- In July 2013, I came across the website of Army of Angels, a military charity (registered charity number: 1143612): http://www.armyofangels.org.uk. At that time their homepage displayed the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) “give with confidence” tick logo. Here is the page at 22 July 2013: http://1drv.ms/Mpm58K. Yet the charity then wasn’t a member of the FRSB.
- What is the FRSB? Established in 2006, the FRSB is “the only independent self-regulatory scheme for fundraising in the UK” (http://www.frsb.org.uk). Members commit to the FRSB’s “high standards” of fundraising (http://www.frsb.org.uk/what-we-do/the-standards); and display the FRSB “give with confidence” tick logo (http://www.frsb.org.uk/what-we-do/the-frsb-tick). Charities pay an annual fee for membership.
- The list of members is publicly available on the FRSB website. At July 2013, Army of Angels was using the FRSB “give with confidence” tick logo on their homepage, despite then not being a member of the FRSB.
- In August 2013, I asked the FRSB (email) whether Army of Angels had ever been a member. According to Barbara Arnold there, Army of Angels (registered charity number: 1143612) has never been a member. But another Army of Angels (registered charity number: 1137575) had been a member, joining in December 2011. On 27 March 2012, charity 1137575 was removed from the Charity Commission register: it “ceased to exist” (source: Charity Commission website). At the time, charity 1137575 failed to inform the FRSB that it had been removed from the Charity Commission register (source: Ms Arnold at the FRSB).
- In August 2013, I noticed that Army of Angels had got rid of the FRSB “give with confidence” tick logo on their homepage. They now displayed the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) logo (http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk). According to the IoF, the charity became a member in July 2013. Members commit to the IoF’s Code of Fundraising Practice (http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/guidance/code-of-fundraising-practice). The Code is informed by four values: legal, open, honest and respectful.
- On 30 August 2013, I asked the Army of Angels Fundraising Manager, Jack Sklenar, (email, copied to the address for general enquiries, email@example.com) why at July 2013, the charity was using the FRSB “give with confidence” tick logo on their homepage, despite then not being a member of the FRSB. Although I received an automatic acknowledgement of receipt from Mr Sklenar, neither he nor anyone else replied with an answer to the question.
- On 12 February 2014, I forwarded to Mr Sklenar (copied to firstname.lastname@example.org) my 30 August 2013 email, and asked again for an answer to the question. This time I did receive a reply – on the same day, from the Army of Angels Company Secretary, Cathy Sklenar. She wrote: “We were a member of the Fundraising Standards Board but changed and we are now a member of the Institute of Fundraising and the tick was removed from the website.”
- In my 13 February 2014 reply to the Company Secretary, I said that she hadn’t actually answered the question. I heard nothing more from Ms Sklenar.
- Can we trust Army of Angels?
On 5 February 2014, the Charity Commission announced that it has appointed an Interim Manager
to Afghan Heroes (http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/news/regulator-appoints-interim-manager-to-armed-forces-charity-after-regulatory-concerns-regarding-the-management-and-administration-of-the-charity/).
- The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the Charity Commission, published 5 February 2014, is damning (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubacc/792/792.pdf). PAC Chair Margaret Hodge says that the regulator of charities is “not fit for purpose” (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/publication-of-report-tax-reliefs-on-charitable-donations/).
- The MPs specifically criticise the Commission for being “too slow and inefficient” investigating Afghan Heroes.
- In its rebuttal to the PAC, also published 5 February 2014, the Commission rejects the criticism of its investigation into Afghan Heroes. It “expects to announce further developments in the case shortly” (http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/news/charity-commission-rebuts-pac-criticism/).