Speaking on Radio Four’s Today programme, Brighton Pavilion Labour and Co-operative MP David Lepper said he welcomed the new Fundraising Standards Board (FSB). He does however have reservations about the balance of representation on this Board.
A new self-regulating body has been set up to deal with public complaints about face-2-face fundraisers (chuggers). David is of the opinion that the board is too industry dominated and not sufficiently independent to ensure the views of traders and members of the public are taken seriously.
The FSB has government funding of £840,000 for four years, £250,000 of which according to Third Sector magazine goes to marketing agency Forster Company to handle the launch.
The establishment of the new board follows the passing of the Charities Act last year, which introduced powers for local councils to regulate street fundraiser who sign people up to direct debit payments. David Lepper has for sometime been campaigning about the activities of chuggers, particularly in the North Laine and city centre area.
The FSB was originally due to be launched last October but this was delayed partly because it had hoped to recruit at least 500 charities who would sign up. In fact, when it was launched on February 12 far fewer had signed up.
David Lepper said, “My criticism of chuggers follows complaints from my constituents about the rudeness of some fundraisers when people declined to sign up and complaints from traders about chuggers sometimes blocking narrow city centre streets.
“A meeting with other MPs last week organised by the Association of Town Centre Management, of which I am a life member, confirmed that this is not only a problem in Brighton.”
David says he welcomes the setting up of the FSB “which I believe must be better than the ineffective Public Fundraising Regulatory Association - the trade body which currently handles complaints.”
He is also pleased that the Charity Commission will be represented on the board. “I will be encouraging any constituents who have complaints about charity fundraisers to contact the board at Hampton House, 20 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TJ; phone 0845 402 5442 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“But I am concerned that the FSB is still dominated by the fund-raising industry and is not independent enough. After this week's parliamentary recess I will be putting down questions about its organisation and how it is spending its money.”
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