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ICO and Ofcom launch action plan to tackle nuisance calls

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

Both have demanded changes in the law to make it easier to punish offending firms.

The joint action plan will see the two organisations work together to target enforcement against offending companies as well as improving call and message tracing processes to track down those responsible for making nuisance calls.

Credit: Oliver Dixon/Geograph

Both will look into the work of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) on the level of unsolicited live sales and marketing calls, to understand how well the TPS is currently working for consumers.

The two will also publish 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.”

In a blog post Entwisle also outlined further details on action being taken. These include demanding that the government lower thresholds for taking action on problem firms.

“The law currently requires us to prove that calls or texts are causing substantial harm or substantial distress before we can issue a penalty,” he said.

“We’ve provided a business case asking the government to reduce the level of harm, so we need to simply prove annoyance or nuisance before acting.”

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