The Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed that it is investigating the practices of St Ives-owned business Response One as part of a wider probe into organisations which have supplied data to the charity sector.
The move, which is likely to send shudders down the spine of data firm bosses across the UK, comes as Response One has just revealed it pulled the plug on the Reciprocate donor sharing service in June last year, 18 months after it was relaunched.
Just last month, the ICO slapped nominal fines on the RSPCA (pictured) and the British Heart Foundation – of £25,000 and £18,000 respectively – after discovering both had shared hundreds of thousands of donor records through Reciprocate without gaining adequate permission.
An ICO spokesperson told Decision Marketing: “We are looking into all the organisations that have supplied data to the charities we have been investigating.”
It is not known how many data companies are currently under investigation by the ICO but given the charity sector’s widespread imcompetence when it comes to drawing up permission statements – as evidenced by the RSPCA and BHF rulings – scores of businesses could be caught up in the fall-out.
First launched nearly 30 years ago, at the last count Reciprocate boasted over 60 charity members and over 30 million records.
In November 2014, Response One launched an entry-level version, Reciprocate Lite, which gave access to benefits including lapsed donor reactivation, Gift Aid matching, unique donor identification and market trend reporting.
Response One marketing director Stuart Huke told Third Sector: “As Reciprocate is no longer in operation and hasn’t been for some time, there is nothing additional that we wish to add on this occasion. Response One continues to support the charity sector and the fantastic work it does for good causes.”
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