UK charities face the unedifying prospect of being dragged through British courts if they do not stick to the new marketing rules, with plans to give the fundraising regulator statutory powers to prosecute miscreants.
NCVO chief Sir Stuart Etherington – whose controversial Regulating Fundraising for the Future report was published six weeks ago – told the Public Administration & Constitutional Affairs Committee this week that the Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson plans to add two new clauses to the Charities Bill.
The amendments would give the Government reserve powers to introduce statutory regulation for fundraising and force charities to join the new regulator if they did not follow Etherington’s recommendations.
The Minister is planning to add the clauses to the Charities (Protection & Social Investment) Bill, currently making its passage through Parliament.
The Government has already announced that large charities, likely to be defined as those which spend £100,000 or more a year on public fundraising, could be forced to sign up to a new fundraising watchdog.
It is estimated that the new regulatory system – which Etherington has called co-regulation – will cost between £2m and £2.5m to set up. However, a statutory system would cost much more and would be a huge drain on the public purse.
One crumb of comfort for charities is that the Fundraising Preference Service – which has already been branded “confusing” by the Information Commissioner’s Office – is likely be a service provided to the public and not a piece of statutory regulation.
However, all the other recommendations – including the controversial call for charities to move to an opt-in regime for marketing data – will be covered by the new clauses.
Etherington’s reasoning for the move to so-called explicit consent was prompted by the looming EU General Data Protection Regulation, which he claimed would make all companies adopt this anyway.
However, this is far from a done deal and one which the UK marketing and advertising industry – led by the DMA – is fiercely opposing in Brussels.
Charity agencies have already branded the opt-in move ludicrous and, if the clauses are passed, it could lead to a situation where charities are the only organisations to have to gain explicit consent for marketing data while other sectors just need to gain what is termed “unambiguous consent”.
Charity rules ludicrous, say agencies
Graham slams ‘confusing’ charity preference service
IoF data advice two years out of date
Charities face marketing activity ban
Charity rethink branded incompetent
Charity chiefs lay blame on agencies
FRSB axed in charity marketing purge
ICO warns of charity witch-hunt
Charities flayed in new data row
Charities rocked by ICO call demands
EU law ‘final nail in list broker coffin’
New EU chief slams data law critics
EU chiefs calm fears over opt-in
To leave a comment please register – it takes less than a minute and is free of charge. You will also get our weekly email update The DM Report (to opt out contact email@example.com). If you are an existing user, please log in. If you have forgotten your log-in details please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get them reset!