One year on from the first report by the Nuisance Calls and Texts Task Force, we’ve found some good progress but there’s still more to do.
Last year the Government asked me to chair a task force to look at the causes of nuisance calls and what could be done to tackle this modern day menace that affects so many of us. Together with regulators and industry bodies, this task force set out 15 recommendations for businesses, regulators and the Government to help stop nuisance calls.
Today, one year on since these recommendations were published, we have been looking at what has been achieved in the last year. Here’s what we found:
Actions by businesses and industry bodies
There has been some progress from big business and the third sector. For example, SSE has made one of its directors accountable for nuisance calls, and telecoms providers are working with Ofcom to identify nuisance call activities. The Charity Commission, the Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Standards Board are working with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
However, the majority of companies have not announced or committed to making nuisance calls a board level issue.
Actions for regulators
Earlier this year the Competition and Markets Authority published a report on the commercial use of consumer data and has committed to play a role in any future regulation on this issue. The ICO is revising its guidance and has mystery shopped firms making unsolicited marketing calls and texts. It will also be holding workshops and consultations in the New Year looking at the wording of marketing consent.
Meanwhile, Ofcom is developing a process to register mobile numbers with the Telephone Preference Service by text and has opened a consultation to review its policy on how it tackles silent and abandoned calls under the Communications Act.
Actions for the Government
The big step forward this year came when the Government made it easier for the ICO to fine companies who are found to be making cold calls, and we’ve seen a number of hefty fines over the past year.
However, there’s been no progress on giving the regulator more powers to hold board level executives to account if they’re found flouting the rules – a key ask of our Calling Time campaign.
Meanwhile we’re still waiting on the Government to consult on legislation to introduce Caller Line Identification for marketing calls, making it simpler for people to see who’s calling them.
As yet, an awareness campaign aimed at businesses has not been launched and the Government also need to assess new policies, to ensure they do not lead to nuisance calls.
There’s more to be done
Across the UK more than 300,000 people have backed our campaign to call time on nuisance calls. Despite some good progress, we’re still seeing high levels of unwanted calls and texts so more work still needs to be done to put an end to this everyday menace once and for all.
The Government, regulators and businesses need to continue to work together, with further action to cut nuisance calls off at source and make senior executives accountable if their company is caught flouting the rules.