Lindsays seminar examines charities fundraising code

Lindsays seminar examines charities fundraising code

Pictured (L-R): Stephen Shirres, Helen Kidd and Ben Doherty

A seminar hosted by Lindsays has highlighted progress being made on updating Scotland’s charities fundraising code, along with changes surrounding governance and employment in the third sector.

The updated UK-wide Code of Fundraising Practice is expected to be brought into play by the fundraising regulator during the early part of next year.

Scottish Fundraising Adjudication Panel co-chair Stephen Shirres shared the planned timetable, which follows consultations in 2022 and 2023, while outlining the organisation’s work during a charity law seminar hosted by Lindsays.

He explained the revised code is intended to better reflect the realities of fundraising in the post-pandemic world and the huge rate at which the influence of technology has grown, including the use of artificial intelligence.

It was part of an event in which Lindsays’ head of charities and the third sector, Helen Kidd, highlighted the need for charitable organisations to stay on top of changing governance rules affecting the sector.

Ben Doherty, the firm’s head of employment, reminded the audience of the raft of employment changes coming into force – and the others that could come into play if Labour were to win the upcoming general election.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Shirres said: “This is about ensuring the standards we ask charities to maintain when fundraising are fit for the world in which they operate.

“Technology has transformed much of the ways in which fundraising is done, particularly through online campaigns. It is important that the code of practice reflects this in confirming the high standards expected, whether in-person or virtually.

“At the same time, our hope is that the revision will make our sector’s self-regulation stronger by having a simplified and streamlined regulatory process and guidelines which can be better applied to different scenarios.”

Once agreed, there is expected to be a six-month grace period before the new code, initial consultation on which took place last year, comes into force.

The code was one of a number of topics discussed at the seminar.

Ms Kidd explained the impact of the latest rules to come into force through Scotland’s Charities Act, including additional powers for industry regulator OSCR.

She said: “This was a really insightful event, bringing people from all kinds of charities - and those who work with them - together to focus on some very real issues affecting the third sector.

“There are a lot of legal changes affecting charities at the moment. Like all of the others, they need to be aware about when the updated Code of Fundraising Practice is likely to come into force and what it will mean for what they do.

“There is no doubt that fundraising is tough. The last thing any of us who works with charities want is for that hard work to be potentially undermined because it has not reached the sensible - but high - standards that the industry demands.”

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