Protect your people by protecting their data, says new guide from Charity Finance Group

30th April 2013

Charity Finance Group today launched a good practice guide for charities on data protection.  'Protecting data, protecting people: A guide for charities' takes account of variations in the way the sector operates and explains what data protection means in the charity context.

The guide, available for charities to download from CFG’s website, was developed with support from a steering group of CFG members and the Information Commissioner’s Office.  It was produced in collaboration with Bates Wells Braithwaite, and has been sponsored by Kingston Smith.

Caron Bradshaw, CEO of CFG said:  “Ultimately, data protection is about protecting people, their privacy and their rights, so it’s not hard to see why charities have a strong sense of responsibility to get it right. Charities hold vast amounts of personal data on staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, suppliers, donors and trustees to name but a few areas. 

“We recognise that as the law evolves in this area, the landscape is becoming increasingly complex.  However, it’s crucial that charities get the basics right - for reputational, ethical and financial reasons. Recently we saw the first charity fined for breaching the Data Protection Act, and warnings to charities have been increasing in recent months. We know at CFG that compliance with the law is a concern for many.

"Data protection is sometimes seen as an issue just for big charities, but even the smallest are likely to hold personal data without necessarily fully understanding the legal framework. We hope that this practical guide will finally provide charities with a clear outlook on their responsibilities and on how to approach this complex issue.”

The guide pulls together existing pieces of guidance based around the legal principles, along with a series of demonstrative case studies, providing an accessible, easy-to-read guide for charities.

David Evans, Group Manager at the Information Commissioner’s Office, said:

“Looking after personal data is crucial for any organisation, but particularly those that handle sensitive information. Charities are often trusted with personal information relating to individuals’ health or wellbeing, and handling that information correctly is essential. Taking note of guidance like this can not only help charities avoid regulatory action, but also help them avoid mistakes that could be enormously damaging to their reputation.”

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Notes to Editors:

1. Charity Finance Group is the charity that champions best practice in finance management in the voluntary sector.  Our training and development programmes enable finance managers to give the essential leadership on finance strategy and management that their charities need.  With more than 2000 members, managing over £19bn, we are uniquely placed to challenge regulation which threatens the effective use of charity funds. For more information, please see

2. The guide, available for charities to download from CFGs website, was developed in collaboration with Bates Wells Braithwaite and a steering group of CFG members, with the support of the ICO.

3. For further information, please contact Jane Tully, head of policy and public affairs, CFG at or on 0207 250 8400.

4. 'Protecting data, protecting people: A guide for charities' has been kindly sponsored by Kingston Smith.

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