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New charity guidance bringing change for trustees?

17/12/2015

Charities are being urged to have their say on proposed guidance that makes trustees more responsible for their organisation’s fundraising.

 

Stuart Rea, head of the Charities team at law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, is advising all charities to take part in the Charity Commission’s public consultation on its revised guidance for trustees.

 

Stuart, a specialist in charity law, said the recently published draft guidance ‘Charity fundraising: A guide to trustees duties’ gives trustees a greater responsibility in setting their charity’s approach to fundraising and ensuring it reflects their charity’s values.

 

He said: “Trustees have always had to take the lead in setting their charity’s approach to fundraising, and ensuring that the organisation complies with the law and sector standards.

 

“But recent high profile criticism of charity fundraising and the dent in public confidence has led the Charity Commission to review its guidance. The new guidance states more clearly than ever that trustees must take responsibility for the fundraising undertaken by their charities.

 

“The aim of the new guidance is to make it very clear what the Charity Commission expects from trustees and they need feedback on that. If trustees are unsure about their responsibilities or how they could be impacted by the proposed new guidance, they should always seek legal advice.”

 

The draft guidance signals a new approach to ensure improved oversight by trustees and identifies six key principles to help trustees fulfil their responsibilities for their charity’s fundraising.

 

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the commission said: “We recognise that raising money from the public is vital to the success of many charities and that achieving this, whilst providing a positive experience for donors and the public, can be challenging.

 

“The revised guidance reflects the need to put public trust back at the heart of charity fundraising. It makes absolutely clear that trustees are in the driving seat of their charity’s approach to fundraising. This doesn’t mean that we expect them to become expert fundraisers themselves - but the buck really does stop with them. This guidance explains what we as the regulator expect of them. The guidance is more succinct and should be accessible for all trustees.”

 

The regulation of day-to-day fundraising activities, practices and methods that charities use will continue to be covered by a separate self-regulation system which supervises charities’ compliance with a Code of Fundraising Practice. Currently the Fundraising Standards Board undertakes this role. A new body, and new arrangements, are expected to come into being next year.

 

To read the consultation document, go to www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission. The consultation will close on 11 February 2016.

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