PhonepayPlus 2010/11 Business Plan & Budget consultation

2 December 2009

PhonepayPlus, the phone-paid services regulator, has released its 2010/11 business plan and budget for consultation. The plan outlines new initiatives to create a more robust, targeted and efficient regulatory regime for premium rate services (PRS) whilst, at the same time, reducing its costs by 3.0% - a real-term decrease of 8.7% over two years.

PhonepayPlus proposes further regulatory improvements whilst reducing overall costs

Among the expected developments, many of which have been proposed in response to requests from the PRS industry, are:

  • A new PhonepayPlus Code of Practice based on clear outcome-based rules
  • Revised guidance for the industry and for specific services
  • Improvements to the PhonepayPlus Number Checker to enable coverage of nearly all PRS numbers
  • A new approach to consumer complaints handling and redress, working in partnership with industry
  • A strategic focus on monitoring and testing phone-paid services in order to intervene more proactively and quickly where non-compliance is suspected
  • An extension to our compliance advice service, following significant growth in usage by industry
  • The development of a new Three-Year Strategic Plan for PhonepayPlus
  • Also in PhonepayPlus’ business plan for 2010/11 is the introduction of a registration scheme for providers of phone-paid services, which t will support the new Code of Practice and allow for regulation to be targeted at the main provider of the service .

The budget put forward for discussion is £4.2m; which reflects a 3% spending cut and a real terms decrease of 4.5% when CPI is taken into account. With a frozen budget in 2009/10, PhonepayPlus now costs 8.7% less in real terms than it did in 2008/9.

PhonepayPlus’ ‘pre-empt and prevent’ strategy, which included a greater focus on consumer literacy in phone-paid services, service monitoring and industry compliance support services, has been successful in reducing the number of complaints that the regulator has received over the last 12 months. Taking this strategy to the next stage, with a reallocation of activities towards more proactive work with the industry, will allow PhonepayPlus to reduce spending on complaints administration and increase spending on prevention; whilst still reducing overall costs.

Paul Whiteing, Chief Executive of PhonepayPlus, said: “We have listened carefully to our stakeholders and reflected their thoughts in this plan. At the same time, we acknowledge that the market, and the wider economy, are facing difficult challenges. Recognising this, we have risen to the challenge of producing a plan that drives efficiencies and enables the burden of regulatory cost to be lowered as we simultaneously deliver real added value to consumers and industry alike.”

PhonepayPlus is now gathering views on its plans for 2010/11, and the budget proposed to achieve these objectives.

Click here to view the PhonepayPlus 2010/11 Business Plan & Budget consultation document].The deadline for responses is noon, Friday 15 January 2010.

Click here to use our online survey to reply to the consultation.