FIA appoints Peter Debnam as chair of the FIA Code Authority

Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA)  is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Debnam as the new chair of the FIA Code Authority. The term is for two years and starts on 1 January 2021.

The chair was selected by the board of directors and chief executive after a competitive recruitment process.

During his 17 years in politics, Mr Debnam was a member of the New South Wales Parliament between 1994 and 2011. He was also a former leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party, leader of the opposition and shadow minister for various portfolios.

More recently, he has contributed his energy and time to helping charities and not-for-profit organisations. He has been a director and chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of NSW, director and chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation Australia, chair of the advisory board of Our Big Kitchen Ltd, director and vice-chairman of Care Australia and a director of ParaQuad, NSW, Paddle NSW, Disability Sports Australia and Soils for Life Pty Ltd. He is currently chair of the Sydney North Planning Panel and NSW Kids in Need Foundation Ltd.

With his extensive political experience and understanding of the charity sector, Mr Debnam is well placed to chair the FIA Code Authority, the independent body that oversees compliance with the organisation’s code of conduct for members.

FIA CEO Katherine Raskob welcomed Mr Debnam’s appointment.

“We’re pleased to have Peter come on board as our next chair of the FIA Code Authority. His appointment signals the continuation of the Code Authority’s strong governance of the FIA Code and our continual push for high standards for fundraisers around best practice and ethical conduct. I know he takes a keen interest in our compliance measures for fundraisers such as compulsory Code training for members and our member mystery shopping program,” she said. 

Mr Debnam’s appointment comes as FIA completes an extensive review of its three-year-old Code. He replaces the inaugural chair of the Code Authority, Dr Ursula Stephens, who stepped down in October after completing three years of service.

“I’m delighted to accept the position of chair of the FIA Code Authority. The Authority plays an essential role in ensuring members are doing the right thing by donors and helping to build trust and confidence in a sector we need to be sustainable for the future.”

“With government cutbacks over the years, fundraising is even more relied upon by charities and not-for-profit organisations to raise funds to help their beneficiaries. We need to continue ensuring ethical best practice across the membership and the broader fundraising community. Having an engaged and robust Code Authority will ensure standards of practice are being adhered to which will, in turn, increase trust and confidence in the sector,” he added.

The seven-member Code Authority are responsible for compliance monitoring, complaints administration and making recommendations for improvements to self-regulation, reporting quarterly to the FIA Board of Directors. The authority comprises charity, donor and supplier representatives.