A key proposal of Sir Stuart Etherington’s review of charity fundraising – the Fundraising Preference Service – has been slammed by Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, who reckons it will cause “greater confusion” rather than do any good.
Appearing before MPs on the Public Administration & Constitutional Affairs Committee, Graham said the service – which already has government backing – would be virtually impossible to enforce because it is not currently enshrined in UK or European Union law.
Graham told MPs: “I’m not in favour of the idea, which I think is simply a confusion. The Telephone Preference Service is something I can enforce under the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations, but I’m worried that the FPS is something I wouldn’t have any status to enforce, and it I think it might lead to greater confusion when we actually need clarity.”
Both Graham and ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley told MPs that the regulator had contacted eight charities last year with concerns about their activities, although was only willing to confirm them in writing at a later date.
He said the ICO’s investigation into the charity sector was ongoing although he did believe they had a case to answer.
“I do think that there is a prima facie case, and the investigation is to see whether the breaches are of a civil or a criminal nature and then to decide what to do about it,” he said.
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