THE LONG-RUNNING row between the Advertising Standards Authority and the Consumers' Association has been patched up with the two consumer protection bodies agreeing to work more closely together. The reconciliation follows stinging criticism of the Authority last year by CA, in which the ASA's effectiveness was questioned along with demands for a 'drastic overhaul' of its procedures. The ASA responded in kind, labelling the CA's report as 'hastily cobbled together, regurgitated and misguided'. This unedifying [if entertaining] exchange was followed by a period in which each watchdog constantly snapped at the heels of the other, ending recently with an olive branch proffered by the ASA. The advertising regulator will now encourage CA to take up the cudgels on issues beyond the ASA's remit. These would include pending legislation on competition and human rights, along with jointly developed campaigns to educate consumers on their rights within the EC. Says ASA communications director Caroline Crawford: 'We hope this will signal the start of a better relationship between us … it's important for CA to look at the bigger picture.' [Industry cynics interpret this as a politely coded message for CA to keep off the ASA's patch.]
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