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Notice to Industry: Corrections to Guidance in support of the new 12th Edition of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice

26 August 2011

Background

To assist those involved in providing premium rate services (PRS) to comply with their responsibilities, PhonepayPlus has provided Guidance that sets out how it is likely to interpret the rules and requirements contained within the 12th Edition of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice (‘the Code’) – both generally and in relation to specific service types. 

Paragraphs 1.5.1 to 1.5.4 of the Code set out the status of Guidance and advice in relation to the Code. Guidance does not form part of the Code and is non-binding on the decisions of PhonepayPlus Tribunals in the event of an investigation which requires them to adjudicate.  However, it is likely that providers who have not followed Guidance relevant to the service under investigation will be invited to explain how they have complied with the Code by other means.

Paragraph 1.5.3 of the Code states that Guidance may be amended from time to time on reasonable notice and following appropriate consultation. However, in this context, “amended” would refer to any substantive change made to existing Guidance and those which place different expectations upon providers.

Corrections to Guidance

22 separate pieces of Guidance were launched along with the Code in March 2011. Since this launch, we have identified a number of specific paragraphs within the body of Guidance which require minor corrections. In addition, due to a change to legislation around the conduct of employment agencies and businesses, there is a need for us required to alter information previously provided in the Service-Specific Guidance on ‘Employment, employment information and business opportunity services’ to ensure the advice it gives is consistent with the current law.

We do not propose to consult on the changes to the Guidance on ‘Employment, employment information and business opportunity services’ as they simply reflect the changes to the law.   We also do not propose to consult on the other corrections as they do not substantively alter the Guidance or our expectations, and do not place any additional expectation or burden on those involved in providing PRS.

The Guidance which is being corrected, and a summary of the corrections, is as follows:

Guidance

Corrections

General Guidance Note – The appropriate use of number ranges

Paragraph 2.6, 1st bullet (referring to 0870x/0845x/0843x/0844x/0871/2/3) – at b) after “it is a chatline service” add “(i.e. a multi-party chat service)

General Guidance Note – The conduct of live services

Introduction, 5th bullet – change “All live services” to “All live sexual entertainment services

 

Introduction – add new bullet for clarity to read “All live services (unless they are exempt categories) must have prior permission, and may be subject to spending caps as part of the conditions of any permission granted.” (NB this is not an additional expectation, but merely confirms an existing requirement)

 

Paragraph 3.1 - change “All live services” to “All live sexual entertainment services

 

Paragraph 3.2 - change “where a service is operating” to “where a live sexual entertainment service is operating

 

Paragraph 3.3 - change “Any providers wishing to operate services” to “Any providers wishing to operate live sexual entertainment services

Service-Specific Guidance Note – Directory enquiry services

Remove paragraph 3.3 (NB Professional indemnity insurance is not required in relation to directory enquiry providers enacting connection to other premium rate services – this paragraph was inadvertently included in the original Guidance Note)

Service-Specific Guidance Note – Employment, employment information and business opportunity services

Paragraph 1.1, 4th bullet – a in italicised heading change “(e.g. photographic and fashion models)” to (“except photographic and fashion models)”. Change non-italicised text to read as follows:

 

“These services can charge for their services to work-seekers in respect of the occupations listed in Schedule 3 to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (as amended by the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2010)) (“the Regulations”), subject to various limitations and requirements set out in the Regulations. 

Providers should note that the use of PRS is likely to breach the Regulations where it takes the form of ‘up-front’ costs, unless the PRS charges relate directly to the entry of work-seekers into in a job seeker or job search publication and various other requirements are satisfied, including the provision of a cooling off period. Providers are strongly advised to the Regulations for further information, and seek legal advice accordingly.”

 

Providers of PRS should note that these corrections have been made to Guidance available on the Code and Guidance area of the PhonepayPlus website, and take immediate effect as of today’s date, 26 August.