Former Shrewsbury mayor in fundraising probe

A fundraising watchdog has investigated the former mayor of Shrewsbury following “confusion” over where more than £20,000 was meant be donated.

Jane Mackenzie
Jane Mackenzie

Councillor Jane Mackenzie had planned to raise money for the Shropshire Recovery Partnership (SRP) during her tenure as mayor, but half way through formed her own charity following the death of her daughter.

The Fundraising Regulator said it has concerns and deemed that Councillor Mackenzie was not “sufficiently clear” where the money raised during her time as mayor would go.

In its official report following a year-long investigation it also stated that the charities initially chosen by the former mayor to receive donations had breached two standards of the Code of Fundraising Practice. Shrewsbury Town Council today said the former mayor had seen first-hand the gaps in local services, which led to the formation of her new charity.

This comes after a complaint was made to the watchdog regarding a number of events organised by Councillor Mackenzie during her tenure as mayor from May 2017 to May 2018.

The issue centres around events advertised in aid of the SRP, including a purple tie and tiara ball on March 10, 2018 and a charity concert on April 11, 2018, where it was later suggested the money raised would be used by Councillor Mackenzie to form her own charity, Share Shrewsbury.

The official Fundraising Regulator’s decision published in September 2019 states: “We do not consider that the mayor made the change of fundraising cause sufficiently clear in relation to the Purple Tie and Tiara Ball and the Mayor’s Charity Concert, which resulted in this complaint.

“Whilst we have not been able to determine any breaches of the Code of Fundraising Practice as the former mayor was not operating as a fundraising organisation, we have concerns regarding the fundraising undertaken by the former mayor.”

It added: “We could not see that the SRP put in place any agreement with the former mayor in relation to the fundraising she was undertaking on their behalf.

Purpose

“Had the SRP had such a written agreement in place, it is possible that this complaint may have been prevented.

“Therefore, we found that ARCH Initiatives/Kaleidoscope and Addaction have breached two standards in the section of the code which relates to working with volunteers.

“We found that Addaction responded appropriately to the complaint. Therefore, we found that they have not breached the section of the code regarding complaint handling.”

The report added Shrewsbury Town Council has £21,799.03 fundraised during Councillor Mackenzie’s tenure as mayor, of which £8,865.63 will be donated to Kaleidoscope and £12,933.40 will go to Share Shrewsbury.

The council said as a result of the investigation it will now formalise arrangements for mayoral fundraising to avoid confusion.

Helen Ball, Shrewsbury Town Clerk, said: “Mayors of Shrewsbury have long since raised funds for charities and local organisations they have been passionate about and in the case of Councillor Mackenzie, during her Mayoral year she was keen to raise money to support people in recovery living in Shrewsbury.

“She witnessed first-hand the needs locally and the gaps in services offered and subsequently set up her own charity, Share Shrewsbury, to specifically support both people with addiction and their families on pathways to recovery.

“Fundraising efforts during that mayoral year highlighted the need to formalise mayoral fundraising arrangements between the mayor and their chosen charities to ensure that the money raised locally is spent locally for the purpose the mayor intended.

“Both town clerk and Councillor Mackenzie assisted in the Fundraising Regulator’s Investigation and in accordance with the recommendations in the report, mayors since have formal agreements for fundraising.”

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