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Response to ICO announcement

A message to supporters from Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive

Today the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has announced that it will fine Oxfam £6,000 for historical breaches of the Data Protection Act relating to our use of addresses or other information given to us by supporters to find their phone numbers. We ended this practice, known as tele-matching, in 2015.

While tele-matching was, at the time, recognised as a legitimate activity by the ICO, we accept that our privacy notice did not adequately explain this activity and I apologise for this oversight.

Oxfam is one of 11 charities fined by the ICO today. Other charities have been found to have breached rules on wealth screening and sharing supporters' data. Oxfam does not engage in either practice. 

The ICO also raised concerns about 'thank you' texts that we sent some supporters who donated by text. We believe that these texts - which were necessary to collect donations and reminded supporters what they had signed up to and how their donation could be used - were a courtesy that supporters would expect. Nevertheless we have taken action to address the ICO's concerns. 

I would like to reassure you that Oxfam places the highest importance on our relationship with our supporters and has always acted in good faith in attempting to follow both the law and good practice in our fundraising. All those contacted were given the chance to terminate calls immediately and we did not call people who had registered on the Telephone Preference Service using tele-matched data. The ICO acknowledges that we have been quick to address concerns that they have raised. 

We are continually working to ensure our fundraising is done in the way, you our supporters expect. In January, for example, we launched a mobile app which gives people the chance to more easily control how they would like to be contacted by us. 

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support in fighting poverty and tackling humanitarian crises around the world - in a world where four countries face famine, your help is needed more than ever.

Mark Goldring

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive