The Law Commission published its report on Technical Issues in Charity Law in September 2017 following a public consultation.
You can read it here.
If you read nothing else, it is worth taking a look at section 3 - The role of trustees: governance. Or for the digested read: ‘Last summer's controversies were evidence of a failure of governance by trustees ... [who] were either negligent or wilfully blind’ #pacac (see para. 34)
The report goes on to recommend that charity trustees:
- accept the need to maintain public trust in charity fundraising and ‘demonstrate this acceptance in changed attitudes and behaviour’,
- take positive, effective action to ensure they can have confidence in the methods and ethics of fundraising conducted on their behalf, and
- ensure their boards have the balance of skills necessary to adequately supervise fundraising;
- and that: ‘The new [fundraising] regulator, and where necessary, the Charity Commission, should validate and recommend suitable training courses for trustees.’
So what next?
It is possible to question some of the MP's conclusions and it is worth reading the array of blog posts that do just that. See for example, Karl Wilding's excellent post here.
However, many trustees will look for training of the sort the use of data to help them satisfy themselves that they are equipped to fulfil their governance role, asking well-informed questions of fundraisers and other staff and helping to formulate strategies to ensure that fundraising is run in a way that reflects the values of their organisation.
The fundamental concern underlying most of the 2015 fundraising controversy was whether the charities concerned were using personal data in a way that was legal, ethical and consistent with their stated values.
For more information
Charity trustees grappling with the use of data should contact our data protection expert Jane Burns.
For all other enquiries contact Shivaji Shiva.
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