Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards (B&STS) has been appointed by National Trading Standards to act as the legal backstop of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The move means that the ASA will refer businesses and individuals who continue to break the rules on misleading non-broadcast advertising to B&STS, which can apply a range of legal enforcement powers to bring them into line.
Under the ASA’s backstop power arrangement, any advertiser that persists in breaking the rules through misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair non-broadcast advertising can face referral. Trading Standards can consider taking action against advertisers under consumer and business protection laws.
ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker commented: “We’re delighted to establish this new working relationship with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards. They are fully committed to our partnership and acting on our referrals to bring problem advertisers into line.
“We look forward to taking a joined-up approach with them in protecting consumers and business from misleading and unfair advertising.”
Steve Ruddy, Head of Service Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, said: “This scheme has proven to be an effective and efficient method of protecting the public and upholding good standards of advertising practice.
“Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards are delighted to be selected to support the ASA by acting as the legal backstop to continue to maintain a robust system to protect consumers and businesses.”
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: “We have a strong relationship with Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards and we look forward to working with them to ensure that the backstop continues to succeed in its objective of bringing those who persistently flout advertising law into compliance.
“In addition, should it be relevant, NTS can ask one if its other specialist teams (eg the NTS Estate Agency Team) to deal with an ASA compliance issue if that is the best solution”
The backstop power has transferred to Buckinghamshire and Surrey following changes to Regulatory Services at Camden Trading Standards, who previously fulfilled the role.
The ASA also has partnerships in place with a range of other regulatory bodies, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, Gambling Commission and Financial Conduct Authority.