This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities must stop “hounding vulnerable”

This news post is about 8 years old

​Head of England and Wales' Charity Commission tells groups to get their house in order

Charities should stop “hounding” vulnerable and older people, the chair of the Charity Commission has said.

Speaking at a public meeting in Southampton, William Shawcross, said that it was wrong to blame the media for negative reporting when many of the public agreed charities were going too far in breaching guidelines.

Because of the size and scale of the sector, charities would necessarily come under the spotlight and this was something charities had to prepare themselves for.

Making reference to negative reporting following the death of 92 year old poppy seller Olive Cooke, he said: "Now some have blamed the media, but this is to miss the point. The impact of the revelations of the last year have been felt so strongly because they struck a chord with the public.

“The stories found a receptive audience who thought in recent years that perhaps some charities had allowed their values to become obscured as they adopted the sharp practices of industry.”

It cannot be right for vulnerable people, older people, generous people, to be hounded

He said the commission, in response, has set out more clearly than ever what trustees must do to ensure their fundraising practice fits with the values that accompany charitable status.

“Simply put, it cannot be right for vulnerable people, older people, generous people, to be hounded, on the telephone, through the letter box or in the street," he said.

Shawcross’s speech came in tandem with a formal warning issued by the Charity Commission to 1,700 charities.

Alerting trutees, some commercial activities could undermine the ethics of their organisation, the letter urges groups to make sure all their deals are "legal, ethical and not potentially harmful to the charity’s reputation."

Commercial tie-ins may bring valuable income and awareness for charities but a charity’s “name and reputation are valuable assets which trustees must protect,” states the letter.



0 0
about 8 years ago
Couldn't agree more! Having worked in the charity sector for more than 10 years I have slowly seen my organisation move towards a centralised faceless business model which I have tried resisting for a decade but the tide and force of change towards people pretending / playing “leaders” seems to be unstoppable. When they first looked at introducing the “chuggers” and the like we were appalled at how they were looking to do things. Would this not leave the most vulnerable at risk? Yes we thought it would. Would it not affect charities credibility and reputations as a whole? Yes it has! How could we with good conscience farm out this kind of work to third party marketers whose only interest was KPI’s and profits / bonuses. We are supposed to be about serving the wider good. While I understand that this approach has brought significant returns and some stability to charity funding base (for a time – but that has passed) my concern was and has always been at what longer term costs. Are we living our values? Are we acting like we say we should be? I absolutely feel that there should be a regulation and control of so called charities to ensure they pass the ultimate litmus test - serving the public (or a particular required niche) good!
Commenting is now closed on this post