Tough new rules and fines to crack down on charity 'chuggers'

Fears raised over funding, but henpecked shoppers should be given a break

They have become a feature of Britain's high streets, but they could find themselves marginalised from now on. New rules which bar so-called "chuggers" – the charity street collectors – from standing near shop entrances, among other restrictions, came into force yesterday.

The change will doubtless be popular with the hen-pecked shoppers who routinely have to cross the road to avoid "charity muggers", but others will argue that a valuable source of funding for charities could be choked by the new rules.

Some techniques, including following people down the street and pretending someone has dropped something – revealed earlier this year as a tactic to snag potential donors while forcing them to stop in the street – has seen the popularity of so-called chuggers plummet ever lower. An investigation by the Sunday Telegraph recently found that a number of street fundraisers trained by the firm Tag Campaigns were not being told they must disclose that they are paid, while footage showed staff following people down the street despite their insistences they were not interested.

The new rules, developed by the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, mean that fundraisers are no longer allowed stand within three metres of a shop doorway, pedestrian crossing, cashpoint or train and bus station entrances; effectively barring them from most high streets. Nor can they approach members of the public deemed to be "on-duty", banning them from approaching anyone who might be working. They are also barred from working on sites booked by other fundraisers. Moreover, fundraisers have been told they must be open about how much their firm is paid to carry out the work and should now submit the wording of that to the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA). They should also carry information about the sites they work on.

The existing rules were also amended so that chuggers cannot follow someone down the street for more than three steps. Each transgression incurs a set number of penalty points for the organisation. After a minimum threshold of 1,000 penalty points is reached, the organisation is fined at a rate of £1-per-point.

Max (not his real name), a 33-year-old fundraiser in central London, said the new regulations were a sign of the PFRA attempting to "phase out street fundraising, because we're not exactly the most popular people". He added his belief that in-house charitable organisations would be hardest hit if they breached the rules, while large-scale agencies can allow for financial penalties because they have greater economic resources.

But Kate (not her real name), a 23-year-old fundraiser, said some of the rules would be adapted on the ground. Referring to the new, stricter regulations on disallowing those who are "unable to give their consent" from donating, she said: "They are altered once we start trying to talk to people, it's very much down to you to figure out if someone is capable of donating."

The tighter rules were welcomed by the Institute for Fundraising. In a statement, the institute's chief executive Peter Lewis said: "We are unified in our mission to maintain public trust in charities so that fundraisers can continue to raise much needed funds for the good causes they support."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all