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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Minutes 17th December 2010

Minutes 17th December 2010

MINUTES

of the

DIRECT MARKETING COMMISSION
on
Friday 17th December 2010
at
DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS

Present:

George Kidd, Chief Commissioner 
David Coupe   
Danny Meadows-Klue 
Martyn Percy  
Michelle Peter

In attendance:

Mike Lordan, Chief of Operations
Richard Evans, Compliance & Legal Services Manager
Suzi Higman, DMC Secretariat

    
1.  WELCOME AND APOLOGIES
       
The Chairman welcomed members to the meeting.

2.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF 8TH OCTOBER 2010

The Board confirmed that the Minutes were an accurate account of their last meeting and the Chairman signed them.  SH confirmed that minutes were to be made available on the DMC website and to the DMA Board if required.  Full details of cases would be reported separately.

3.  MATTERS ARISING

 There were no matters arising.

4.       COMPLAINTS UNDER THE DMA CODE OF PRACTICE

SH reported on the breakdown of complaints for October and November 2010. There were no complaints in these two months warranting formal investigation.  There was a case in December, however, which related to an order of email data which had not been received by the complainant as he could not open the attachment.  SH reported that the data had not been securely emailed over to the complainant and the complaint would be formally investigated. This led to discussion on the importance of securely protecting data and the DMA’s stance on this issue. DM-K suggested a mailing to DMA members giving key points on this issue.

Action Point:  RE/ML to consider a joint mailing to DMA members about data security.

In the light of some recent cases, informally resolved by the Secretariat, Commissioners raised concerns around complaints relating to member clients and suppliers and whether or not members should be responsible at all times for the direct marketing activity of their suppliers and clients.  Code clauses 3.13 (members normally responsible for action taken by their suppliers and others) and 3.14 (members acting as agency or supplier for a non-member’s direct marketing activity must advise the non-member to act within the Code) were discussed and Commissioners discussed the value of checking, on a case by case basis, where member responsibilities lie in relation to these clauses.

Finally, SH reported on an appeal related to a recent adjudication and the role of the Independent Appeals Commissioner in this appeal. 

5. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

The report on KPI’s was agreed with two minor amendments which the Secretariat agreed to implement. 

Action point: SH to amend KPI document.

6. PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

Sat Ruprai, Financial Controller reported on PI Insurance and reassured Commissioners that there was adequate cover available both in terms of Professional Indemnity Insurance and Directors and Officers Liability Insurance.

7. DOOR TO DOOR REVIEW

GK presented the terms of reference for the proposed Door to Door Review.  This included the scope of the review, key activities, planning and allocation of roles.  The proposal was approved.

Action point: GK to progress proposal.

8. PUBLIC AND INDUSTRY COMMUNICATIONS

The flowchart for the complaints handling process was agreed with a minor amendment. 

Action point: flowchart on complaints handling process to be posted on DMC website.

The paper on Public and Industry Communications was approved. The Secretariat would liaise with GK on the final visuals to be posted onto the DMC website.  It was agreed that the creative wording suggested by the Secretariat and the accompanying seven principles on what the Code represents would not only be utilised on the DMC website but also used to form the core of the DMC’s communications in order to get the message across to the industry as to the Commission’s role. 

The Commission also discussed ways in which adjudications could be given greater prominence on Google searches.

Action point: GK and Secretariat to finalise the core compliance principles and creative wording to be posted on the website and to form the basis of a proposal on how we get the message across to industry.

9. CHIEF COMMISSIONER REPORT

GK reported on the recent Governance meeting.  There was some discussion on the definition and scope of direct marketing and, in particular, whether activity could be defined as direct marketing if the party involved in the marketing was not-for-profit. One suggestion was that direct marketing had by definition to involve a “commercial communication” as defined in the Code of Practice. Commissioners considered circumstances in which direct marketing techniques were clearly used for communications that were from commercial parties but not sales/marketing in nature, and circumstances in which not-for-profit parties used the same techniques for commercial and non-commercial purposes. They saw a wide range of service-type activity that was personally addressed but clearly not direct marketing. The Commission agreed it should consider any complaints involving what appeared to be not-for-profit direct marketing on a case by case basis, having regard to other possible vehicles for public protection through its risk tests and the potential detriment or impact on public trust in direct marketing.

10. GENERAL MATTERS

ML reported that the new Chair of the DMA, Scott Logie, Strategy Director, Occam and the new Vice Chair, Malcolm Green, Head of Sales, Compliance and Ethics, Yell Ltd, would be taking up their roles in January 2011.

RE reported on the latest Preference Services, Compliance and Accreditation report.

There was nothing to report this month in relation to financial issues.

SH reported that a DMC awareness survey would be emailed to the DMA membership on 7th January 2011.

11. FUTURE DATES

It was noted that the next meeting would take place on Friday 11th February, 10.30am at the DMA offices.

Possible future dates for three further meetings in 2011 would be circulated to the Commissioners as soon as possible. 

Action point:  SH to circulate possible dates.