Relief for charities as FPS rules out data screening

charity againCharities and their agencies will not be forced to screen their databases against the Fundraising Preference Service before they embark on marketing campaigns, instead they will be informed at regular intervals if their supporters have signed up.
That is according to an email obtained under a Freedom of Information request by Third Sector magazine. The correspondance was sent by Information Commissioner’s Office senior policy officer Richard Marbrow to Fundraising Regulator chief executive Stephen Dunmore and head of policy Gerald Oppenheim.
In the email dated May 20, which followed a meeting between the two parties, Marbrow states: “The FPS is designed to act as a reset button and we discussed that you would be informing charities on a regular basis of the people who had decided to use this reset and thereby wished to invalidate previous consents rather than requiring charities to screen their lists against the FPS.”
The move is likely to be a huge relief for the sector, which had feared fundraisers would have to check the FPS themselves before embarking on their campaigns, which would have placed huge cost and time constraints on their activities.
However, it is not all good news. In the email, Marbrow confirmed that subscribing to the FPS will override any previous permissions. He said: “We take the view that the FPS would be acting as an agent for the subscriber in withdrawing (resetting) any previous consents.”
He added: “The ICO would feel able to enforce against a charity in the presence of both a TPS and FPS registration, even if the charity would previously have believed that they retained consent.”
The Fundraising Regulator refused to comment on the email, simply pointing out that “proposals outlining how the FPS will operate in practice will be published later this month, alongside the final levy and registration model”.
Last month it emerged that only the largest charities – those which spend more than £100,000 a year on direct marketing – are likely to have to sign up to the scheme.

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