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Christian Aid: response to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) review

14 January 2016 - The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), in carrying out a review of the charity sector’s data protection compliance in telephone fundraising, contacted Christian Aid in May 2015 about 22 complaints raised by some of those we had called over a ten month period between 3/5/14 to 10/3/15.

As we explained to the ICO, we do not make cold calls, but have only sought to contact by telephone people who have already supported our work.

A misunderstanding had arisen, however, about whether we could call by telephone supporters who had previously indicated that they were happy to be contacted by Christian Aid, but who had separately registered with the Telephone Preference Service. In a few instances too, we found that information had been incorrectly entered into our supporter records.

After learning of the concerns raised, we carried out an immediate reappraisal of our approach and identified changes needed to avoid these issues arising in the future. Relevant supporter records were also immediately corrected.

We have been informed by the ICO that while they deem our policies and procedures to be broadly compliant, and deserving of a “green” rating, they have listed us in the “amber” category on their website for the time being because of the complaints that were made.

We are confident that in the coming weeks ICO will move us from “amber” to “green”, satisfied with the seriousness with which we take data protection, and our desire to act fully within the law at all times.

We are passionate about nurturing the very special relationship we have with the many thousands of people who support our work each year – a relationship that, as stated in our latest annual report, in 2014 enabled us to deliver 49 emergency responses in 21 countries, reaching an estimated 1.77 million people affected by disasters.

Christian Aid recognises that fundraising practice, fundraising regulation and data protection requirements are under review and will be changing.  We will continue to update our fundraising procedures and data protection management in the light of these changes as they develop, to ensure that our processes are fully legally compliant at all times.

Just as importantly, we will continue to make every effort to treat our supporters as they would wish, consistent with our commitment to all those who have such faith in our mission and who want to continue to be part of the battle against poverty worldwide.

If you would like further information, please contact Andrew Hogg on
+44 (0)207 523 2058 or +44 (0)7872 350 534, or out of hours, the 24 hour press duty phone – +44 (0)7850 242 950.

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