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We want your feedback: Part 4 Review and Code consultation

24 November 2015, Simon Towler, Director of Policy and External Relations, PhonepayPlus
14th Code consultation

On Monday we launched our consultation on our 14th Code of Practice following a review of part 4 of the Code. I am pleased to give you some more detail about the consultation as we are keen to hear from you. You can find the  consultation document, the proposed 14th Code and details of how to respond here.

Part 4 of the Code outlines our investigation, adjudication and appeals procedures. This broadly speaking is the way in which we investigate services, and where necessary, the process of taking cases to a tribunal.

The review set out to identify where the regulatory framework, and supporting “Investigations and Sanctions Procedures” could be improved. Whilst not a core area, we also looked at how we could improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the process.

The review is now complete and has made recommendations in respect of four core areas:

  • Independence
  • Transparency and certainty
  • Fairness
  • Proportionality and consistency

Things to consider
We have proposed a new Code which I think delivers a more efficient investigation process than previously, simplifying and reducing the number of steps involved. It builds on the work we are already undertaking by working with providers, networks and the whole premium rate value chain to improve compliance with our Code. In 2014/15 70% of cases we investigated were resolved informally rather than being taken to a Tribunal.

Proposed changes
A few of the key changes outlined in the consultation include:

  • A new Code Adjudication Panel replacing the current Code Compliance Panel (CCP). The new panel will no longer contain members of the PhonepayPlus Board.
  • A more flexible hearing allowing for different levels of oral and legal representation.
  • Removal of the Independent Appeal Body through a more simplified and streamlined process, reducing the complexity of Part 4.
  • Enhanced potential to settle cases prior to hearing.
  • Removing the need for current Emergency procedure by bringing forward the consideration of measures like withholds and/or suspension to an earlier stage of investigations.

How to respond and next steps
With the consultation now open we would like to hear from you. We have included ten questions to consider and the closing date for feedback is 1st February 2015. In the New Year we will be publishing draft supporting procedures which provide more detail on how the new Code provisions will be operated in practice. 

We are aiming to implement the new Code in the summer of 2016. Details of how to respond to the consultation can be found here.

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