July 17, 2017 : Gillian MacKay

Fundraising regulation – what’s happening in Scotland?

With a flurry of fundraising news over the last few weeks where the considerable focus (and, in some cases, criticism) has been south of the border, you may be thinking ‘what does this mean for Scotland?’

The first thing to note is that Northern Ireland came to a decision on what fundraising regulation would look like there, which was to join the Fundraising Regulator. So English, Welsh and Northern Irish charities fall under the remit of the Fundraising Regulator, and Scottish charities fall under our remit, the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel.

However, the biggest news story has been the launch of the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) and I think this is where some clarity is needed. FPS doesn’t include charities that are registered only in Scotland with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). So, this is why things have been a little quiet here and why you haven’t seen us mentioned in the media items.

If you haven’t read our news item, I’ve summarised the key features of FPS here:

  • Anyone in the UK can use the service but it only applies to charities registered with the Charity Commission’s in England & Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • You can manage communications from specific charities by searching for them on the FPS system;
  • You can select three in any one session but can log back in if you want to select more; and
  • You can decide if you want to stop emails, telephone calls, addressed post, and/or text messages.

But why are Scottish charities not included? Well, that’s simple. FPS was considered as part of the fundraising review in Scotland and it was decided that the service wouldn’t offer anything over the current legal requirements; those being the Telephone Preference Service and Mail Preference Service and an individual’s rights under data protection laws to request their details be removed from any organisations database.

Also taken into consideration was the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Given what information we have about GDPR and consent, come 28th May 2018 your charity should be able to evidence that everyone on your database wants to hear from you and, in theory, FPS should no longer be required.

In these circumstances, it seems more appropriate for us to focus our attention elsewhere. A few weeks ago, we launched both our website and Twitter and going forward our emphasis will be on promoting fundraising standards, as well as facilitating understanding of legal obligations, throughout the Scottish charity sector. Follow us on Twitter to be kept up-to-date.

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Gillian MacKay