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The Fundraising Preference Service: why it’s not being used in Scottish fundraising regulation

14 Nov 2016

The Scottish Fundraising Working Group conducted a consultation on a new system of fundraising regulation in Scotland in the spring of 2016. 

In it, there was strong support for a creating a system that would allow us to actively pursue excellence in fundraising across Scotland. Curbing aggressive fundraising and protecting vulnerable people is essential part of that, as is ensuring that charities have strong complaints processes in place to deal with public complaints.

As you may be aware, the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) is due to be implemented in 2017 in England and Wales by the Fundraising Regulator. This will be a way of blocking charities registered in England and Wales from contacting individuals with fundraising asks.

The Scottish Fundraising Implementation Group which will put the new system into operation looked very closely at the FPS and whether or not the service would be right for the sector in Scotland; a sector which is predominantly made up of small and medium sized organisations.

Looking at the information available and consulting with key partners, there was not sufficient evidence to suggest that the FPS would offer anything over the current legal requirements – or the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and the Mail Preference Service (MPS). 

The aim of the new fundraising system in Scotland is to improve fundraising practice, and what is extremely important for charities is that:

  • there is an understanding of their current legal obligations
  • processes are put in place to make sure they are fulfilling these obligations
  • they are ready for the new data protection legislation which will likely be coming in before the departure of the UK from the European Union  

A member of the Scottish public is free to sign up to the FPS. However, it will only cover English and Welsh charities and charities that work both in England and Wales and Scotland, but whose lead regulator is the Charity Commission of England and Wales.

Building an effective approach to fundraising regulation requires us to make sure that the system is appropriate in each jurisdiction. The Fundraising Implementation Group in Scotland has worked hard to design a system that is appropriate for the make-up of the Scottish sector and will give us the tools we need to continually work to raise standards in fundraising.