Sussex

Arun doorstep fundraiser regulations criticised as 'overbearing'

More stringent regulations on doorstep fundraisers are to be introduced in parts of West Sussex.

Arun District Council said it wants to make sure every charity fundraiser knocking on a door in the area is properly vetted.

However, the policy has been described as "overbearing" by the Institute of Fundraising.

And councillors have admitted there had been no complaints about doorstep sellers from residents.

'One policy'

In a report the council said it would be checking on how fundraising staff were recruited, how much commission they charge and how many people would be visiting an area, before licences were granted.

Graham Tyler, chairman of licensing enforcement at Arun District Council, said: "Every charity that was coming to us, we found there were discrepancies in the way they recruited their staff and the training that they gave.

"As a licensing committee, with the amount of applications we were getting and the difference between the companies out there, we felt they [the charities] should have one policy and one set of criteria."

'Intrusive'

However, he added: "I must admit we have not had any of our residents in Arun phoning up and complaining about the doorstep sellers."

Ed Wyatt, policy officer at the Institute of Fundraising, a professional membership body for UK fundraising, said the policy was "overbearing, intrusive and unnecessary".

"I think the major issue here is making sure there is that difference, that line, that balance between what is criminal and what is perfectly legal," he said.

"Throughout all direct debit collection techniques on the street and on the doorstep, of the two million donors signed up, only 0.01% of those made complaints."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites