Charity regulator defends council attacks on “chugging”

The Public Fundraising Regularity Association, which regulates face-to-face charity fundraising, has hit back at two London Councils for releasing “inaccurate” and “malicious” statements against street fundraising this week.

Wandsworth Council and Westminster Council, separately put out statements calling for local authorities to tackle the high numbers of ‘chuggers’ on the streets of Tooting Broadway and Westminster, and the tactics they employ. A move the PFRA believes could be part of a joined up campaign from the two local authorities.

Wandsworth Council claimed the fundraisers pester passers by causing an obstruction and risk to personal safety in the area. They were also criticised for using “manipulative” tactics to take advantage of vulnerable individuals, claims that the PFRA says are “contemptible.”

There are historic issues surrounding street fundraising in Tooting Broadway, and the PFRA says it has been trying to agree a site management agreement with Wandsworth Council to resolve how many fundraisers can visit the area and how often.

The association currently controls the activity of street fundraisers and operates a diary system of when and where street teams can operate. It also holds a number of formal and informal site management agreements with local authorities, which outline a code of practice in town centres.

Currently street fundraisers are not required to hold a licence but under the 2006 Charities Act, the third sector is consulting to bring in a licensing regime. Under the new regime, local councils will not be able to ban the activity.

The PFRA is currently seeking legislation to create a registered fundraiser directory to clear up the issue of rogue fundraisers.

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