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Code set for charities' fund-raising

First Edition

A CODE of practice to prevent intrusive behaviour by charities seeking donations by telephone is launched today by the Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers.

The attempt at self-regulation has been prompted by a massive increase in telephone fund-raising by major charities, including Oxfam, Shelter, Action Aid and the RSPCA. Such appeals account for 10 per cent of complaints made to the Charities Commission in relation to fund-raising activities.

The institute, which opens a national convention in Birmingham today, is seeking to put its own house in order in advance of charities legislation, to be enacted later this year, which gives the Home Secretary residual powers to regulate telephone fundraising.

The code covers the contractual relationships between charities and agencies undertaking their fund-raising, complaints procedures and guidance on the content and style of telephone calls.

Stephen Lee, director of the institute, said yesterday: 'The public will only continue to support charities if they believe all of their activities, including telephone fund-raising, are being carried out sensitively and appropriately.'

Telephone appeals are estimated to raise tens of millions of pounds a year. The draft code is scheduled to come into effect next spring.