The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) allows members of the public to block unsolicited calls. Telephone numbers listed on the TPS register must not be called without consent.
This Quick Guide will help fundraising organisations to understand:
- when they need to check the TPS register,
- whether or not they can call a telephone number and;
- how to evidence that the organisation is complying with the legal requirements regarding TPS
This Guidance supports standards 9.4.1 and 9.4.2 in the Code of Fundraising Practice, section 9.4 Fundraising by telephone.
Telephone Preference Service (TPS) Assessment: 4 Questions
Q1) Does the activity involve calling a telephone number?
- No = TPS is not relevant for any communication through channels other than telephone
- Yes = Proceed to Q2
Q2) Is the purpose or any part of the call marketing, as defined by the ICO (does it include the “promotion of a charity’s aims or ideals”)?
- No = TPS does not apply if no part of the call is for marketing purposes. For example to fulfil a contractual obligation or a legal issue.
- Yes = Proceed to Q3.
Q3) Does the organisation already hold current valid consent from an individual, to contact them using this telephone number?
- No = Proceed to Q4
- Yes = TPS is overridden by consent (you must be able to evidence this consent). The telephone number associated with the individual can be called.
Q4) Is the telephone number on the TPS register?
- No = The number can be called. Record that you have checked the current status of TPS registration for this telephone number and the date. You may also consider asking the individual on the call to confirm consent for future calls and record this.
- Yes = Do not contact the individual by this telephone number. Record the current TPS registration status of the telephone number and the date that you checked the register.
Basic TPS Compliance record keeping:
- Organisations need to be able to evidence that they are compliant with legal requirements regarding TPS. This is the case whether they make the telephone calls themselves or through a third party.
- The legal requirement regarding TPS in the Privacy Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), is to not make marketing calls to any number registered with TPS, unless an individual has given specific consent to be contacted on that number for that purpose. Use the TPS assessment above to help adhere to this.
- TPS compliance evidence records should include:
- the most recent date that the telephone number was checked against the TPS register
- whether the telephone number is currently TPS registered
- any current valid consent from an individual to contact that telephone number
- TPS registration checks are valid for 28 days from when the telephone number was last checked by the organisation. This is how long TPS states it will take for registration with the service to take effect. If more than 28 days have passed since the last TPS registration check, a further check will need to take place before calling the number for marketing purposes.
- If an organisation engages a third party to carrying out telephone calls on its behalf, it must ensure that the TPS requirements are met. Expectations for monitoring third party compliance are set out in section 7.3 of the Code of Fundraising Practice.
- Organisations that make a lot of telephone fundraising calls may consider registering with an auditing or accreditation scheme for TPS compliance. This is not a legal requirement or standard within the Code of Fundraising Practice.