Sir Stuart Etherington, the man behind the blueprint for charity marketing reform, has launched a scathing attack on the Information Commissioner’s Office, in which he claims the regulator singled out the sector after years of inaction and hinted at a major fall-out with Christopher Graham.
Speaking to Third Sector, Etherington said that before last summer’s media coverage – sparked by the suicide of Olive Cooke, the regulator had not been particularly interested in pursuing charities for breaching direct marketing rules.
He added: “I don’t know what changed between 2010, 2013 and 2015, but the ICO has certainly changed its approach.”
Etherington said that the ICO and charities had not been fully engaged in the past but – in a swipe at Graham – he said the regulator should start communicating more frequently with the sector once the Commissioner steps down in June.
Asked to comment on Etherington’s claim that the ICO had changed its approach, an ICO spokeswoman told the magazine: “We’re clear that every sector has to follow the law, and if that law has been broken then we will take action.”
Earlier this week, a Fundraising Standards Board investigation into the charity marketing furore revealed wide-scale breaches of data laws, with only 14 of the 99 charities which targeted Olive Cooke for donations consistently providing a tick-box to opt out of future mailings.
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