Cancer Recovery Foundation says it has been contacted by ICO over possible fine

But the charity says it has made representations to the regulator that it should not be penalised

Telephone fundraising
Telephone fundraising

The Cancer Recovery Foundation has confirmed that it is one of the 11 charities the Information Commissioner’s Office has said it intends to fine for breaking data-protection rules.

But the London-based charity told Third Sector it had made representations to the ICO that it should not be penalised.

The ICO announced on Monday that it had notified 11 charities that it planned to issue fines against them because of data-protection law breaches after investigating them as part of a wider operation sparked by reports in the media about repeated and significant pressure on supporters to contribute.

The ICO’s statement said the charities would be given 28 days to respond to its findings and the ICO would consider representations made by each charity before making a final decision about enforcement action.

Gemma Holding, the chief executive of the CRF, which had an income of £3.3m and spending of £3.4m in the year to 31 December 2015, told Third Sector the charity had written to the ICO requesting the fines be dropped. She declined to comment further.

Three other major fundraising charities, the NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer Support and Oxfam, which are also known to be under investigation by the ICO, all declined to comment when asked by Third Sector earlier this week if any of them had been told they were likely to receive fines.

The CRF, alongside the PDSA, the RSPCA and the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, was among the charities being looked into as part of the ICO's Operation Linden, which was examining data sharing between charities.

No one from the PDSA or the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation have responded to Third Sector's inquiry about whether they have been notified by the ICO of a possible fine.

The RSPCA, which has already paid a £20,000 fine levied by the ICO last year for breaching data-protection rules, said it was not one of the charities notified about the latest round of fines.

The NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer Support and Oxfam were among the charities implicated in the ICO’s Operation Cinnabar, which was set up in July 2015 in response to claims in the Daily Mail that charities were involved in the exploitation of loopholes in the Telephone Preference Service.

The other charities investigated under Operation Cinnabar included the British Red Cross and Age International, but the inquiries into these two concluded last year after the charities signed agreements that committed them to renewing their telephone fundraising consents every two years.

They told Third Sector they were not among the charities the ICO contacted about the fines.

Third Sector also asked two other major fundraising charities, Save the Children and Cancer Research UK, if they were among the charities notified of a possible fine this week: Save the Children said it was not, and no one at CRUK was available to respond. 

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