Charity Chuggers 'Should Face More Controls'

Jason Farrell, Sky News correspondent

Charities face major changes to how they raise funds after the author of an official report said some high streets are "becoming suffocated with chuggers".

The review, commissioned by the Government, will recommend major changes to the way charities are run and call for more powers to control face-to-face fundraisers.

It will also recommend charities introduce a "traffic lights" system - showing how they spend their money - while codes of conduct should be beefed up and properly enforced.

The publication includes 113 recommendations for change. Report author Lord Hodgson says some high streets are "becoming suffocated with chuggers" and there needed to be greater control over how they operate.

He said: "It is perfectly clear that chugging has caused difficulties in the high street. It is not just a problem for the public who run the gauntlet but also for shopkeepers because when you have chuggers outside your shop, the public just cross the road."

Earlier this year a Sky News investigation into street fundraisers found the public were being harassed and rules were being broken.

After receiving complaints about tactics used in Islington our undercover reporter went to the area and was approached by reps working for Amnesty International .

He told the fundraiser six times that he did not have much money and would like to "think about it" before committing to a donation.

The rep repeatedly criticised his decision to take time considering, saying: "What is there to think about?

"I mean, imagine you were in a situation like that.

"You went to another country and you said, 'I think there should be democracy here' and they lived under a dictatorship and you got put in prison for saying that and nobody knew where you were.

"How soon would you want somebody to help you?"

He persisted for eight minutes.

Lord Hodgson's report also proposes a 'traffic lights' system be introduced to guide donors. The factors include levels of staff payments; what money comes from government; what goes overseas and where to; and whether the charity is a member of the Fundraising Standards Board, which enforces codes of conduct.

Lord Hodgson also wants to strengthen the complaints procedure with one single regulator overseeing the sector.

It is hoped his recommendations will allow the public to give more happily, knowledgeably and without being subjected to over-zealous tactics.