Which charities could be facing ICO fines?

Third Sector asked charities that have been implicated in ICO investigations plus some of the largest fundraising organisations if they had been notified of possible fines

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Three major fundraising charities have declined to confirm whether they are among those the Information Commissioner’s Office has said it plans to fine for breaking data-protection rules.

The NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer Support and Oxfam all declined to comment when asked by Third Sector if the ICO had told any of them that they were likely to receive fines.

The ICO announced yesterday that it had informed 11 charities of its intention to issue penalties against them over data law breaches.

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 Daily Mail claims 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, as did the RSPCA, which has already paid a £20,000 fine levied by the ICO last year for breaching data-protection rules. 

The ICO launched Operation Linden in September 2015 after the Daily Mail claimed that data-sharing among charities led to a man with dementia being tricked out of £35,000 by unscrupulous companies.

The charities involved in Operation Linden were the PDSA, the RSPCA, the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation and the Cancer Recovery Foundation.

No one from the PDSA or the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation responded in time for Third Sector’s deadline. No one from the Cancer Recovery Foundation was available to respond.

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. 

No one from CRUK was available to comment. A spokesman for Save the Children said it had not been notified by the ICO of a possible fine. 

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