What does this cover?

In response to what the government has dubbed, a "scourge of nuisance calls", it has announced plans to introduce mandatory caller IDs in direct marketing telephone communications with the public.

The government statement describes the calls as "At best …a source of irritation and at worst they can lead to people falling foul of scammers". The plans aim to help to:

  • "improve consumer choice, by making it easier for people to refuse and report unwanted marketing calls"; and
  • "make it easier for the ICO to investigate and take enforcement action against callers that persistently and deliberately break the rules".  

A public consultation is planned over a period of 6 weeks and the measures are due to come into force during Spring 2016.

The ICO has already released a response in support of the proposals stating that "unscrupulous companies who hid their identities" are a genuine issue for complainants and that the proposals should assist the ICO to more easily identify such companies.

To take part in the consultation (closes on 23 February 2016), please click here.

To view the Government press release, please click here.

To view the ICO's official response statement, please click here

What action could be taken to manage risks that may arise from this development?

If and when the mandatory caller ID measures become effective, organisations should ensure that (and should monitor any direct marketing service providers that it contracts with to ensure that the providers) are meeting the requirements proposed. At present, the proposals are at consultation stage and there is no firm position on exactly what the rules will eventually require. Organisations should therefore remain observant of further developments. Should organisations wish to take part in the consultation, they should access the relevant consultation link above and respond before the deadline on 23 February 2016.