The Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed that four charities being monitored over compliance issues earlier in the year are all due to be cleared of any wrong doing.
During a webinar on its updated direct marketing guidance held yesterday, Andy Curry, enforcement group manager at the ICO, said that the RNIB, Greenpeace and Christian Aid had all been cleared of any compliance issues after being monitored for three months.
While Curry said that the three charities had been cleared, the ICO’s investigation into the wider charity sector is ongoing and the regulator “has not ruled out further action” should the need arise.
RNIB, Christian Aid and Greenpeace were all being monitored by the ICO from December 2015 over small numbers of complaints made about the organisations' marketing calls.
A fourth, smaller charity, the Trewan Sands Children’s Trust was also named by the ICO. Curry did not mention the trust during the webinar but the ICO has since confirmed the charity has also been cleared.
While the three charities and the Trewan Sands Children's Trust are still currently listed as ‘amber’ in the ICO’s monitoring section on its website, an ICO spokeswoman said that they would soon all be moved to the 'green' section.
At the time, the ICO said that each of the charities “had a low number of complaints” and it did not “expect any enforcement action” would be required.
Ian Inman, senior policy officer at the ICO, also said during the webinar that a lot of the issues that have plagued fundraising charities over the last 12 months, likely stemmed from the voluntary sector not understanding the definition of ‘consent’.
“If you’ve got the prior consent from your donor you can [contact them] even if they’re registered to the TPS. The issue comes from what actually constitutes ‘consent’. Of some charities thinking they had consent when, in fact, they didn’t. They [donors] have to give their consent to you.
“The fact that someone hasn’t objected to receiving your marketing material does not mean automatically they have consented to be marketed to by your organisation,” he said.
Inman also clarified that “calls made to people seeking consent to make marketing calls are marketing calls and will be covered by the regulations”.