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Direct Marketing Commission - Enforcing Higher Industry Standards

Minutes – 21st May 2015

Minutes – 21st May 2015

MINUTES

of the

DIRECT MARKETING COMMISSION

on

Thursday 21st May 2015
at
DMA, 70 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SS

Present:

George Kidd, Chief Commissioner
David Coupe, Industry Commissioner
Danny Meadows-Klue, Industry Commissioner
Dr Simon Davey, Independent Commissioner

In Attendance:

Suzi Higman, Secretary, DMC
John Mitchison, Head of DMA Legal & Compliance

1.  WELCOME AND APOLOGIES

Rosaleen Hubbard had given apologies for absence.

2.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF 24th FEBRUARY 2015

The Commissioners had confirmed that the Minutes were an accurate account of their last meeting.  These had now been published on-line.

3.  MATTERS ARISING

At a previous meeting, following concerns about a member’s business model and their relationship with affiliates, GK had tested the strength of clause 4.3 in the Code which asks that members normally take responsibility for suppliers and others.  It had been agreed that GK would raise the issue at a DMA Board meeting to ascertain whether the clause would cover affiliate responsibility.  The DMA Board had agreed that this was the case.

SH had reported on a recent complaint at the last meeting from a hospice owner who had ordered data from a DMA member.  There had been problems with the data and he was struggling to reach a resolution.  The member had seemingly hidden behind a confidentiality clause in their terms to avoid a complaint being made to the DMC. It was agreed that the DMA would prepare a message informing DMA members that they should not hide behind their terms to avoid a complaint being made.

4.  CHIEF COMMISSIONER’S REPORT

• BIS and CMA
ML and GK had met with the Better Regulation Executive (BIS – Business Innovation Skills) and CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) to discuss the DMA Code and other alternatives to regulation. GK had produced a chart template which looked at the nature of problems and behaviours as a hierarchy in terms of solutions.  He would seek comments from Commissioners on this paper.

Action Point:  GK to elicit comments on CMA chart.

• Commission appointments
GK and SH reported that two Industry Commissioners, DC and DM-K’s tenure was coming to an end on 30th June this year.  DM-K said he would be happy to carry on if possible.  It was agreed the Secretariat would check whether this was possible.

JM reported that a draft job description for an Industry Commissioner had been circulated and that this needed to be finalised so that the DMA could commence their selection process.

5.      FORMAL ADJUDICATION

A formal adjudication took place during this meeting.  The case related to a DMA member which had been the subject of a national newspaper article alleging that the member had bought and sold sensitive medical and pension data without consent.

It was agreed that the member was not in breach of Code provisions but that there were wider issues of concern not particular to any one business, these related to the use of confidentiality agreements in the data supply chain; the selling and buying of data which  could be deemed ‘sensitive’; permission statements which may not reflect stricter ICO guidance; the overall cumulative effect on the extended value chain and ultimately the public.  A letter would be sent to the DMA informing them of our findings.  A letter would also be sent to the member and a public statement would be prepared for the DMC website.

6. COMPLAINTS UNDER THE DMA CODE

At a previous meeting, SH had reported on complaints against a member which had been the subject of a previous adjudication last year.  The complaints had related to unwanted calls, to, in the main TPS registrants.  Complainants had also been concerned around the persistence of calls.  The investigation had continued informally and a meeting had been arranged with the company in question.  There was one particular point of concern – that of ‘ageing’ consent – where consent had been obtained years previously but where the consumer had not since ‘opted-out’ despite attempts by the member to make contact.  The Commissioners discussed the issue of suppressions where consumers may not have made it clear one way or another that they did not want to be called again, but where the company considered that as they had not ‘opted-out’ specifically then they should still be called.  Commissioners discussed ways in which consumer wishes could be more properly reflected.  It was considered that this was an industry issue, specific to lead generation companies, and it was agreed the DMC would write to the DMA informing them of our findings. We would also write to the member to inform them of our actions and to explain that if we continued to receive complaints we may revert again to a formal investigation.  We would also ask that they update us on their contact with a member consultancy who were to advise them on regulation and good practice.

Action Point:  Letter to be sent to DMA and member

SH reported that a formal adjudication would be taking place in two weeks into another member company that was the subject of a national newspaper article about the buying and selling of ‘sensitive’ financial data.

SH reported on a complaint received again two political parties, who had seemingly not screened the complainant’s data against the Mailing Preference Service, resulting in the receipt of mailings close to the Election.  It was agreed that the Secretariat would remind the Parties of their obligations under the Code.

7. CODE RULE ON ‘DISREPUTE’

At a recent Commission meeting where a case against a DMA member was discussed, the subject of the ‘disrepute’ clause in the new DMA code was raised and RH had offered to produce a short guidance note covering the agreed criteria for deciding whether or not a member was in breach of this clause.  The note would be circulated to Commissioners for comment.

Action Point – Commissioners to comment on disrepute note.

8. GENERAL MATTERS

Governance, Preference Services & Compliance Report
The latest Governance, Preference Services & Compliance Report which had been circulated to Commissioners.

9. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

DM-K presented his concept of the ‘Data Journey’ which, in visual form, displayed a clear route from the beginning to the end of a supply chain.  It was agreed that this would be very helpful for Commissioners when looking at cases and could be usefully applied (in a more general form) on the DMC website.

10. FUTURE MEETING DATES 2015 – 10.30am at the DMA offices

Formal adjudication – 4th June 10.30am
Tuesday 15 September
Tuesday 24 November