The three regulators responsible for making sure organisations understand and obey the rules around fundraising are holding a joint conference aimed to inform, educate and provide clarity to the sector.

Around 300 trustees, decision-makers and fundraisers will hear from UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission and Gerald Oppenheim, Head of Policy at the Fundraising Regulator during a conference at Manchester Town Hall on Tuesday 21 February.

The Fundraising and Regulatory Compliance Conference has been jointly organised by the three regulators to set out the regulatory requirements and expectations for fundraising bodies and their boards under current and forthcoming data protection legislation.

In a speech to the conference, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will say:

“The most successful organisations think of data protection as something more than mere compliance.

“Everyone must stop focusing on the paperwork of privacy and move towards commitment to the people whose data they have – commitment to managing personal data legally, sensitively and ethically.”

The Fundraising Regulator will also be launching its guidance on consent at the conference. Head of Policy Gerald Oppenheim said:

“It is important that charities and fundraisers understand their responsibilities in relation to data protection and data consent, which should be based on consideration of the rights and the wishes of the individual.

“This is why we are pleased to announce the publication of new guidance for charities and fundraisers on the importance of proper consent.”

Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said:

“Charities are subject to the same legal requirements as all other organisations and we expect them to properly safeguard personal information according to the law.

“Trustees should have systems in place so that there is the right level of knowledge and awareness about the rules and expectations, and that they are adhered to. This conference is designed to help charities understand and meet these obligations.”

The main presentations will be chaired by former BBC news presenter Sir Martyn Lewis and will be live streamed from the ICO website.

The conference will help move forward from a series of ICO investigations into the fundraising practices of some charities. The investigations were 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. It has informed another 11 charities of its intent to fine them for breaching the Data Protection Act.

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

 

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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

8. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns