The ICO has informed 11 charities that it “intends to fine them for breaching the Data Protection Act”, according to a statement released this afternoon.
The ICO confirmed that it intends to fine the 11 charities for breaches to the Data Protection Act, and said that the charities were investigated “as part of a wider operation sparked by reports in the media about repeated and significant pressure on supporters to contribute”.
It said it will not be naming any of the 11 organisation which have been issued with notices. It will only do so “at the end of the investigation process if enforcement action is taken”.
The ICO said that this spate of new notices had no connection to its recent investigation into the RSPCA and British Heart Foundation.
Instead, the ICO said it’s now “focusing its attention on ensuring compliance within the charity and fundraising sector”.
A spokeswoman from the ICO said it had nothing further to add, beyond the statement.
The data protection watchdog also said that it will be holding a conference in conjunction with both the Fundraising Regulator and the Charity Commission on 21 February at the Manchester Town Hall.
It said the conference will “set out the regulatory requirements and expectations for fundraising bodies and their boards under current and forthcoming data protection legislation”.
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “A cloud has been hanging over the sector for too long about these investigations and so it is welcome the ICO has today drawn a line under the speculation about the number of charities affected.
“No charity knowingly wants to breach the rules and charities are working hard to reach the highest standards. Greater clarity for the sector around the legal duties in this area is important, and we welcome the joint event between the ICO, the Fundraising Regulator, and the Charity Commission next month as part of this.
“It is an important part of excellent fundraising and improving donors’ experience for charities to understand their supporters and engage them in the causes they care about in the most appropriate ways, so clarity around these rules is essential.”