Jonathan Garton, Deputy Head of the Law School at the University of Warwick comments on news that charities could face fund-raising bans for breaking the rules,
"Research published this month by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) suggests that public trust in charities has fallen significantly in the past year. When asked in 2014 whether most charities are trustworthy and act in the public interest 71% agreed; in 2015 this had fallen to 57%. As the CAF report notes, this is perhaps unsurprising in light of high-profile stories on the withdrawal of government funding and subsequent collapse of Kids Company, and on the possible link between the death of a 92-year-old woman and the aggressive fundraising practices to which she was allegedly subjected.
Rules and regulations are a double-edged sword. Although some oversight is desirable, it is important that charities remain independent from government interference if they are to offer the public a meaningful alternative to services provided by the public sector. They must also remain free to innovate, even if this carries with it a possible reputational risk. It was the charitable sector that gave us the first schools, the first public libraries and the first hospitals: we cannot know what other firsts we will miss if charitable activity is overly stifled by the regulatory framework in which it operates."
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