On 4 March 2019, the Fundraising Regulator issued 59 charities in the UK with regulatory notices and referred the matters to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and Charity Commission. The Fundraising Regulator commenced an investigation after it received complaints that these charities failed to comply with requests to stop contacting individuals with marketing materials and fundraising appeals, either by phone, email, text message and/or addressed post.
Under the GDPR / Data Protection Act 2018 individuals have the right to object at any time to use of their personal data for marketing purposes. This is also reflected in section 5.7 of the Code of Fundraising Practice, which specifies that charities must stop sending direct marketing communications to individuals within 28 days after a request has been received via the Fundraising Preference Services (FPS). In cases where a charity continues to contact someone, this would constitute a breach of the Code. In such cases, the Fundraising Regulator may decide to inform the relevant charity regulator and the ICO. This is a reminder to charities of the obligation to actively review the FPS and update their direct marketing communications accordingly.
According to chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, Gerald Oppenheim, "some charities may think they have valid reasons for not accessing the suppression requests. Despite this, they are still in breach of the code and possibly in breach of the Data Protection Act, because each request is an individual's wish to stop receiving direct marketing".