Fundraising Preference Service chief George Kidd has stunned the charity sector by admitting that the scheme – which has yet to launch – might be scrapped within two years.
Speaking at Third Sector’s Fundraising Week, Kidd admitted that there was a “fundamental issue” about using the opt-out model, alongside the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which – he claimed – will require all firms to show recipients of direct marketing have opted in.
His remarks follow Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson’s assertion that the FPS was a mere sideshow compared to the EU data reforms which – he also claimed – will require charities to use only opt-in data anyway.
However, while opt-in data is being seen as “best practice”, the European Commission – as well as many legal experts – have maintained that an opt-in regime will not be enforced, although there will stricter consent requirements.
According to the final GDPR text, the need for ‘explicit’ consent was changed to ‘unambiguous’ consent for marketing data. Under unambiguous consent, consent for postal and telephone marketing can still be given on an unsubscribe or opt-out basis.
Kidd conceded that it was unlikely the two regimes would “travel together for a long period of time”, adding: “In a sense, having a preference service is a transitional product of the world we’re in now, which is not opt-in. So we have to think about whether we use the FPS as a transitional vehicle for getting to the right place.”
Kidd said it was “possible, but not certain” that the FPS could be time-limited, or that registration for individuals could be limited to one or two years.
“I would not want the FPS to be brought forward as the one fix,” he said. “It’s something I think we should keep under active consideration because the world will change – but equally we can’t say how.”
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