Policy round-up: February 2017

Despite February being a short month, there has been no shortage of things happening in policy and regulation affecting charities and voluntary organisations. Here is a round-up of the highlights.

Fundraising and Regulatory Compliance Conference

Earlier this week much of the sector’s attention was focused on the conference jointly held by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator.

Ahead of the conference the ICO released a paper on fundraising and regulatory compliance (PDF, 162KB).

The paper provides the ICO’s view on a number of key issues, such as:

  • wealth screening
  • data matching and teleappending.

Key messages from the paper and the conference

  1. The Data Protection Act (DPA) doesn’t stop you getting and using information from publicly available sources. But you must provide a privacy notice to individuals explaining who you are and what you are doing with their data. The reason being that you can’t assume that simply because an individual has put personal information in the public domain, they are agreeing to it being used for any purpose.
  2. When obtaining and using publicly available personal information, you must ensure you’re getting and using it for specified and lawful purposes. The purposes for which you intend to process the personal information must be compatible with the purposes for which its processing was originally intended. This is relevant because simply referring to ‘fundraising’ is not sufficient if you are going to use the information for ‘wealth screening’. Wealth screening is a separate and distinct activity that requires its own basis for processing from within the DPA. In particular, wealth screening is incompatible with the purpose of administering donations. If individuals have not been told that their personal information will be used for wealth screening and data cleansing and by whom, the whole operation will contravene the principles of the DPA.
  3. Wealth screening is the kind of processing that individuals are highly unlikely to expect as a result of their charitable giving. So you’ll need to inform individuals that you’re doing this processing and using their personal information for it. Your privacy notice must be detailed enough to ensure they have a reasonable understanding of what wealth screening is and how you’ll use their personal information to do it.
  4. Data matching and teleappending will be unfair processing in most cases, because they remove the data subject’s choice about what information you hold about them.

The ICO also announced that within the next two to three weeks it will be publishing its guidance on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is likely to be a real game changer for everyone who deals with data.

Catch-up on the event


Fundraising Regulator consent and data guidance

The Fundraising Regulator has released guidance on ‘Personal Information and Fundraising: Consent, Purpose and Transparency’. The guidance is aimed at helping charities better understand their responsibilities in relation to data protection and fundraising. In particular it sets out guidelines on how to ensure donor consent, and when legitimate interests can be used.

The guidance is part of a practical toolkit that also includes:

  • six case studies on charities that have changed their approach to donor consent over the past 12 months
  • an actions checklist
  • a self-assessment tool.

All the documents can be accessed on the Fundraising Regulator’s website.

Fundraising Regulator consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice

The Fundraising Regulator has also opened a consultation on some proposed changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice.

The changes are intended to address some of the outstanding issues and immediate concerns such as people in vulnerable circumstances, fundraising communications, the delivery of charity collection bags and how charities oversee their third-party contracts.

Data and consent are not covered and will be the subject of a separate consultation in the summer.

Online event: Proposed changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice

1 March, 15.00-16.00

This free online event will look at the changes that the Fundraising Regulator is proposing to make to the Code of Fundraising Practice. The event will be presented by Gerald Oppenheim, head of policy and communication and Stephen Service, policy manager – both from the Fundraising Regulator.



New gender pay reporting regulations

A new regime commencing in April 2017 will require employers with 250 or more employees to comply with new reporting obligations about gender pay gaps.

Charities are subject to the regime, which also applies to commercial organisations and specified public bodies, including NHS trusts, universities, further education colleges, local authorities and a wide range of other public sector and quasi-public sector organisations. Substantially the same requirements will be imposed on the public sector.

Acas, jointly with the Government Equalities Office, has published official guidance and templates to help meet the gender pay reporting requirements.

Review of the Social Value Act

The Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, has announced there is to be another review of the Social Value Act.

NCVO has welcomed the announcement, which takes forward Lord Young’s recommendation that government conduct a follow up evaluation of the Act two years after his initial report.

Read Paul’s blog post to find out more about what changes to the Act NCVO wants to see.

Brexit and the voluntary sector

We are holding an event called ‘Brexit: How should the voluntary sector respond?’ on 13 March here at NCVO.

The event will be an opportunity for participants to share their views about Brexit and its challenges and opportunities, and discuss how voluntary organisations can collaborate further to best influence the outcome of negotiations in the interests of the whole sector.

See details and register

Spring Budget

The Chancellor will be delivering the last Spring Budget on 8 March, and his decisions around health and social care funding, and the controversial business rates revaluation will be closely watched by the sector. Keep an eye out for Michael’s blog posts for our analysis.

The Road Ahead 2017

Earlier this week we published The Road Ahead 2017 report, looking at the trends affecting charities and what they will mean over the coming year.

Read my Road Ahead taster blog post to find out about some of the key drivers affecting change for charities in 2017.

Work in our team!

An exciting opportunity has come up in our policy and public services team to lead our policy work on the delivery of public services as public services manager.

See details on the role and how to apply.


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Elizabeth was head of policy and public services at NCVO until 2020.

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