ICO launches dedicated GDPR helpline

The service opened on 1 November and, as well as advice on preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation, gives information on existing rules

The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a telephone advice line to help charities and small organisations prepare for the new data-protection law the General Data Protection Regulation.

The service, which was officially opened on 1 November, complements the resources on the ICO website designed to help organisations that employ fewer than 250 people, and offers additional, personal advice.

Callers dial the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 and select option 4 to be diverted to staff who can offer support. As well as advice on preparing for the GDPR, callers can ask questions about existing data-protection rules and other legislation regulated by the ICO, including that concerning electronic marketing and the Freedom of Information Act.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “Small organisations want to be ready when the new law comes into force in May 2018, but they often struggle to know where to start. They might have less time and money to invest in getting it right and are less likely to have compliance teams, data-protection officers or legal experts to advise them what to do.

“Our new phone service and all the other resources already on our website, plus even more advice and guidance yet to come, will help to steer small businesses through the new law.”

The ICO is expected to publish a guide to the GDPR by the end of the year, which will expand the content of the existing overview to make it a comprehensive guide along the same lines as the current Guide to Data Protection.

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Regulator launches consultation on GDPR changes to fundraising code

The Fundraising Regulator has launched a consultation on the changes it plans to make to the Code of Fundraising Practice to include the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation.

The regulator is asking for views from charities, fundraisers and members of the public on an updated version of the code covering GDPR, stringent data protection laws due to come into force from March.

The consultation will run until 8 December and the new version of the code will be released in the spring, the regulator said in a statement today.

The regulator said the updated code would also address the issues raised by the fines levied by the Information Commissioner’s Office against 13 charities over data protection breaches in the past two years.

The new version of the code will ensure the regulator’s guidance and terminology is consistent with that used in the GDPR legislation and will signpost users to other guidance from the regulator and the ICO, the statement said.

The updated version of the code includes three new sections to explain areas where there have been calls for greater clarity and guidance on what the new rules mean.

One of the new sections explains what counts as processing someone’s personal data and when data protection rules apply. This section says data matching and wealth screening, two of the activities that led the ICO to issue fines to charities that had carried them out without donors’ knowledge, count as processing someone’s data. 

Another section focuses on consent, which will use the ICO’s draft GDPR guidance to explain how charities can obtain consent to process people’s data.

The final new section offers advice on legitimate interest, which allows organisations to process people’s data without obtaining consent.

The ICO has not yet published guidance on legitimate interest, so the information in the code will be drawn from the GDPR legislation itself and the recommendations of a working group on donor communications set up by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The new code also warns charities must keep up to date with the latest guidance from the ICO.  

Suzanne McCarthy, chair of the Fundraising Regulator’s standards committee, said: “Protecting personal data is a fundamental part of meeting the key principles of legal, open, honest and respectful fundraising within the code.

“We welcome views on whether the changes proposed are clear in communicating fundraisers’ legal and ethical responsibilities on data.”

The consultation document is available here. 

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Disasters Emergency Committee launches Myanmar appeal

More than 500,000 Rohingya, consisting mostly of women and children, have fled the country to neighbouring Bangladesh

The Disasters Emergency Committee has launched a new emergency appeal to help thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar.

More than 500,000 Rohingya, the majority of which are women and children, have left Rakhine state in Myanmar following alleged state persecution to seek sanctuary in neighbouring Bangladesh.

The DEC campaign is raising money to provide shelter, medical care, water and food for those leaving Myanmar, and for the Rohingya already living in makeshift shelters in Bangladesh.

The DEC, which is a collaboration of 13 major humanitarian aid charities including ActionAid, the British Red Cross, Oxfam and Tearfund, is launching the appeal today and will broadcast television advertisements on all of the UK’s major broadcasters.

The UK government will match the first £3m donated to the DEC appeal by the public, and a dedicated phone line has been set up.

Saleh Saeed, chief executive of the DEC, said: “People are arriving exhausted and traumatised into already overcrowded camps in Bangladesh. This is one of the fastest movements of people we have seen in recent decades. 

“Families are living in makeshift shelters or by the side of the road with no clean drinking water, toilets or washing facilities. This humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in a country that is already reeling from the worst floods in decades.

“Without urgent support, the risk of disease and further misery is alarmingly high.”

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Watch: Resuscitation Council launches practical Lifesaver VR app

The Resuscitation Council has turned to virtual reality to produce a “unique” practical video that teaches people what to do when someone has a cardiac arrest.

Lifesaver VR is a free app designed to teach effective CPR skills and provide people with the confidence to use them in an emergency situation. The charity said the film-in-a-game app is suitable for everyone to use but it has targeted younger people by creating a teen-based scenario in the video.

The viewer is placed in a life-or-death situation through the eyes of Chloe, whose friend Harry has collapsed. To play the game, users interactively control her reactions through the VR headset. The game begins in VR cinema format and then enters full 360-degree video as the user performs CPR by pushing down on a firm cushion. The VR headset senses the user’s movements and gives feedback on performance. It’s up to the user to make sure Harry survives his cardiac arrest.

This new scenario has also been added to the original Lifesaver app, which now has four different linear scenarios. The original Lifesaver has seen more than 700,000 people trained in CPR since its launch in 2013.

Dr Andy Lockey, honorary secretary of the Resuscitation Council (UK), said: “Lifesaver continues to be a revolution in terms of easy-access, free, ‘app’-based education for these essential life-saving skills. Lifesaver VR takes this to the next level and utilises cutting-edge technology to deliver an even more realistic experience.”

The Lifesaver VR app is available through iTunes and Google Play for iPhone and Android phones and from visiting http://lifesavervr.org.uk. Lifesaver, the non-virtual reality option, is also available for download through iTunes and Google Play, and can be played in a web browser by visiting http://lifesaver.org.uk.

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West Lancashire launches its 2021 Festival

Posted: 4th September 2017

The meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge this year was, as ever, a magnificent and memorable event. The new venue of the Opera House at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool lent itself perfectly to this colourful spectacle, with the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison literally taking centre stage together with his principal officers.

The procession into the theatre of grand and Provincial grand officers from West Lancashire and other Provinces was a visual feast and masterpiece of choreography much admired by all who attended. Once the very large contingent of visiting dignitaries were seated, Tony opened Provincial Grand Lodge and asked the brethren to stand in silence as a mark of respect for ‘those brethren who had departed this mortal life and been called to higher service’ since the last meeting.

He then proceeded to introduce and welcome a very large contingent of guests from other Provinces, together with the leaders of other Masonic Orders who were attending. At the conclusion of which, they were applauded in a truly traditional West Lancashire manner. Following the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, Tony addressed and reappointed his Deputy and Assistants. Tony then proceeded to invest David John Walmsley as his newest Assistant Provincial Grand Master, with responsibility for the Eccles and District and South Eastern Groups.

Tony then moved on to announce the launch of the West Lancashire 2021 Festival in support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Tony began his introduction by saying: “Brethren, today is a great day for the Province of West Lancashire and I am so proud to be here as your Provincial Grand Master and to launch this Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Before doing so however, I once again welcome to our meeting James Newman, the Deputy President of the MCF and Les Hutchinson, the Chief Operating Officer will now give us all a brief insight into the new Masonic Charitable Foundation.”

James and Les then gave extensive details regarding both the conceptualisation and creation of the MCF and illustrated its mission and operation by giving details of case studies, highlighting how the work of the charity had such a positive impact on not just Freemasons and their dependents but also the whole community.

At the conclusion of their address, Tony continued, by saying:

I am delighted that this Province was the first to be asked to undertake a Festival for the MCF. We have a fine heritage of giving and supporting charitable causes both Masonic and within the community and for those who find themselves in need. After all, we never know when we may need that assistance and support for ourselves or our families and our dependants.

The PrGM asked that during the short four years of this Festival that the Brethren give their fullest support to the West Lancashire 2021 MCF Festival by prioritising the Festival when giving any donations personally, through their groups, lodges and chapters. He urged them to fully utilise the relief chest, white envelopes, within lodge and chapter and include gift aid where appropriate. He also encouraged groups, lodges and chapters to raise funds for the Festival through organising functions and events and to aim to become, where possible, patrons of it.

Tony continued: “Brethren, are you aware that the Province of West Lancashire receives over £1,000,000 in support of our brethren, their families and dependants every year from MCF? Therefore, there are over one million very good reasons why you should pledge your assistance to the Festival.”

Tony concluded by announcing that over £1,000.000 had already been raised for the Festival and he asked that Brethren give their full support to it as they will never know when or if they may need support themselves.

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Social media opportunities widen as LinkedIn launches video

Although it is late to the party, the networking platform’s latest application could prove useful for charities

Charities have a new social media element to capitalise on following LinkedIn’s announcement that it is introducing video to its platform.

The new feature will allow users to upload a video to the site, via LinkedIn’s iOS or Android mobile app and follows a limited release and testing earlier this year. There is no live streaming capability but that will be rolled out shortly.

Primarily used as a business tool for networking or finding a job, the company hopes that video will attract more users and increase engagement. LinkedIn made the announcement in a blog post in which it also revealed that users will have audience insights such as companies, people’s job titles and locations of their video viewers, as well as well as how many views, likes, and comments the videos are receiving.

“With these insights you can begin to understand if you’re reaching the people and companies that matter to you,” a statement from LinkedIn says. “You can find audience insights in the dashboard section of your LinkedIn profile on both mobile and desktop.”

Video has become an increasingly important aspect of social media platforms with Facebook and Twitter in particular pushing the medium to drive content and engagement while Snapchat made video its primary driver from launch. LinkedIn, sometimes criticised for being behind the curve with such developments, might be late with user-generated video on its platform, but with more than 500 million registered members across the globe, including 23 million in the UK, the potential is huge.

In a move which perhaps shows it is not catering for the social media-savvy crowd, LinkedIn has also provided a guide advising users on how to share video, what sort of video to share and best practice for creating videos.

With more and more charities harnessing the potential of social media and video to a greater extent, there may well be opportunities on offer. But Kirsty Marrins, a digital communications consultant, believes charities will need to think carefully about how to use it and advises that what works on Facebook might not necessarily translate to LinkedIn.


“As with all social media content, charities will need a clear strategy for how they will use video on LinkedIn,” she says. “Charities should consider video on LinkedIn as a way to engage with employees of a particular company where they are up for a charity of the year partnership and need to secure votes or if they want to showcase the impact that a corporate partnership has had.

“Other ideas could be to engage with high net worth individuals through a specific capital appeal campaign or the use of video to help recruit talent to the organisation. For those on LinkedIn who have had early access to this new feature, they are reporting an increase of 20x in engagement so it could be a very powerful feature for charities, if used strategically.”

Marrins says that a logical next step for LinkedIn would be to add of live video streaming to the platform so that organisations can live stream events, talks and Q&As.

“LinkedIn has always been late to the party and trails behind other social platforms when it comes to introducing new features. If they want to be innovative – and be first for once – they could introduce video chat,” she says.

Liz Sables, web marketing managing at The Brain Tumour Charity, says she could immediately see two areas of potential for the platform in the charity’s work.

“We have effectively used video in our communications on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and there is great potential for this success to translate to LinkedIn,” she says. 

“The new social media element will allow our corporate partnerships team to put out more personalised and creative content, thanking our existing partners, generating support and canvassing staff votes for new partnerships.

Sables also identifies potential improvements to the charity’s recruitment process, saying: “It would be great to see an applicant showing their enthusiasm for their specialist subject in a video or a time lapse of a project they have done which is referenced in their CV.

By using new digital tools to market themselves, it gives applicants an added edge, helping them stand out and allowing us to recruit the best talent.”

Athar Abidi, social media manager at the British Heart Foundation, acknowledges the advancements LinkedIn has made but is more circumspect about to move forward with the platform.

“LinkedIn has certainly learnt from other platforms in recent years, and updated their newsfeed with an improved ability to surface more interesting and relevant content for their users,” he says.

“With this in mind, we intend to develop a revised LinkedIn content strategy for our professional audience this year. Video is becoming central to how we communicate our charitable activities to our varied audiences, so we look forward to trying out this new functionality when the time comes.”

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Digital round-up: CBM launches app to help disabled people access life-saving disaster relief

Overseas disability charity CBM will launch the full version of its Humanitarian Hands-on Tool on Saturday to coincide with World Humanitarian Day.

The app, which is designed to provide help for people with disabilities seek life-saving relief services during emergencies, was unveiled in prototype version last year, since when CBM has consulted with humanitarian and disabled people’s organisations and incorporated their feedback.

HHOT aims to provide practical, step-by-step guidance that emergency workers can access freely and easily to ensure that the help they provide, such as emergency shelters or food and water points are accessible to people with disabilities or other marginalised groups.

Zoe Hopkins, senior programme officer at humanitarian aid agency Mercy Corps, who took part in the consultation sessions, said it was important to adapt common emergency responses to be more disability inclusive.

“Interactive use of the HHOT tool revealed many practical ways of adapting all sectors of emergencies, from quick wins such as appropriate signage in a camp, to more participatory approaches of ensuring disabled people’s organisations are present at Cluster meetings,” she said.

Breast Cancer Care has created a video to celebrate 25 years of the pink ribbon, the global symbol for breast cancer.

The Pink Ribbon 25 anniversary film, which also features the charity’s new limited edition pink velvet ribbon, has been launched across Breast Cancer Care’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. It features 25 people who have been affected by breast cancer in some way whether that is through facing their own cancer diagnosis or supporting someone else.

Samia al Qadhi, chief executive of Breast Cancer Care, said: “Since the first pink ribbon was created we’ve helped millions of women, men, their friends and families live with, through and beyond breast cancer. This year, as we celebrate and mark its 25th anniversary, it remains as compelling as ever – a powerful symbol of hope, strength and unity.”

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Brain Tumour Charity launches closed Facebook group

The Brain Tumour Charity has created a closed Facebook group as part of its newly launched Teenage and Young Adult Service to help people living with brain tumours.

The TYA has been set up for young people aged between 16 and 30 who have been diagnosed with tumours and, as the charity says, might “feel isolated, often with no idea where to turn for information and support”. The services it will provide will include:

  • Emotional and practical support from a dedicated teenage and young adult worker
  • A closed Facebook group to help young adults connect with others in similar situations, no matter where they live
  • Opportunities to be in touch with Young Ambassadors, people who understand what it’s like to live with a brain tumour diagnosis
  • Events where young adults can meet new people, learn new skills and get helpful information and support.

People can register their interest about the Facebook group through the TYA page on the Brain Tumour Charity website. Once information has been provided, they will then be given access to the group.

Emma Wood, a TYA worker, said: “We hope that the Young Ambassadors Facebook group will be a hub where young adults can connect with others and share experiences. And we can also share information about events they might be interested in getting involved with.”

The charity’s Young Ambassadors will also be creating videos and vlogs aimed at telling their own stories and helping the charity to raise awareness about brain tumours.

“Our aim is to work with the Young Ambassadors team to make videos and vlogs as a useful resource for our TYA, which will be shared through this new service,” Wood said.

“We also offer support by email, text, whatsapp and Facebook messenger. And we will be carrying out a survey in the coming months to ask young people about the support they would like: maybe other options, such as live chat.”

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Charity Finance Group launches Counter Fraud Pledge

The Charity Finance Group is calling on charities to take a pledge aimed at reducing fraud in the voluntary sector.

The umbrella body said charities could not be completely immune to fraud, but they could take steps to minimise the risks and reduce the estimated £1.9bn a year the sector loses to it.

The Counter Fraud Pledge focuses on six promises, including that each signatory will create fraud policy, assess each year how well the policy is working and appoint a key person to be responsible for fraud.

Organisations that sign the pledge will be able to use a badge on their website to show people that the charity is doing what it can to protect its assets.

Heather McLoughlin, policy and public affairs officer at the Charity Finance Group, said fraud was one of the biggest challenges facing charities.

She said that although many charities had robust counter-fraud policies, others were still grappling with the issue.

“Our hope is that the Counter Fraud Pledge will increase awareness of fraud and how to tackle it,” she said.

“We also believe it will demonstrate to beneficiaries, funders and the people who support and donate to charities, that charities do take the threat seriously and are actively working to safeguard their organisations’ assets and reputation.”

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