UK Chugging Penalties to Be Enforced
Thursday, 23rd August 2012 at 11:05 am
A chugger on a UK street. Photo: civilsociety.co.uk
Strict new penalties for street fundraisers or ‘chuggers’ throughout Great Britain come into effect this week but they are not likely to be copied in Australia in the near future.
Under new rules, devised by the UK Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), fundraisers must not:
- follow a person for more than three steps
- stand within 3m of a shop doorway, cashpoint, pedestrian crossing or station entrance
- sign up to a Direct Debit anyone unable to give informed consent through illness, disability, or drink or drugs
- approach any members of the public who are working, such as tour guides or newspaper vendors
As well “fundraisers must always terminate an engagement when they are clearly and unambiguously asked, by speech or body language, to do so”, according to the new rules.
The Association says the rules, which have been on trial for a year, enhance the existing code of practice produced by the Institute of Fundraising.
Fundraising organisations that transgress the rules will rack up a series of penalty points that will then be converted into a monetary fine once they reach a threshold. Charities and agencies will receive penalty points of 20, 50 or 100 for breaching the rules. If an organisation receives more than 1,000 points in a financial year, it will face a fine of £1 per point.
PFRA says it will monitor compliance with both the new rules and the code of practice through a mystery shopping program, spot checks by compliance staff, and through co-regulation with staff and officials at 47 councils with whom PFRA has voluntary co-regulatory agreements.
The rules are compulsory for all PFRA members and will operate nationally.
“For a form of fundraising that is so regularly in the limelight, it is vitally important that fundraisers work to the highest possible standards in order to maintain the confidence of the public, media, and central and local government,” Sally de la Bedoyere, Chief Executive of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association said.
In Australia there is no specific legislation or regulations around street fundraising.
The Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) says it is watching the UK developments closely however while there is a Code of Practice here there are no moves to include penalties similar to the UK.
FIA CEO Rob Edwards says there is far more angst about street fundraising or chugging in the UK than exists here in Australia.
“If and when there is sufficient angst in the community here, clearly it would be in the interests of the sector to do something more.”
“However, across the country, local councils usually have specific rules about street fundraising with different requirements in different places.
“Councils engage with the FIA to resolve any issues that may arise,” Edwards said.