'Door to door Chugging'

Plenary on 2014-12-09
Session date: 
December 9, 2014
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What advice do the MPS give to elderly members of the public regarding the common practice of Charities sending staff door to door seeking to collect banking details and sign up donors?  What steps would the MPS take if a Charity pressured a confused and vulnerable older person on their doorstep to become a lifelong donor? How would the public go about complaining about this practice?


Answer for 'Door to door Chugging'

Answer for 'Door to door Chugging'

The initial advice to elderly and vulnerable residents in respect of charity callers, is in line with that for 'bogus traders': "If you are not expecting anybody then do not open the door and do not seek to engage in conversation or dialogue". Charity callers are often highly persuasive and the experience can be potentially upsetting and stressful.

Prominently displayed signage for front doors is available, and can be dissuasive to a potential caller. If they see the sign then they will be less inclined to target the location.

'No Cold Calling Zones' are in operation across London. These are typically multi agency operations run by the residents, the council and the police. The primary purpose is to deter cold callers and to help protect the residents from being pressurised into making financial decisions on the spot. If these individuals or groups persist, then their details will be passed to the police and trading standards.

The MPS now records any police encounter with an individual where vulnerabilities are identified (using the Vulnerability Assessment Framework). The reason for concern can be highlighted, e.g. financial. The report will be researched to identify any history and any patterns or trends. If appropriate, relevant information is then shared with the local authority for intervention and/or signposting to relevant agencies. The MPS also has a comprehensive operational toolkit for the investigation of offences committed against adults with care and support needs.

If there is no clear criminal offence, but there may be evidence of bad practice or unfair pressure, then there may be a referral to the Charity Commission or to Trading Standards.

If members of the public wish to make a complaint about the activities of a charity sending staff door to door, I suggest that they first make a complaint to the Charity directly. Residents can also contact their local trading standards team, the Charity Commission or the Fundraising Standards Board. If there are concerns about fraud or harassment, residents can also contact their local Safer Neighbourhood Team.