The ASA has quietly published its response to Dame Janet Paraskeva's audit of their performance and signalled their acceptance of 28 out of 30 of her recommendations. So what happened to the other two? Her recommendation that the ASA should consider a change to the voting quorum to address narrow voting margins where the number of council members involved is few has been rejected, apparently because the issue only arises once or twice a year and would create undue delays. The other recommendation is that the ASA should conduct a review of good practice in independent review and appeal processes in other UK regulators and in advertising regulators in other countries and consider improvements they might make. We think that this was the most significant of all Dame Janet's recommendations and the ASA have said that they will start work on this autumn and aim to report on their findings in spring 2018. That is encouraging, as it suggests an acceptance of the need for some reform of the system and leaves enough time to conduct a thorough study, but without it being kicked into the long grass. The sense of eager anticipation is almost palpable!
In April 2017, we welcomed the publication in full of Dame Janet Paraskeva’s independent audit of our performance against our Commitment to Good Regulation. The ASA is committed to delivering high standards in its work, to continuous improvement in its approach to regulation, to listening to others and to challenging itself to evolve so it retains the confidence of those we regulate. That’s why we commissioned the independent audit. Dame Janet’s findings confirmed that the ASA is a “successful regulator” which is “fit for purpose”, is “a modern online regulator with efficient systems” and has an Independent Review process that “works efficiently”. We were pleased to note that she found that we have the support of advertisers in general, but also have in place appropriate systems and protocols that demonstrate independence from that same industry. Nevertheless, as a confident regulator that is unafraid to seek and act on feedback, we recognise we can always improve. We’ve therefore welcomed the opportunity to carefully consider and, where appropriate, respond to the 30 recommendations that Dame Janet made. We are now ready to share this work and are pleased to present our formal response to 29 of the 30 recommendations she made. You can read our responses here, and see our Commitment to Good Regulation in full.