Data protection policy

Read Bliss' data protection policy.

Bliss is committed to ensure that all information held by the charity, in either electronic or paper formats, about our donors, volunteers, users, stakeholders and staff or any other third parties complies with current Data Protection legislation.

This policy sets out Bliss' rules on data protection and the legal conditions that must be satisfied in relation to the obtaining, handling, storage, transportation, processing and destruction of personal data. The scope of this policy applies to all Bliss staff and volunteers.

This policy version does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and it may be amended at any time. Any breach of this policy will be taken seriously and may result in disciplinary action for employees or implementing the problem solving procedure for volunteers.

Any questions or concerns about the operation of this policy should be referred in the first instance to the Supporter Engagement Manager. If you consider that the policy has not been followed in respect of personal data about yourself or others you should raise the matter with your line manager/Bliss contact or the Supporter Engagement Manager.


Data is information that is stored electronically on a computer, or in certain paper-based filing systems.

Data Controller means the Head of Finance and Operations who has legal responsibility for the Bliss Data Protection Policy

Data Protection Officer means the Supporter Engagement Manager, who is responsible for the day to day implementation of the Bliss Data Protection Policy

Data Subjects means that living individual to whom the personal data relates. A Data Subject need not be a UK national or resident. All Data Subjects have legal rights in relation to their personal information.

Data Users are those of our employees or volunteers whose work involves processing personal data. Data users must protect the data they handle in accordance with this Bliss' Data Protection Policy and any applicable data security procedures at all times.

Personal Data is any data from which an individual may be identified, or that may be combined with other information in order to identify an individual. Personal data can be factual (for example, a name, address or date of birth) or it can be an opinion about that person, their actions and behaviour.

Processing is any activity that involves use of the Personal Data. It includes obtaining, recording or holding the Personal Data, or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the Personal Data including organising, amending, retrieving, using, disclosing, erasing or destroying it. Processing also includes transferring Personal Data to third parties.

Sensitive Personal Data includes data about a person's racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health or condition or sexual life, or about the commission of, or proceedings for, any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by that person, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings. Sensitive personal data can only be processed under strict conditions, and may require the express permission of the person concerned.

Data Control

As an organisation Bliss holds a wide range of Personal Data and must comply with the eight Data Protection principles:

  1. Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully
  2. Personal Data can only be used for one or more specified and lawful purposes and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with those purposes
  3. Personal Data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. Personal Data shall be accurate
  5. Personal Data shall not be kept for longer than necessary
  6. Personal Data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of the data subjects
  7. Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful Processing of Personal Data
  8. Personal Data shall be not transferred outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”) or to people or organisations situated in countries without adequate protection.

Bliss maintains a registration with The Information Commissioner's Office. This is reviewed and updated annually.

If you receive any Data Protection enquiries from staff or the public, please refer these to the Supporter Engagement Manager in the first instance.

Fair and Lawful Processing

The processing of Personal Data will only be fair if it is justified in all the circumstances and if the Data Subject concerned has been provided with clear information, for example about the purposes for which the data will be processed, who will have access to the data and if relevant, that the data may be transferred outside the EEA. Data Subjects should give their consent to Bliss to process their Personal Data, unless the Processing is necessary in relation to a contract or other legal obligation between the Data Subject and Bliss or in the context of providing a service which the Data Subject has requested. Data Subjects should give explicit consent to Bliss before Bliss processes any of that individual's Sensitive Personal Data.

Processing for Limited Purposes

Personal data may only be processed for the specific purposes notified to the individual when the data was first collected or for any other purpose specifically permitted by the Data Protection Act. This means that Personal Data must not be collected for one purpose and then used for another. If it becomes necessary to change the purpose for which the Personal Data is processed, the Data Subject must be informed of the new purpose before any Processing occurs.

Please see the Data Protection Officer if you are unsure of the circumstances which constitute 'a different purpose'. It is helpful to remember that when collecting Personal Data, the statement which allows people to either opt in or opt out of communications should encompass any future possible use of the Personal Data in order to avoid this being an issue.

Adequacy, Relevance and Amount of Personal Data

Personal Data should only be collected to the extent that it is required for the specific purpose notified to the individual. Any data which is not necessary should not be collected in the first place. Please see the Data Protection Officer if clarification is needed. Personal Data must be accurate and kept up to date.

Accurate Data

Employees and volunteers should ensure that all Personal Data held is accurate and kept up to date. Both should check the accuracy of any Personal Data at the point of collection and at regular intervals afterwards where relevant and should take all reasonable steps to destroy or amend inaccurate or out-of-date Personal Data.

Timely Processing

Employees and volunteers should ensure that Personal Data is kept for no longer than is necessary for the purpose or purposes for which it was collected and take all reasonable steps to notify the Individual Giving Manager or Bliss contact of any Personal Data which you believe is no longer required.

Processing in Line with a Data Subject's Rights

Employees and volunteers should be aware of a Data Subjects' rights when Processing Personal Data. These rights include a Data Subject's right to:

  1. Request access to any Personal Data held about them by Bliss;
  2. Prevent the processing of their Personal Data for direct-marketing purposes;
  3. Ask to have inaccurate Personal Data amended; and
  4. Prevent Processing that is likely to cause damage or distress to themselves or anyone else.

Data Security

Internal Processes and security measures

Managers responsible for groups of Personal Data that Bliss holds must define the data on the Data Control grid.

All managers should also ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to protect both paper and electronic data. Strict entry controls are placed on Bliss premises and any stranger in entry-controlled areas should be reported. Paper records should be kept in locked storage cabinets. In the case of any Sensitive Data, paper copies should not be held and should instead be scanned electronically and password protected, with access given to the appropriate people only. In the case of individual financial details, these should be blocked out on paper copies.

When Personal Data is no longer required any paper copies should be shredded and any physical digital storage devices should be destroyed.

Access to Personal Data should be restricted to those individuals who need to have this information in order to provide the relevant service to the individual Data Subject.

All Personal Data that Bliss holds has an agreed timeframe for archiving and deletion/destruction. This is different for different groups of Personal Data, in line with what is both reasonable and legal. Please see the Data Control Grid for details.

All members of staff should have access to lockable drawers or cabinets which are to be used to store any papers that may contain Personal or Sensitive Data. Staff members should not leave any papers that hold Personal or Sensitive Data unsecured whilst they are not in the office. This includes ensuring papers are not accessible after office hours and taking responsibility for when colleagues may be unexpectedly absent.

All Personal Data sent via email to third parties should be password protected or transferred via a secure FTP site. Passwords should be sent via a separate communication. For example, if Personal Data is being sent by email in an encrypted attachment, the password should not also be sent by email. The recipient should be contacted by phone to provide the password. Documents sent internally via email are not to be attached to an email but a link should be provided to where the document is saved. If the information is private this document should be password protected and only accessed by the relevant staff members who have a need to access it.

Computer Security

Access to electronic data must be secure and the rules regarding computer access are covered in the Bliss IT Policy.

Transferring Personal Data to a Country outside the European Economic Area ("EEA")

No Personal Data should be transferred to parties located outside the EEA without appropriate safeguards in place, and unless the transfer is reasonably necessary. Please contact the Supporter Engagement Manager where it is planned to transfer Personal Data outside the EEA.

Individuals' rights in relation to their personal data

Subject access requests

Data Subjects have the right to be told whether any of their Personal Data is being processed; be given a description of the Personal Data we hold about them, the reasons for which it is being processed, and whether it will be given to any other organisation or people; be given a copy of any materials comprising the Personal Data; and given details of the source of the Personal Data.

Any access request may be subject to a fee, which is currently £10, to meet our costs of providing details of the Personal Data we hold. Information must be provided within 40 days of the fee being received. Any member of staff who receives a written request should forward it to the Supporter Engagement Manager immediately. We may be entitled to request that any request for information made by a Data Subject should be made in writing to the Supporter Engagement Manager, Bliss, 2nd Floor, Chapter House, 18-20 Crucifix Lane, London, SE1 3JW.

Other requests

Data Subjects can request that Bliss ceases or does not begin Processing their Personal Data or that any inaccuracies in their Personal Data should be corrected. Where possible, it is preferred that requests are made in writing. Any such request should be noted and recorded on a relevant file to ensure that Bliss has a record of the changes made.

Confidentiality of personal data

Other than as specifically authorised under this Policy, Bliss does not provide information about a Data Subject to anyone without a Data Subject's express prior consent.

However, it is recognised that there may be times when it is appropriate to breach confidentiality for legitimate reasons without consent.

The reasons permitted under this policy are:

If there is, or suspected to be, an immediate risk to life or a risk of serious harm

  • When a safeguarding allegation or concern has been raised
  • If the organisation has a legal obligation to disclose particular information
  • If an allegation is made against the organisation that requires external investigation

Outside of these exceptions, any staff member or volunteer dealing with telephone enquiries should be careful about disclosing any Personal Data held by Bliss. In particular, they should:

  1. Check the caller’s identity to make sure that information is only given to a person who is entitled to it.
  2. Suggest that the caller put their request in writing if they are not sure about the caller’s identity and where their identity cannot be checked.
  3. Refer to the Supporter Engagement Manager for assistance in difficult situations. No-one should be bullied into disclosing Personal Data.

Fair Collection Statements

Bliss uses the following fair usage statements when capturing any Personal Data. They must be used, clearly, on all data capture mechanisms.

The Data Subject must clearly indicate their response to each of these questions through the use of a tick box. If an employee or volunteer is left with any doubt as to whether a Data Subject has given consent they should refer the matter to the Supporter Engagement Manager.

There must be included a clear, one-step option to opt out of all communications from the charity. In the case of email communications this will be via an unsubscribe link. In the case of paper communications, the following statement shall be included:

If you wish to opt out of all communications from Bliss, please call the Supporter Engagement Team on 020 7378 5740

For written communications (letters/emails):

We’d like to keep you updated with news about our work and ways you can get involved. Are you happy to be contacted by:

PostYes  No 
Text messageYes  No 
EmailYes  No 
TelephoneYes  No 
Date ______________

We will not pass your details on to any third party organisation for their marketing purposes.

If you wish to opt out of all communications from Bliss, please call the Supporter Engagement Team on 020 7378 5740

For email (where is it possible to include both Opt in (Yes) and Opt Out (No) boxes

We’d like to keep you updated with news about our work and ways you can get involved. Are you happy to be contacted by:

PostYes  No 
Text messageYes  No 
EmailYes  No 
TelephoneYes  No 
Date ______________

We will not pass your details on to any third party organisation for their marketing purposes

Where it is not possible to include both Opt in (Yes) and Opt Out (No) boxes the statement should read as follows:

We’d like to keep you updated with news about our work and ways you can get involved. Please state your communications preferences below. Please note that if you leave a box unticked we will assume you have opted out of that form of communication.

Are you happy to be contacted by:

PostYes  No 
Text messageYes  No 
EmailYes  No 
TelephoneYes  No 
Date ______________

We will not pass your details on to any third party organisation for their marketing purposes

Email unsubscribes

There must be an unsubscribe option on every email or text message communication to allow a the Data Subject to opt out of all communications from Bliss as well a separate option to opt out of the particular type of communication they are receiving.

You may unsubscribe from this newsletter by [insert process for unsubscribing]

You may unsubscribe at any time from all Bliss communications by [insert process for unsubscribing].


Read out the following statement:

We’d like to keep you updated with news about our work and ways you can get involved. Are you happy to be contacted by:

PostYes 
Text messageYes 
EmailYes 
TelephoneYes 
Date ______________

We will not pass your details on to any third party organisation for their marketing purposes

Record yes/no against each channel within which will record the date permission is given against the contact record.

Rules on permission to contact individuals for marketing purposes

Bliss MUST include on all fundraising communications sent to a named individual, clearly displayed details of how the recipient can, by a single step, opt-out of receiving such communications from the charity on whose behalf the communication was sent. This MUST be at least the same font size as the larger of (i) any text asking for the recipient’s personal details, or (ii) any text specifying the donation amount. If there is no text asking for personal details or specifying donation amount, this information MUST be in the minimum font size of 10.

TPS registration restrictions

We cannot now call anyone for marketing purposes (eg fundraising, campaigning, promoting volunteering, training or events) if they are registered with the telephone preference service (TPS) unless they have actively opted in to receiving phone calls from us.

This does not apply to people not registered with TPS.

  • Email contact: data subject MUST have opted in to receive email communications
  • Telephone contact: see TPS exclusions above
  • Postal communication: administrative postal communication can be sent regardless of opt-in preferences.
  • To send a marketing communication to a Data Subject, they MUST have opted into receive post.
  • Text message marketing: an opt-in is required to send communications by text message.

If an individual gives their details to Bliss and does not opt out of communications, this can be taken as consent to contact that individual for the specific purpose for which they provided their details but not for any other purposes which would require a specific opt-in to be obtained (as explained above). If at any stage the individual withdraws their consent, we must cease contact and add their details to a suppression list.

In the case of bought-in marketing lists for telephone and post marketing, these must be screened against the Telephone Preference Service and Mailing Preference Service and Bliss’ own suppression lists before any contact is made via the relevant channel. In the event you wish to send email communications to a bought in marketing list you will need to check whether the relevant Data Subject has "opted-in" to such communications.

For postal communications to bought-in lists of data, the person responsible for purchasing the data must also screen it against the Baby Mailing Preference Service.

Please speak to the Data Protection Officer regarding any planned communications to bought-in marketing lists. Any queries over whether or not we have adequate permission to contact an individual should be directed to the Data Protection Officer.

Outsourcing to third parties

It is staff's responsibility to ensure a reputable organisation is selected if they are going to process Personal Data, that the outsourcing arrangement is reasonably necessary, and, before any Personal Data is transferred, a written agreement should be entered into with such third party, containing clauses to protect Personal Data. All Personal Data outsourced to other companies to be processed on behalf of Bliss should have security measures in place to guarantee the safekeeping of Personal Data and compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. As is the case for all transfers of Personal Data to third parties, transfer to an outsourcer should be made via a secure FTP site (if password protected, this should be communicated by a means other than the channel the Personal Data was transferred by).

Other than where Bliss outsources the Processing of Personal Data under an appropriate contract, or as otherwise explicitly authorised under this Policy, Bliss does not share Personal Data with third parties.

Download our data protection policy

Download a PDF of Bliss' data protection policy

Data protection policy