What Is the ICO’s Role in UK Call Centre Regulation?
The Importance of Compliance
The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s independent authority, which has been set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, in order to promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. With particular regards to the ICO’s role in call centre regulation, the ICO are responsible for enforcing regulation in respect of marketing calls through the telephone preference service.
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
The Telephone Preference Service is a free service that was setup so that individuals could register their request not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing calls. It is also possible for a business to register to theCorporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS).
The scope of the TPS and CTPS only covers live unsolicited direct marketing calls, and as a result, the following types of calls wouldn’t be covered by either service:
- Scam calls
- Debt collection call
- Threatening or nuisance calls
- Pre-recorded messages
Once a number has been registered to the TPS or CTPS, the person registering their number should expect the sales and marketing calls to cease after28 days.
On the 26th May 2011, the powers afforded to the Information Commissioners Office were significantly increased by the introduction of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment)Regulations 2011. The new powers given to the ICO allow them to impose fines of up to £500,000 for serious breaches of the legislation.
How to Avoid Contravening Legislation
New services such as TPS Compliant from Nexbridge allow call centres to operate safe in the knowledge that they will never fall foul of the ICO, on the basis that they will never call a TPS registered number. This is achieved by performing a real time look up against the TPS database on the number that is being called by the agent or dialler. If the number being dialled isn’t TPS registered, then the call will be routed as normal. However, if the number being dialled is listed on the TPS database, then the call will not be made by the system.