Effective 30 December 2016, the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’) will be responsible for recording and maintaining the Telephone Preference Service (‘TPS’) register.

The TPS is a free service offered to the public, which records a list of those individuals who have expressly opted out of receiving direct marketing materials. Marketers and other organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) are required to check the register against their internal mailing lists to ensure that they do not call numbers registered on the TPS, unless they have consent to do so.

Currently, the TPS is controlled by Ofcom, but this transfer of power to the ICO by the government is seen as a further step in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the ICO’s power to tackle nuisance calls.

As noted in an earlier blog, ‘Company bosses can no longer dodge nuisance call fines’, the government is seeking to tighten up the enforcement of laws so as to prevent nuisance calls; for example, those making (or instigating) direct marketing telephone calls must now display their Caller Line Identification when making automated or live marketing calls. Further plans include the introduction of personal liability for company directors, which is tabled for Spring 2017.

The government is sending the message that it means business when it comes to tackling nuisance calls. Thus, companies and organisations that make marketing calls should take heed and comply with the law, checking the TPS register and ensuring that their databases are up-to-date.