Fundraising Regulator signs information sharing agreement with ICO

The memorandum of understanding says the organisations will alert each other if they uncover any potential rule breaches

The Fundraising Regulator and the Information Commissioner’s Office have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to alert each other if they uncover any potential rule breaches among organisations they investigate.

The MoU, signed on 11 October by Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, and Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, states the bodies will communicate at least every six months to discuss matters of mutual interest and that they will consult one another on any issues which might have "significant implications" for the other organisation.

The bodies have also agreed to notify one another of the outcome of cases in which the other body has an interest before making this public and to share draft guidance relevant to both bodies.

The MoU also states that if either body receives a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act – something only the ICO is required to adhere to because the Fundraising Regulator is not a public authority – the recipient of the request will seek the views of the other party on making the disclosure if the information came from them.

The Fundraising Standards Board also signed a very similar MoU with the ICO in November 2015, although this agreement did not stipulate a frequency with which the bodies should communicate.

The ICO is currently carrying out at least two major investigations into charities’ use of data, involving charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, the NSPCC, Oxfam, the PDSA and the RSPCA

The investigations were launched in July and September last year and were expected to have completed by the end of September 2016 but an ICO spokeswoman said today that they were still ongoing.

"Our investigation into where charities may have broken the rules around handling personal data and making marketing calls is nearing completion," she said. "We expect to make decisions on the evidence we have obtained shortly. We’re clear that every sector has to follow the law, and if that law has been broken then we will take action."

The ICO’s main charities specialist, Richard Marbrow, a senior policy officer and who attended a number of charity sector conferences over the summer, changed roles at the regulator in September. He is now group manager for corporate governance.

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