Data Protection

Data Protection

1. Why we collect Personal Data

The Dominican Friars in England and Scotland act under a registered charity called ‘The English Province of the Order of Preachers’ (registration number in England and Wales, 231192; in Scotland, SC039062).

The charity is involved in a wide range of activities: we serve communities in a number of UK cities, we teach students at Blackfriars, Oxford, and many friars undertake work that brings them into contact with a large network of colleagues, friends, supporters and collaborators. We also serve several thousand people internationally through our online homily service, Torch.

Managing our relationships with this large and diverse body of people is a considerable but very important task, requiring the secure and careful handling of personal data. For this reason, a strategic decision was made in 2014 to consolidate our data holdings related to communications and fundraising into a well-protected central database as far as possible.

There are two key reasons for doing this:

  • To send the right communications to the right people using the right contact details, and avoid sending multiple communications from different parts of the organisation.
  • To assist the important work of fundraising, which provides essential support for sustaining the work of the friars, and ultimately delivers benefits to the people we serve.

2. Our Obligations

Our organisation is required by law to handle data in accordance with the UK’s Data Protection Act (1998).

We shall also be required from May 2018 to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and we are currently awaiting guidance from the charitable sector regulators on how to do so.

The DPA sets out principles for handling personal data, requiring that it shall:

  • be processed fairly and lawfully;
  • be held only for specified purposes and not used or disclosed in any way incompatible with those purposes;
  • be adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  • be accurate and kept up-to-date;
  • not be kept for longer than necessary for the particular purpose;
  • be processed in accordance with the data subject’s rights;
  • be kept secure;
  • not be transferred outside the European Economic Area unless the recipient country ensures an adequate level of protection.

You can read more about the DPA here:

3. The Personal Data we process and store

Personal data

The personal data we process and store in accordance with the above obligations include names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, details of age, sex, education (especially if we provided it), employment.

We record current subscriptions to news services offered by us, and a history of interactions with us (including donation history and interactions via email, mail, phone or in person).

We also record relevant relationships and connections with other constituents on our database, such as spouses, relatives, employers, friends, and so on; and we make notes on what we know about people’s interests; but only insofar as they are relevant to our relationship with them for the purposes of communications and fundraising. Please note: our friars have a pastoral relationship with many of our constituents, however we do not record any sensitive information about these relationships in our database.

We do not handle or store payment card data; card payments are handled via our websites through secure web forms, using a fully secure and compliant third-party payment services provider.


In some cases we will undertake research using information in the public domain in order to develop a fuller understanding of our constituents and to guide our interactions with them, and any information relevant to our relationship with them or to our fundraising may be recorded in the database.

We use a secure and legally compliant third-party agency to give us a fuller picture of the people in our database. This agency does not retain our constituents’ personal data nor share it with other organisations. The agency gives us access to information in the public domain (e.g. company directorships, public lists of benefactors, involvement with charities, property values) to help us understand if people on our database are likely to have a willingness and ability to support our mission through donations. This research process is commonly referred to as ‘wealth screening’. We do this so that we can ensure that any fundraising communications we make to people are appropriate to them as individuals, and so that we can, with our limited staff resources, fundraise efficiently and successfully in support of our mission.

Data Security

All of this information is stored in an industry-leading database with a very high level of security, and is only visible to a restricted number of personnel. We do not and have no plans to share your personal information with others outside our organisation (unless required to do so by law, court order or other requirement); in the unlikely situation that we wished to disclose your information outside of those legal requirements, we would contact you first to ask for your explicit permission.

4. What to do if you have concerns

If you have any concerns, then you are welcome to contact our Development Office. We wish to be fully transparent about the way we handle your personal data, and are happy to explain in more detail any aspect of this. If you wish, you can be removed from any or all communications lists, such that you only receive selected communications from us, or no communications at all. All email bulletins include an unsubscribe link.

You also have the right to request that your personal data be removed from our database. We do however need to retain certain core information in order to comply with our statutory requirements (such as name and address and donations history for Gift Aid), to meet our accounting and auditing requirements, and to record your removal request so that we do not inadvertently contact you again in the future.

You also have a right under the Data Protection Act to view the personal data that are held about you. If you wish to do so, please contact the Development Office.

Contact Details

Dominican Friars’ Development Office
St Giles
Tel: 01865 610208

Edinburgh Catholic Chaplaincy

The Catholic Chaplaincy serves the students and staff of the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University.

The Catholic Chaplaincy is also a parish of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh (the Parish of St Albert the Great) and all Catholic students and staff are automatically members of this parish.

Read more