Who: The Fundraising Preference Service (FPS)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 6 July 2017
Law stated as at: 31 August 2017
On 6 July 2017, the FPS, administered by the Fundraising Regulator (FR), was launched. The FPS allows individuals to stop receiving personally addressed emails, telephone calls, post or text messages from selected charities. The FPS cannot be used to stop communications that do not target a specific individual, for example, public fundraising, door-to-door fundraising or unsolicited post that is not addressed to an individual (for example, to the “homeowner”).
The Code of Fundraising Practice (the Code) provides that charities must not send direct marketing communications to individuals where a request is made through FPS. The FR can take action if a charity breaches the Code, which includes sending a notice to the charity to stop processing data for direct marketing purposes. This in turn could lead to action by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The FPS currently applies to charities based in England and Wales and charities based in Northern Ireland will be added in due course. Scotland has a separate service that falls under the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel. The FR has asked charities that have a public fundraising spend of over £100,000 to set up on the FPS portal. This involves providing contact details and the option to upload a logo and a purpose statement. A charity with a public fundraising spend of less than £100,000 will be contacted by the FR when the FPS receives its first request in relation to such charity.
Individuals can submit requests for themselves or on behalf of a relative or somebody that they care for. In order to make a request, the individual must provide personal information, which is then matched against a charity’s database. Individuals can name up to three charities in each request and an unlimited number of additional requests can be submitted if an individual would like to name more charities. Requests to the FPS can be made through an online form on the website of the FPS or by calling the FPS. Members of the public can also call the FPS for help with identifying a charity.
If an individual continues to receive direct marketing from a charity more than 28 days after a request has been submitted, the individual must notify the FR, which will contact the charity. Individuals that continue to receive direct marketing after this can complain using the FR’s online complaints form.
Why this matters:
Charities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be aware of the FPS service and the role of the FR. In particular, if a request is made against a charity, the charity must ensure that such requests are dealt with to avoid action by the FR and potentially the ICO. Charities should also be aware that the Telephone Preference Service and Mail Preference Service still apply to charities (in addition to the FPS) and charities should still check these lists.