New penalties have been introduced on UK high streets to prevent street ‘chuggers’ from hounding consumers, it was confirmed yesterday.
‘Chuggers’ or ‘charity muggers’ who operate across the UK are to face new rules devised by the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), meanign that street fundraisers cannot follow a person for more than three steps nor stand within three metres shop doorways, cash point, station entrance or pedestrian crossing.
Working members of the public such as newspaper vendors must also not be approached and signing up anyone to Direct Debit who is unable to give informed consent through illness or disability will also be prohibited.
Sally de la Bedoyere, CEO of the PFRA, explained the need for such rules.
“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,” she said.
“The commitment made by all of our charity and agency members to conform to these new special standards is testament to the seriousness with which charities take their best practice obligations.”
Further to these guidelines, chuggers must also terminate any engagement when asked to do so directly or through body language and the PFRA will monitor compliance through mystery shopping trips and spot checks.
Recently, Lord Hodgson reviewed the Charities Act and made recommendations to try and improve current regulations, suggesting that more English and Welsh authorities enter into voluntary co-regulatory agreements with the PFRA and de la Bedoyere backed the move.
“We are keen to work with as many councils as we can to establish the right balance between charities’ duty to ask people for support with the rights of the public not to be put under undue pressure to give,” she commented.
“Our ultimate aim is to have a fundraising agreement for every place where street fundraising is conducted.”