Shall I tell you what I found bizarre councillor Cousins? It’s that, after one of your officials contacted us on July 17 to talk to us about fundraising in Tooting, and we then invited her to meet with us on 21 July, 27 July and then again 11 August (each time receiving a brush off), we only found out that you weren’t going to meet us (and it would seem never had any intention of doing so) though the media of council press office and the Standard newspaper.

Your press release talks of having received an “unsatisfactory response” from the PFRA. What more did you expect after an initial contact than ‘lets get together and talk it over’? Seems like a satisfactory way to go about things to me. Or did you just expect us to say: ‘Oh of course councillor Cousins, we’ll do whatever you tell us to do?’

BTW – I saw your Tweet where you said that PFRA had issued an “outrageous” press release that accused Wandsworth of lying about street fundraising. Perhaps your officials have not been keeping you in the loop. I can let you have the email stream where we three times asked for a meeting if this would help clarify the situation for you.

Actually, the last brush off, er, I mean email, from the official(dated two working days before your press release was issued) says she couldn’t fix a meeting because some people were on holiday (presumably you were one of them). So while your holiday precluded setting a meeting date with us, you still had enough time to sign off the press release. I am right, aren’t I, in inferring that the press release was written and awaiting your approval before we were sent the email on 13 August saying yet again deferring setting a meeting date?

Wandsworth’s stance appeared in a Standard story alongside Westminster council’s announcement that they had ‘imposed’ new rules for chuggers (when in fact all they had done was to meet with us once to discuss how the agreement between us and Westminster a year ago might be amended). So I am sure you can understand why we were suspicious that you’d colluded somehow.

However, thanks for clearing this up and stating that you (the corporate ‘you’, Wandsworth council and its officials) did not collude with Westminster, such as by co-ordinating the timings of your press releases, or by discussing between the two of you your respective relationships with the PFRA). Your denial is good enough for us.

So, do you want to meet the PFRA to discuss the situation in Tooting or not? If you do, you can contact us directly via email or phone, you can get an official to email us to set up a meeting, or you can announce you’re coming through a press release, blog, Tweet or an interview with the South London Press. Whichever way you choose to arrange a meeting with us, we’ll be glad to meet you.

However, if you don’t want to meet with the PFRA to discuss Tooting, why not just come right out with it now, on your blog, so at least your colours are nailed to the mast?

Ian MacQuillin
Head of Communications
Public Fundraising Regulatory Association

PS, that’s ‘Association’, not ‘Authority’