In November 2015, the Government announced the appointment of Lord Michael Grade as interim chair of the new Fundraising Regulator. Lord Grade would be responsible for bringing Sir Stuart Etherington's vision of the new Fundraising Regulator to life. Just before Christmas, Lord Grade appointed Stephen Dunmore, previously chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, as the interim chief executive. The intention is that the new regulator will be open in Spring this year.
Lord Grade, who has a background in broadcasting, spoke at the Fundraising Summit hosted by NCVO in December about the new proposals. Inevitably, much of the discussion focused on the controversial Fundraising Preference Service (the 'FPS'). The FPS will be created and managed by the Fundraising Regulator so that individuals can register if they no longer wish to be contacted for fundraising purposes – it has been described as a 'reset' button for those inundated by requests. Any organisation involved in high volume fundraising would need to check this list before beginning a fundraising campaign.
Discussion at the Fundraising Summit made it clear that there needs to be balance between charities' right to ask for funds and the public's right to be left alone. Lord Grade was keen that, whilst the Fundraising Preference Service would be delivered by the end of 2016, time is taken to consider questions raised by the sector and donors to ensure it is fit for purpose and to avoid as much as possible any 'unintended consequences'. A working group, to be chaired by George Kidd, Chair of the Direct Marketing Commission, will be set up to develop proposals on how to establish the Fundraising Preference Service. George Kidd emphasised the link between the Fundraising Preference Service and regulation – if regulation was working properly, people would not need to sign up to the Fundraising Preference Service.
Details of how charities, their advisors and fundraising organisations are able to get involved in the working group are expected shortly.
A recording of the Fundraising Summit is available here.