Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel marks 5 years of fundraising regulation

2021 marks the fifth year of the Independent Fundraising Standards & Adjudication Panel for Scotland’s (or “the Panel”) inception. Panel Chair, Val Armstrong-Surgenor reflects on the Panel’s activities and achievements.

My involvement with the Panel began when I chaired the Scottish Fundraising Implementation Group, who were tasked with bringing to life the recommendations set out by the Scottish Fundraising Working Group. On the Panel’s launch, I served as a Panel member before becoming Chair in 2018.

Over the past five years since the Panel was introduced, we have supported Scotland’s system of enhanced self-regulation to grow confidence in charity fundraising; inspire public trust and actively promote good fundraising.

A brief history

The Panel was born from a review into the effectiveness of the self-regulation of fundraising in Scotland carried out by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). The aim was to identify whether the then current system of fundraising self-regulation was adequate.

After consultation with the third sector and the public, the Scottish Fundraising Working Group recommended that Fundraising in Scotland should adopt a model of enhanced self-regulation. It was agreed that Scottish Charities and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) would have an enhanced role in fundraising regulation coupled with the creation of an Independent Panel which would oversee complaints relating to fundraising practices amongst the Scottish charity sector.

How we work

The Panel’s core functions are:

  • Fundraising complaints

Where a breach of the Code of Fundraising Practice is adjudicated by the Panel, we will make recommendations to improve the charity’s processes or practices.

  • Fundraising standards in Scotland

The fundraising standards that apply to charities and fundraisers are set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice, which is maintained by the Fundraising Regulator. The Panel work with charities and the third sector to ensure that the standards of fundraising in Scotland are upheld.

To further strengthen this, the Panel introduced the Good Fundraising Guarantee to enable Scottish charities to demonstrate their commitment to fundraising in a legal, open, honest and respectful manner.

Looking forward

The Panel has developed close working relationships with the Fundraising Regulator, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising in Scotland, OSCR, SCVO and the Third Sector Unit of Scottish Government. As the Panel moves into its next five years’ we hope to continue to build on those relationships as we work towards greater visibility of our role and function across Scotland.

A rebrand (to be launched very soon) will see us focus more on the promotion to the public of what we do to increase our engagement with the public more generally and we look forward to working more closely with Scottish charities, of all sizes, to improve fundraising standards.