The Fundraising Regulator has announced the first phase in a two-year process of reviewing and updating the Code of Fundraising Practice (the ‘Code’).
The last Code review took place in 2018/19 and legislative change, and developments in technology and fundraising behaviour since then mean the Code is now being fully reviewed.
The review process is split into three phases: phase one is information gathering (2022-2023), phase two is public consultation (2023) and phase three is the implementation of a new Code (2024).
Phase one involves the Fundraising Regulator seeking views on how the Code can be improved to provide an effective regulatory framework both now and in the future. This includes an eight-week public call for information to which any interested party can respond by 25 November 2022. The Fundraising Regulator welcomes feedback from anyone with knowledge, expertise or experience in charitable fundraising.
How to respond
Respondents are able to comment on any aspect of the Code, but the Fundraising Regulator provided the following questions for consideration when submitting feedback:
- Which parts of the Code do you think work well, and why?
- Are there any issues relating to charitable fundraising that the Code does not adequately cover?
- Do any standards in the Code need to be updated, for example, to reflect new legislation, advancements in technology or changes to donor and fundraising behaviour?
- Do any parts of the Code contain overly prescriptive or unnecessary standards?
- Are there any ways in which the Code could be made shorter, clearer or more accessible?
Responses should include your name and/or your organisation’s name (to be included in the subject line); whether you are a member of the public or replying on behalf of an organisation; and which specific standards or sections of the Code that you are commenting on.
Any responses should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00pm on Friday 25 November 2022. All responses will be shared anonymously on the Fundraising Regulator’s website in due course prior to phase two. Interested parties will have a further opportunity to provide feedback during the second phase (in autumn 2023) on the proposals for amending the Code developed by the Fundraising Regulator. The proposals will have taken into account the first round of feedback in phase one.
The review should be considered in light of the Fundraising Regulator’s recent business and strategic plans, and recent investigations of complaints. These documents provide an indication of the type of amendment proposals to the Code that the Fundraising Regulator is likely to make. The strategic plan envisages four key tenets to the Fundraising Regulator’s work both now and in the future: proactivity, innovation, collaboration and intelligence.
‘Proactivity’ involves ensuring compliance with the Code and the efficient handling of complaints. This will be particularly relevant following two recent Fundraising Regulator investigations: into the International Liberty Association and the LGB Alliance. Both organisations were found to have breached the Code due to insufficient/inappropriate complaints handling procedures. ‘Innovation’ considers the growing presence of digital developments within the fundraising sphere. The strategic plan states that the next update of the Code must provide a framework for fundraising within a digital context. ‘Collaboration’ involves increased opportunities for those across the fundraising sector to voice their views. ‘Intelligence’ demands the use of data to support the development of the Code and to share knowledge and learning on the sector.
The business plan 2022/23 provides further insight on what amendments may be proposed to the Code, including a focus on the need to fully understand developments in digital fundraising and the use of new technologies. Stakeholders should also be aware that the strategic plan proposes increases to the Fundraising Levy around the year 2025/26 (noting that the Fundraising Regulator is currently operating with a deficit budget) – this will be to fund an increase in staffing and project expenditure to upgrade systems that will have been in place for nearly a decade.
Any responses should be emailed to email@example.com by 5:00pm on Friday 25 November 2022.