Following complaints from shoppers in Northumberland Street, Newcastle City Council are to lay down a list of rules to manage and police charity collectors who seek to approach shoppers for direct debits in the street.
The City Council have set out the following new rules with which fundraisers must comply namely:
Operate only within the two designated areas approximately 8 feet x 3 feet at the top and bottom of Northumberland Street;
Only two agents at a time can operate in the site;
Fundraising is only allowed two days a week Monday to Sunday and not two days running and between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm;
In December fundraising can only take place one day a week; and
Only one organisation can fundraise per day on behalf of one charity;
Fundraisers must wear branded clothing and remove it during breaks or when they leave the site.
The above Public Space Protection Order (approved by the Cabinet in April) will be reviewed after three years. Anyone found breaking the rules will be issued with a £100 fixed penalty notice.
This has raised the ire of the Institute of Fundraising claiming that such steps restrict the ability of charities to make on-street collections.
This really is a difficult issue facing all parties. Clearly, the charities want to maximise the opportunity to raise funds and at the same time members of the public want to feel that they can walk down main thoroughfares without inappropriate or unnecessary attention from many organisations (and not those just raising money for charities). The Fundraising Regulator has, of course, issued a Code of Practice which is extensive and deals with issues in relation to street collecting which seem sensible and hopefully will strike the right balance. However, Councils can take their own initiatives if they believe that steps need to be taken.
The potential lesson for charities is that any individual who is acting on behalf of the charity should be reminded to be respectful of members of the public and ensure that they are aware and fully compliant with the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Practice.
No doubt this debate will rumble on but for those charities seeking advice and guidance on issues in relation to this matter then the Charities Fundraising Team at SRF will be delighted to assist.
If you require advice regarding charity fundraising compliance or in respect of the above, please contact David Gibson – Head of Charities Fundraising by telephone 0191 211 1524.