ASA reviews complaints system

28 August 2009

LONDON: Five years since Ofcom gave it responsibility for all broadcast and non-broadcast ads, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority is to launch a review of its complaints handling procedure.

The review, which kicks off in October and will be managed by external consultants, follows disquiet among many advertisers over the inflexibility of some ASA rulings.

Focussing heavily on the watchdog's key operations, the investigation will include both the handling of complaints from the public - which have risen in recent months - as well as the entire appeals process. 

The pre-publication advice given by the Copy Advice Team, which offers guidance on non-broadcast ads prior to their launch, will also be examined. 

Concern has been mounting over how difficult it is to get ASA judgements overturned. Over the past two years, not one single appeal against an ASA ruling on a television campaign has been successful.

While the announcement is linked partly to GuyParker's recent appointment as ASA chief executive, insiders say that the five-year anniversary of the body being made a one-stop-shop for advertising regulation is also pertinent to the timing.

The review follows the consultation earlier this year on the content of the advertising codes; separately written by the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice.

Data sourced from Campaign; additional content by WARC staff