The Fundraising Regulator has referred 59 charities to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) because they have failed to comply with the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS).
Under the Code of Fundraising Practice and the Data Protection Act, charities must comply with requests from the public to end communication made via the FPS.
But the 59 charities named today have failed to log in to the FPS platform to find out who has asked to end communication. The Fundraising Regulator has issued them with regulatory notices and the ICO has written letters reminding them of their legal duties.
Around 8,300 people have submitted over 25,000 requests since the launch of the FPS in 2017.
When a suppression request is made through the service, the charity is automatically emailed and told to log in to the FPS system to “collect” the request.
Charities then have 28 days to act on the request and stop contacting the individual.
The Fundraising Regulator said it has made “repeated attempts” to contact each charity, with chief executives sent a final warning explaining that not acting may be a breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.
Ten of the charities named have annual incomes over £1m. The Lloyds Register Foundation is the largest, with an income of over £900m, though this is an unusual charity in that the charity owns a large trading group and most of its income is attributable to that group.
The Challenge Network is the second largest charity on the list, with an annual income of nearly £70m. This charity was set up in 2009 to pilot what became the National Citizen Service programme.
A spokeswoman for The Challenge Network said: “We first received a letter from the Fundraising Regulator on Thursday (February 28) and immediately logged onto the portal. We are taking the appropriate steps to make sure this one person is no longer contacted.”
The Fundraising Regulator's statement said that the FPS suppression relating to The Challenge Network was made in November 2017.
Ten of the charities are late filing their latest sets of accounts with the Charity Commission, including one that has not filed an update for at least five years.
Charities ‘risk damaging the sector’
Gerald Oppenheim, chief executive, Fundraising Regulator, said: “The FPS is an important tool in helping to rebuild trust between members of the public, particularly those who are vulnerable, and the charity sector. Charities that fail to respect requests made by the public to stop unwanted communication risk damaging the good work done by the rest of the sector.
“Some charities may think they have valid reasons for not accessing the suppression request. Despite this, they are still in breach of the code and possibly in breach of the Data Protection Act, because the request is an individual’s wish to stop receiving direct marketing.”
Stephen Eckersley, ICO’s director of investigations, said: “Charities that ignore the Fundraising Preference Service run the real risk of causing distress and offence to people who just don’t want to receive their marketing communications.
“The ICO has written to these charities to remind them they must act lawfully and responsibly in protecting people’s personal data, and in how they communicate with them. Our advice for charities is clear: they must not contact people registered on the FPS and, where we see this happening, we will investigate and take enforcement action where necessary.”
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “It’s important that charities respect the preferences of their supporters and the general public. Charities that receive notices from the Fundraising Preference Service should access this information in a timely manner and comply with the wishes set out in them.”
The full list of charities has been published by the Fundraising Regulator.
- Hulme Hall Educational Trust Limited - see update
- Incapacitated Regions Water Aid (IRWA)
- One World Wildlife
- Overseas Mission Christian Fellowship Limited
- St John Ambulance Association, Nelson Centre
- Truro British Legion Property Trust
- Human Hands
- Unite the Union Benevolent Fund
- WISPA Friends of Westfields Infant School
- SALICAF Foundation (Save the Life of Children in Africa Foundation)
- City University London
- Art for Their Sake
- Dovetales International Trust
- The Brentwood and District Age Concern
- International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
- The Chicken Soup Shelter
- FMP International
- Rajiv Gandhi (UK) Foundation
- Sir Alexander Lawrence Woodlands Trust
- The Edward and Diana Hornby Charitable Trust
- The Society of the Friends of the National Army Museum
- Diabetes Research Association
- The Carmelite Order General Fund
- Eastern European Outreach
- The Blue Coat School Birmingham
- Find a Future
- Stepping Stones of Sopley
- Darul Uloom Foundation
- Find It Live It Give It
- Kurdistan Children’s Hospital Foundation
- The Challenge Network
- Mrs Mary Olivia Saffery Turner for Ecclesiastical Purposes in Connection with the Church of England
- European Squirrel Initiative
- Temper! (Domestic Violence)
- Swan Advocacy Network
- Aid for Cancer Research
- The Tuk Tuk Educational Trust
- The Society of Parents of Children with Cancer
- Mercy Mission UK
- The Children’s Food Trust
- Sail Aid UK
- Lloyds Register Foundation
- The British Friends of the Bar-Ilan University
- Refugee Aid
- WAFA Relief
- Edhi International Foundation UK
- Kitetikka Rock Foundation
- Ummah Welfare Foundation
- Christians In Schools Trust
- Action for Integrated Development (AID)
- The Royal mint Museum
- Hope Africa
- Animal Aid 246
- Child Safe Foundation
- Salvation of the Living Rock Revealed
- Mustard Seed Relief Mission
- Crossroads Care West London
- Meningitis Help
- Centre for Animals and Social Justice
The Fundraising Regulator has confirmed that Hulme Hall Education Trust Ltd has collected its suppression request.
It said: “We can confirm that Hulme Hall Education Trust Ltd has now collected its Fundraising Preference Service suppression request. It is unfortunate that the charity did not respond to the various communications sent to them by the Fundraising Regulator since July 2017 about their outstanding request.
“All suppression requests are treated equally by the Fundraising Regulator and it is important that they are accessed and acted on in a timely fashion”.
The regulator will publish an updated list in April.