We are the UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill.

14th Code of Practice consultation launched following review of Part 4

23 November 2015

PhonepayPlus is today launching a consultation on its 14th edition of the Code of Practice following a review of Part 4 of the Code.

Part 4 is the area of the Code which sets out the procedures PhonepayPlus uses when investigating, adjudicating and where appropriate imposing sanctions in response to allegations of consumer harm. Part 4 also currently sets out procedures for appeals following any adjudication.  

PhonepayPlus launched the 13th edition of our Code of Practice in July 2015. However during the run up to this launch, in March 2015, we announced that we would be further reviewing Part 4 - in particular the investigations, adjudications and appeals procedures contained within it. 

The review is now complete, and in taking forward its recommendations we are consulting on the new proposed 14th edition of the Code. Because the 13th edition of the Code was consulted and launched very recently, we were and remain satisfied that there has been no material change to circumstances in the intervening time which would bring into question the remainder of the provisions within that Code.

The documents published today are:

The review has made recommendations in four core areas:

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

The proposed new Code delivers a more streamlined process than previously, which reduces the number and complexity of steps involved.

The key changes can be summarised as:

  • Bringing forward the consideration of interim measures – i.e. withholds and/or suspensions – to an earlier stage in all Track 2 investigations. This will remove the need for the current Emergency procedure, which we propose to abolish.
  • Replacement of the current Code Compliance Panel (CCP) with a new body, the Code Adjudication Panel (CAP) which will no longer contain members of the PhonepayPlus Board. This provides a separation between those who make the Code – the Board – and those who enforce it.
  • Prior to a “Warning Notice” – an internal mechanism to review the recommendations of the Investigations team before breaches and sanctions are outlined to the provider.  
  • Enhanced potential for providers to settle cases once they have received the Warning Notice, and prior to a hearing.
  • A more flexible hearing, which allows for different levels of oral and legal representation.A more streamlined, simplified process which significantly reduces the complexity of the current Part 4 by removing post adjudication reviews and the Independent Appeals Body (IAB) stage.

In addition to looking at and making recommendations around Part 4 of the Code, the review also looked at PhonepayPlus’ “Investigations and Sanctions Procedures” (I&SP) which whilst not part of the Code serves to support the enforcement process. Whilst we do not formally consult on changes to the supporting procedures, a draft version of Part 4 supporting procedures will be published for comment in due course.

PhonepayPlus welcomes responses to the questions set out on page 28 of the consultation document by no later than 1st February 2016. This also allows us to fully consider any comments that stakeholders may have.

Responses should be submitted by email to Mark Collins mcollins@phonepayplus.org.uk. Copies may also sent by mail to:

Mr Mark Collins
Head of Policy Projects
25th Floor
40 Bank Street
Canary Wharf
London E14 5NR

Tel: 020 7940 7412

Responses to the consultation:

Buongiorno UK Ltd
*response table