LGA and PFRA launch new national agreement to improve street fundraising standards

Money box
Published on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:10
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

The Local Government Association (LGA) and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) today launch a joint national agreement to improve and maintain standards of face-to-face fundraising through voluntary agreements between councils and the PFRA.

The ground-breaking agreement will be launched by PFRA chair Paul Stallard and Councillor Mehboob Khan, Chairman of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, at the LGA's annual Safer Communities conference in London.

'Making the Pledge' has been drawn up as a response to a survey conducted by the LGA that showed that three-quarters of councils were concerned about the impact that the aggressive behaviour of some fundraisers could have on their residents and high streets.

The LGA recommends voluntary site management agreements as an effective solution for those of its members that want to have "more control over face-to-face fundraising", because they bring together PFRA's expertise in controlling fundraising and councils' knowledge of local conditions.

The Pledge says that such voluntary agreements provide a "wholly transparent and accountable way" to address local concerns about fundraising.

For its part, PFRA commits to tailor each site agreement to "best suit the needs of a local area and its residents".

The agreement also sets out the factors councils can expect to be covered in their agreements:

The location of fundraisers The numbers of people and charities present Clear identification of team leaders to the council and public The hours and days when fundraising can take place Exclusion dates for specific events Monitoring of activity by the PFRA and council to maximise resource Action and sanctions to be taken if specific charities breach terms in the voluntary agreement.

Councillor Mehboob Khan said:

"Councils tell us that their residents and businesses can feel pressured by the aggressive behaviour of some face-to-face fundraisers, and that they have no powers to stop this from deterring visitors and impacting on local business activity. Fortunately, there is a solution at hand and I am delighted to say that the LGA has worked with the PFRA to strengthen and make more transparent the voluntary agreements that all charities collecting this way are signed up to, while we wait for central government to reform the licensing regime.

"A sensible balance needs to be struck between charities' duties to ask people for support and the rights of local people not to be put under undue pressure to give. That is the aim of this agreement."

Paul Stallard said:

"Street fundraising is a vital and cost-effective form of fundraising for those charities that rely on it. But we cannot deny that it is controversial. The PFRA has been responding to these challenges for the past 10 years by developing co-regulatory partnership with councils and we already have more than 50 such agreements. Our day-to-day, bread and butter work is making sure fundraisers adhere to these agreements.

"Now that the charity sector has the official support of LGA through this pledge, I am confident that street fundraising can continue to provide new donors and new money for as long as charities need to use this method."

As part of the new working arrangements, the LGA has accepted a place on PFRA board.

Source: ©LGA

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