The 96-year old law that empowers councils to license charity collections for cash but not Direct Debits should be repealed, the PFRA has recommended to review of the Charities Act 2006 being led by Lord Hodgson (pictured).
In its place, PFRA has called for the unified licensing regime contained in the uncommenced parts of the 2006 to be implemented. Councils should then be encouraged to work with the PFRA to co-regulate street fundraising in their areas.
“The 1916 act is simply no longer fit for purpose,” says PFRA’s head of policy Dr Toby Ganley. “It was conceived in a different era to deal with different problems and issues and its provisions no longer make sense when applied to collections of committed gifts and electronic transfers of donations.”
The original purpose of the Act was to allow the police to combat collections by bogus charities claiming to support veterans and injured soldiers.
Dr Ganley continues: “We are recommending that councils are given the power to license both cash and Direct Debit fundraising, but be required to strike a balance between charities’ duties to fundraise and the rights of the public not to be put under undue pressure to give. That’s why we are recommending that the government encourage councils to work with the PFRA to extend the system of co-regulation that we have been developing over the past 10 years.
“Our fundraising agreements work. Many of our local authority partners tell us that standards improve and complaints decrease once they start working with us.”
PFRA's submission also recommends that doorstep fundraising be brought into this unified licensing regime. The uncommenced parts of the Charities Act 2006 would have removed the need for a licence to collect on the doorstep, effectively deregulating this activity.
Lord Hodgson is expected to deliver his report before Parliament recesses this summer.Tweet