59 charities issued with regulatory notices and referred to the ICO by the Fundraising Regulator
The Fundraising Regulator has issued 59 UK charities with regulatory notices, as well as reporting matters to the ICO and the Charity Commission. You can view a full list of the charities that have breached the Code of Fundraising Practice here.
A number of complaints that the charities had failed to comply with requests to stop contacting individuals (known as ‘suppression requests’), with fundraising and marketing approaches, led The Fundraising Regulator to launch an investigation.
Details of The Code of Fundraising Practice can be seen here. Since the FPS’s launch in 2017, more than 8,300 people have submitted over 25,000 requests.
The Fundraising Regulator said it made “repeated attempts” to contact each charity on the list, following the suppression request, made through the portal. The charity was automatically emailed and told to log in to the FPS system to “collect” the request. Charities have 28 days to act on the request and to stop contacting the individual. Chief executives were also sent a final warning explaining that not acting might be a breach of the Data Protection Act 2018, resulting in the matter being reported to the ICO and Charity Commission.
Under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018, individuals have the right to object to the use of their personal data, for marketing purposes, at any time. This is also reflected in section 5.7 of the Code of Fundraising Practice. The Code states that:
‘Organisations MUST either cease within a reasonable period (meaning as soon as is practicable, but in any event not exceeding 28 days) or not begin to process an individual’s personal data for the purpose of direct marketing where they receive notice from, or on behalf of an individual to do so.’
The complaints to The Fundraising Regulator stated that the charities had not complied with this - continuing to contact the individuals in question.
Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator, Gerald Oppenheim, stated: "Some charities may think they have valid reasons for not accessing the suppression requests. Despite this, they are still in breach of the code and possibly in breach of the Data Protection Act, because each request is an individual's wish to stop receiving direct marketing".
This is a clear warning to charities to not only make themselves aware of the practical detail contained within the Code of Fundraising Practice, but to act within it.