ICO and Ofcom draw up joint action plan to tackle nuisance calls

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Nuissance

OFCOM NEWS

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and Ofcom have published a joint action plan to tackle the issue of nuisance calls and help protect consumers.

The ICO and Ofcom share responsibility for taking action against organisations that generate nuisance calls or messages.The ICO has lead responsibility for tackling those companies who make nuisance marketing calls or send unsolicited marketing text messages, while Ofcom uses its powers to deal with silent and abandoned calls.

COMMITMENT

The plan represents a formal commitment from both organisations to work in partnership on a series of initiatives covering a range of areas. It also summarises key work carried out by the ICO and Ofcom in recent months to address the issue of nuisance calls.

Important priorities for the ICO and Ofcom in the months ahead include:

  • ongoing targeted enforcement against non-compliant organisations;
  • improving call and message tracing processes to track down those responsible for making nuisance calls;
  • an assessment of the impact of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)4 on the level of unsolicited live sales and marketing calls, to understand how well the TPS is currently working for consumers; and
  • publication of revised industry guidance on marketing consent to include detailed advice on appropriate methods of consent, the limitations of indirect third-party consent, time limits, and the need for records of consent.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director said: “This joint action plan serves to cement our partnership with the ICO as we work together to tackle nuisance calls and protect consumers.”

Simon Entwisle, ICO Director of Operations added: “Only concerted, joint action can tackle the consumer menace of nuisance calls. This plan shows we mean business and outlines how we will continue our work with Ofcom to tackle the problem.”

UPDATE

The joint action plan can be found here. The ICO and Ofcom will publish a general update on progress on this programme of work in early 2014.

A blog post to accompany today’s announcement can also be found on the ICO’s website.

A guide for consumers on preventing and complaining about nuisance calls (produced with other regulators and consumer groups) is available on the Ofcom website and has been viewed online almost 160,000 times.

An online portal to help consumers register a complaint by directing them to the appropriate regulator can also be found on the Ofcom website.