Should you respond to the Fundraising Regulator’s Code Consultation?

As you have probably heard, the Fundraising Regulator is currently consulting on a “refreshed” Code of Fundraising Practice which includes a reordering of its content, a “plain English” review of the language used in the Code and incorporation of the face-to-face fundraising rulebooks. So far so uncontroversial. However, while we fully support the consultation’s aim to remove duplication and translate the Code into plainer English, we are concerned that the new Code includes a number of changes – some small and some not so small. We think these are inadvertent (and can be remedied) but wanted to flag to charities that this is not necessarily the “no changes” consultation the sector may think it is.


Some examples of changes in the new Code are:

  • A new code provision (GR49) requires all paid staff (and any paid trustees or officers) to state that they are paid every time they collect donations. This change arises because a current Code and legal requirement for staff to do this in relation to public collections has been widened to apply to any donation so would apply for example to asking a corporate for a donation or soliciting prizes for a raffle.
  • In the new code provision GR123, content which is specifically aimed at Gift Aid in the context of challenge events has been included as a generic code requirement applying to all fundraising.
  • The new Code requirements in relation to professional fundraisers apply to all paid fundraisers no matter how little they are paid, whereas the current Code reflects a legal exception for people paid £10 or less a day or £1000 or less a year.

We are therefore encouraging all charities which fundraise to respond to the consultation making three key points:

The “refresh” should not lead to Code changes. If you have time, we recommend checking those parts of the new Code that are most relevant to your charity’s fundraising so you can spot any inadvertent changes and flag them to the Fundraising Regulator.

There should be a further round of consultation if the final version of the new Code differs significantly from the consultation draft. The Fundraising Regulator’s legal advisors have not yet reviewed the draft Code – once the legal review has been conducted the revised Code could end up quite different to the consultation version.

The Fundraising Regulator should allow a suitable “lead in” time between publication of the new Code to when it comes into force. Many charities have internal training and policies based on the current Code provisions which will need to be changed in order to reflect the new Code numbering. This will take time – the Institute of Fundraising estimates a minimum of three months but if you think this could take longer for your charity, now is the time to tell the Fundraising Regulator that. To help with this process, we are calling for the Fundraising Regulator to produce a “Destinations Table” which charities can use to see where current Code provisions now sit in the new Code.

You will need to act this week as the consultation closes on 16th November. Bates Wells is making its own detailed response to the consultation which we will publish on our website shortly.

BWB has now published it’s full response to the Fundraising Regulator’s Consultation on Accessibility of the Code of Fundraising Practice. 

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of November 12, 2018.