ICO consults on draft direct marketing code of practice

January 9, 2020

The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a consultation on a draft direct marketing code of practice. The code is a statutory code under section 22 of the Data Protection Act 2018.

The ICO points out that processing personal data for direct marketing purposes is carried out by the vast majority of organisations and the code applies to them if they process personal data for direct marketing purposes. 

Direct marketing includes the promotion of aims and ideals as well as advertising goods or services. Any method of communication which is directed to particular individuals could constitute direct marketing. Direct marketing purposes include all processing activities that lead up to, enable or support the sending of direct marketing and all organisations have an obligation to ensure their direct marketing activities comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

The draft code aims to help those undertaking direct marketing to comply with those regulations and builds on previous guidance, as well as taking into account the input received during the initial call for views carried out in 2019.

Adopting a practical life-cycle approach to direct marketing, it starts with a section that looks at the definition of direct marketing to help marketers decide if the code applies to them. Subsequent sections cover planning, collecting data, delivering marketing messages, working with others, and individuals’ rights.

The ICO also intends to produce additional practical tools (such as checklists) to go alongside the code to help support direct marketing activities, although these will not form part of the code itself.

The consultation ends on 4 March 2020 and the final version is expected later this year.