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News - 13 February 2010
David Lepper, MP

Chuggers to be held to account

The voluntary regulatory body for face-to-face fundraisers [Chuggers], the PFRA has recognised the need to hold fundraisers to account for their actions in town centres. The organisation has proposed a system to penalise some troublesome ‘chuggers’ which could lead to fines for their employers.

David Lepper, Labour and Co-operative MP for Brighton Pavilion, has welcomed the announcement saying “Better late than never”.

David, who is a life member of the Association of Town Centre Management and a former chair of the Board of Brighton & Hove Business Forum, says, “Although the situation in Brighton seems to have improved recently, I still get complaints from the public and businesses in the city centre about rudeness, unwanted persistence and sheer obstruction from face to face fundraisers".

“Over the years I have worked with our city centre manager and local business and council representatives to try to persuade the PFRA – the fundraising industry body which is supposed to oversee the rules for street charity fund-raising - to recognise there is a problem.

“I’ve raised the issue in Parliament as well, presenting a petition from city centre businesses calling for stricter regulation.

“It’s a bit late in the day for the PFRA to wake up to this. But I welcome its announcement that it will consult its members on a new system which would permit it to issue points to charities and agencies for minor breaches such as failing to use sites that had been allocated to them or using the wrong site, and for more serious mistakes such as losing donors' data.

“I understand the system would also be used to penalise practices that breached the Institute of Fundraising's code of conduct. Once an organisation received a set number of points, it could be asked to pay a fine or retrain its face-to-face fundraisers.”

David Lepper adds, “Fundamentally I remain opposed to people being asked to part with their credit card details to complete strangers in the street and entering into regular donations which, long-term, they might not be able to afford. Far better to use schemes like payroll -giving for these donations.”

Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Public Fundraising Regulatory Association
Lepper, David

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