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New watchdog launched to tackle rogue fundrasiers

Credit: PA

Large charities may be forced to sign up to a new watchdog under changes being introduced by the Government to tackle rogue fundraisers.

Charities will at first be given the opportunity to voluntarily sign up to the new regulatory system but ministers will have the power to compel them if they fail to protect supporters from undue pressure to donate to good causes.

The new fundraising watchdog is aimed at making sure large charities stick to a strict code of good practice, including protecting the identity of donors.

Under the new regime anyone who is inundated with fundraising marketing material from charities will be able to press "reset" and stop receiving this material.

Fundraising overhaul needed as 'difficult' tactics exposed

Fundraising agencies have been putting "too much pressure" on people to donate more money to charity, as well as trading and swapping people's personal details, the head of a review has said.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, told ITV News that such "difficult" practices had shocked members of the public and needed to be looked at.

Sir Stuart headed a review into current fundraising systems, which called for a tightening of standards to help protect people from being bombarded.

It comes after a string of well-publicised cases where vulnerable people were repeatedly targeted and badgered for more donations.

Among the powers Sir Stuart recommended for a new regulator were:

  • Ability to 'name and shame' those which break the rules
  • Temporary bans on charities carrying out certain kinds of fundraising if they are found to be misbehaving
  • Ability to refer to The Charity Commission, which can take legal action
  • A fundraising opt-out service for people to request they do not receive any calls

Current fundraising protections 'next to useless'

A man whose vulnerable father lost tens of thousands of pounds to phone scammers has told of his concerns over the way charities are able to raise money - and said current systems were "next to useless" in protecting people.

Chris Rae told ITV's Good Morning Britain that he felt change needed to come from the charities themselves.

It comes after a review by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said the current self-regulatory system was "no longer fit for purpose".

Mr Rae's father Samuel lost £35,000 to scammers after charities passed on his personal information at least 200 times - because he forgot to tick a box on a form asking for his details to be kept private.

Mr Rae said the Telephone Preference System (TPS) - the official opt-out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls - was "next to useless" and had not helped his father.


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