The Rt Hon. The Lord Grade of Yarmouth CBE
CAN Mezzanine Building
49-51 East Road
Dear Lord Grade,
We are so very disheartened to read your comments in The Times, ‘Charities to be punished for clothes bags bombardment’, 27th June 2018.
Whilst legitimate companies in participation with charities work very hard to adhere to regulations and the Code of Fundraising Practice, there exists very clear evidence – which has been shared with you – that at least 63% of clothing donation bags are unlicensed and therefore illegal. If this glut of unregulated volume was cut down then problems and complaints would likely also reduce.
Adhering to requests for ‘no junk mail’ stickers and ‘no charity bag’ signs are matters that the legitimate sector including Clothes Aid recognise and is dealing with appropriately and internally. Unfortunately, the rare infringements in our own case are due to human error or misbehaviour, which swiftly results in sanctions for the personnel breaching procedures once it is brought to our attention. During 2018 we have received from the Fundraising Regulator only three complaints of missing a ‘no charity bag’ sign from the distribution of 35 million bags.
I have met your professional staff and discussed the issues of lack of resources by enforcement agencies and must reiterate the true problem with clothes collection bags is the proliferation of illegal collections that do not respect the Code or the law.
It is these bogus operators that need to be stopped, not legitimate organisations that help with fundraising millions of pounds, crucially divert textiles from landfill and offer a service to householders who wish to be environmentally sensitive in how they dispose of unwanted clothes.
I urge you to recommend to the Charity Commission, Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Department for Communities and Local Government, the Local Government Association and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners that they collectively, together with the Fundraising Regulator, negotiate and agree a memorandum of understanding to determine how each of the respective bodies whose various functions are engaged will cooperate to ensure appropriate compliance to stop unlicensed collections.
Michael Lomotey FRSA, Business Manager
External links & further reading
Please feel free to explore these additional links which are of relevance to our letter to Lord Grade at the Fundraising Regulator. Clothes Aid is not responsible for the content of external websites.
The Times – ‘Charities to be punished for clothes bags bombardment’, 27 June 2018 (article paywalled)
Civil Society – ‘Unlicensed clothing collections costing charities millions, regulator warned’, 08 Feb 2018
Code of Fundraising Practice
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Communities and Local Government
Local Government Association
Association of Police and Crime Commissioners