The Information Commissioner’s Office has informed eleven charities that it intends to fine them for breaching the Data Protection Act.

The charities will be given 28 days to respond to the ICO’s findings. The ICO will consider representations made by each charity before making a final decision about enforcement action.

The charities were investigated by the ICO as part of a wider operation sparked by reports in the media about repeated and significant pressure on supporters to contribute.

The ICO has already fined the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the British Heart Foundation.

There are no other outstanding investigations into charities as part of that operation.

The ICO is now focusing its attention on ensuring compliance within the charity and fundraising sector.

A conference aimed at helping charities and other fundraising groups comply with the law will be held at Manchester Town Hall on February 21.

The Fundraising and Regulatory Compliance Conference has been jointly organised by the ICO, Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator. It will set out the regulatory requirements and expectations for fundraising bodies and their boards under current and forthcoming data protection legislation.

Representatives from a range of charities, universities and umbrella groups will attend the event. The free, one-day conference is aimed at trustees and decision-makers. Organisations can apply to attend here.

 

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  1. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  1. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  1. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:

fairly and lawfully processed;

processed for limited purposes;

adequate, relevant and not excessive;

accurate and up to date;

not kept for longer than is necessary;

processed in line with your rights;

secure; and

not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.

  1. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications.

There are specific rules on:

marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;

cookies (and similar technologies);

keeping communications services secure; and

customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.

We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.

  1. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  1. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  1. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.