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Three regulators to hold conference on rules affecting fundraisers

The Information Commissioner’s Office, the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator are hosting a conference next week designed to “inform, educate and provide clarity to the sector”.
The Fundraising and Regulatory Compliance Conference will take place on 21 February at Manchester Town Hall. Around 300 trustees, fundraisers and decision-makers will hear the three regulators set out the regulatory requirements and expectations for fundraising bodies and their boards under current and forthcoming data protection legislation.
The speakers will include:

The conference follows the issuing of fines against some charities for breaching data protection legislation, debate in the sector about whether opt-in was the right way forward, and confusion over various implications of existing and forthcoming legislation for activities such as prospect research using public information.
These follow nearly two years of increased attention and criticism of some fundraising practices by some charities by some media organisations and politicians.
The main presentations will be chaired by former BBC news presenter Sir Martyn Lewis, founder of Youthnet and former chair of NCVO.

Guidance on consent

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


An introduction to AI for charity professionals by Ross Angus

“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.”

The ICO reports that Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will tell the conference delegates:

“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 ICO has recently 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.
Ahead of the conference, 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.”

Video place holder

The Fundraising and Regulatory Compliance Conference will be live streamed and recorded.

If you are unable to attend the event, you can watch it livestreamed on the ICO‘s website. A recording of the event will also be available afterwards.

Conference paper

Meanwhile you can read the 12-page conference paper (PDF), available via ICO whether or not you are a delegate.

Questions to ask

Adrian Beney at More Partnerships has highlighted some of the more challenging comments within the paper and their implications for a range of fundraising practices in What the Information Commissioner is saying this week – the data is mine, all mine.
He comments:

“It clarifies ICO’s draconian views of some activities which most in the fundraising sector regard as normal, and it reveals further detail of what ICO thinks people expect charities to do with their data.”

For example, he quotes one statement that seems to challenge fundamental elements of prospect research and donor communications:

“The fact that personal information is publicly available doesn’t make it ‘fair game’. And it doesn’t make further use of that personal information for any purpose fair.” 

Beney and colleagues will be at the Manchester event.
Nicola Williams, Research Director at the Factary, has also highlighted five questions that fundraisers should ask of the ICO at the conference:

5 Questions to Ask the ICO

The Factary plans to tweet key issues arising throughout the conference.