Skip to main content

Charities: Telephone Services

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will assess the merits of exempting charities from the requirements of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 in relation to telephone numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service. (257009)

[holding answer 23 February 2009]: The ability for consumers to register their wish not to be contacted by Direct Marketers, whether they be charities or commercial organisations, is a key benefit of the telephone preference system. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations lay down rules for organisations, including charities, sending unsolicited marketing by electronic means.

Direct marketing does not just refer to selling products or services to individuals, it includes the promotional activities of charities as well. This means that both the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 apply to charities.

The European directive from which these regulations are derived (the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications (2002/58/EC)) specifies that the “soft” opt-in rules on marketing by electronic means apply to all commercial relationships between organisations and consumers.

Charities may wish to improve the wording of their data protection and privacy statements so that a potential donor would actively “invite” promotional material through electronic mail.