【HONG KONG】【REGULATORY UPDATE】【NGO】 New administrative measures to enhance transparency of charitable fund-raising activities and safeguard donors’ interests

The Government of HKSAR announced a series of administrative measures to enhance the transparency of charitable fund-raising activities, safeguard the interests of donors and facilitate the conduct of fund-raising activities. These include:

(1) Uploading all audited accounts submitted by organisations, which file applications on or after 1 August 2018 and obtain approval to organise charitable fund-raising activities from the Social Welfare Department (SWD) or charitable lottery events from the Home Affairs Department (HAD), to the fund-raising activities page of GovHK for reference by the public;

(2) Setting up a dedicated hotline (Tel: 3142 2678) for handling enquiries or complaints in relation to charitable fund-raising activities held by organisations in public places;

(3) Having the SWD, the HAD and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department jointly issue the Good Practice Guide on Charitable Fund-raising (the Guide) to replace the Reference Guide on Best Practices for Charitable Fund-raising Activities previously promulgated by the SWD, and stepping up promotion to encourage the adoption of the Guide by charitable organisations. The Guide will also be uploaded to the fund-raising activities page of GovHK to assist the public to make reference and evaluate the performance of charitable organisations in organising fund-raising activities and to help donors understand their rights; and

(4) Providing a one-stop service for charitable fund-raising activities organised on government land to remove the need for charitable organisations to separately apply to the Lands Department for temporary occupation of government land when applying for permits or licences for different kinds of fund-raising activities. The permit or licence approval authority will consult the Lands Department and notify the charitable organisations direct on the application results.

The new measures are effective from 1 August 2018.