Top charity groups wade into preference service row

telemarketing 2Fundraising Preference Service chief George Kidd may just rue the day he ever accepted the job of launching the controversial scheme, after two leading charity groups added their weight to mounting criticism of the proposals by questioning whether the service is actually needed.
Despite recent research which shows consumers back the FPS, the Institute of Fundraising has warned that the service could end up being a “blunt tool that will fail to provide genuine choice to people” unless it allows people to opt out of particular channels.
In its submission to a consultation on the scheme, the IoF maintains that individuals should be able to remain opted in to charities that they currently support without needing to name those charities.
“Many donors will want to continue hearing from, and donating to, charities that they support but may be unable to recall the names of those charities at the time of registration on an FPS,” says the submission.
The IoF also calls for a full consultation and assessment to be carried out on the potential impact of introducing the FPS and questions whether the service is necessary given the recent changes to the code of practice and future legislation.
Meanwhile, in its submission, the Small Charities Coalition (SCC) says that instead of setting up an FPS, the regulator should overhaul the Mailing Preference Service and the Telephone Preference Service and ensure charities make it easier for people to unsubscribe from email mailing lists.
It states: “The standalone FPS model is too complex. This could exacerbate public frustrations, due to requiring an individual to complete three registration forms across three preference service (FPS, MPS and TPS), as well as contacting individual charities regarding other communication preferences – and accepting the individual may still receive unregulated or indirect charity communications.”
The criticism follows Information Commissioner Christopher Graham’s dismissal of the plans.
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 TPS 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.”

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