Fundraising Regulator removes TPS certification requirement from code

20 Jun 2018 News

The Fundraising Regulator has removed the previous requirement in the Code of Fundraising Practice which said that all charities engaged in telephone fundraising needed to be TPS Assured.

The regulator announced this morning that it had made its latest set of amendments to the Code of Fundraising Practice regarding the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The latest code amendments deal with two sub-classes of rule 8.2.3, which deals with telephone fundraising.  

Previously, the Code of Fundraising Practice stressed that all charities undertaking telephone fundraising “must have up to date TPS Assured certification”. This requirement has now been removed by the regulator, in favour of what it called “more general terms” of evidencing compliance.

TPS Assured mandatory since 2015

The rule making it mandatory for charities and telephone agencies to be TPS Assured was brought in to being in late 2015, following a string of negative media stories regarding the use of telephone as a fundraising channel by charities and agencies following the death of Olive Cooke. 

Under the new amended rule, charities engaged in telephone fundraising will need to “evidence compliance with TPS legal requirements” in the event of a complaint, but will no longer be required to hold mandatory TPS Assured certification. 

Alongside the amended code, The Fundraising Regulator also published a four-step checklist for telephone fundraisers to check against before calling a number. It also set out some “basic TPS compliance record keeping” steps in the same document. 

Regulator: ‘We have listened carefully to feedback’

Stephen Service, policy manager at the Fundraising Regulator, said the amendments to the code announced today stemmed from feedback from telephone agencies and charities alike. 

“We have listened carefully to feedback from telephone agencies and charities on this rule following its introduction in 2015. It’s clear that obtaining TPS assured certification has been a useful and appropriate step for some organisations, but has proven disproportionately burdensome for others.

“The key point is that there is no ’one-size-fits-all’ where monitoring is concerned. Charities and agencies need to be able to evidence their compliance with TPS and take a risk-based approach to how they audit their practices, based on the scale of their fundraising campaigns and the methods used.”

Tamsin Mitchell, compliance manager for telephone fundraising at the Institute of Fundraising, said: “This is a very welcome change to the code and makes it clear that all organisations carrying out telephone fundraising must ensure and evidence their compliance with the legal obligations regarding the TPS. The quick guide provides a very clear reference point making it easy to follow the TPS requirements.

“The change also gives organisations the flexibility to decide how they will record and demonstrate their compliance. This sensible and practical approach by the Fundraising Regulator should remove any previously held concerns or difficulties in complying with both the Code and GDPR.”

The TPS is a free central register of individuals who have opted out of receiving live marketing calls. Currently if charities or other organisations call a person registered to the TPS without their consent, they are liable to be in contravention of regulations 21 and 24 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation 2003. 

TPS Assured is an annual audit and certification service operated by the TPS which assesses an organisation's ability to comply with PECR, Ofcom guidance and the TPS Assured’s own guidance. 

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