, we are independent so we are there to hear the public’s concerns and to take action.
He added: “We’ve got the intervene to make sure charities raise funds ethically and don’t invade people’s privacy in ways that they don’t welcome, because we don’t want to take for granted the wonderful generosity of the British public. They are fabulous givers, they respond wonderfully to causes. We can’t take that for granted and we mustn’t abuse it and that’s what we are here to stop.”
Grade went on to detail his own personal way of dealing with unsolicited marketing. He said: “I pretend I am a leading litigation QC and I am putting them on notice that they are going to be sued, and I never hear from them again.”
He concluded: “The overwhelmng majority of people in this country, like me, they are willing to respond to a good cause and causes they identify with and we don’t need to be pestered and harrassed, particularly the vulnerable. There are practices out there that do put at risk the public’s generosity and it’s got to stop.”
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