GoGen, the telephone fundraising agency that was the subject of a national newspaper investigation, has ceased trading with the loss of 485 jobs.
Giuseppe Iantosca, director of the company, said in a statement that it had decided to close after a "reduction in business resulting from misleading media coverage" and it was likely that GoGen would enter a formal insolvency process early next week.
The company has offices in London, Nottingham, Bedford and Bristol.
Earlier this month, an undercover investigation by the Daily Mail alleged that the agency had been exploiting loopholes in the Telephone Preference Service rules, which prompted the Information Commissioner’s Office to launch an investigation.
Oxfam, the British Red Cross, Cancer Research UK and the NSPCC were among the charities to confirm that they suspended work with GoGen since the allegations against the company surfaced.
Iantosca said in the statement that the investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office had been dropped yesterday "as it was satisfied that, as a data processor, we were compliant – which we have always said was the case".
The Information Commissioner’s Office said in a statement that it could not comment on an ongoing investigation, it was aware of allegations raised against several charities and it would be investigating whether there had been any breaches of the Data Protection Act or privacy and electronic communication regulations.
Iantosca said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that I can confirm that GoGen has ceased to trade. In the past 24 hours, we have had no choice but to make 485 employees redundant across our offices in London, Nottingham, Bedford and Bristol. We are urgently reviewing the options for the future of our business with financial advisers, but it is likely that GoGen will enter a formal insolvency process early next week.
"It is a tragedy that so many people have lost their jobs, and the directors would like to thank our fundraisers for their talent and commitment. They have helped to raise more than £80m for our charity clients in the past five years alone."
Iantosca said that "now is the time for considered and measured change and a united front" within the charity sector. He said it would require input not only from charities and industry bodies and regulators, but also from the agencies that interact directly with the public.
He said: "Whether we knock on doors, stop people in the street, telephone or mail them, it needs to be done in a more responsible way, with clearer guidance, more support and less pressure. It is vitally important that charities and industry bodies take more responsibility for the fundraising that happens under their watch, including that by the agencies they instruct to carry out their work."