Advertising Minister Julia Lopez: We will continue to engage the industry on the OAP

Posted on Friday 24 March 2023 | IAB UK

Launched last year, the Online Advertising Programme (OAP) is being run by DCMS and is reviewing the entire regulatory framework for online advertising in the UK. Here’s an update on where it’s at

The Government’s initial consultation on the OAP ran between March and June 2022, and IAB UK submitted a response to make the industry’s case for why the programme needs to bring coherence and alignment to policy and regulation for digital advertising. You can find our full response here, but in short our key points were: 

  • Government should support and bolster effective industry-led regulation, such as the Gold Standard
  • The OAP is an opportunity for the Government to work with industry to design and develop a modern digital-first regulatory framework
  • Proposals for more regulation should be evidence- based and focused on targeting specific harms (such as fraudulent advertising) 
  • A priority should be targeting the bad actors that look to use advertising as a vector to commit crime and cause harm - this is something that self-regulation can’t solve and needs to be addressed via a combination of industry efforts and law enforcement 

The Government is yet to respond to the consultation. However, in a significant development, we have succeeded in having a Parliamentary Question tabled on our behalf by Caroline Dinenage MP, prompting an on-the-record response from DCMS on the OAP.

Dinenage asked Julia Lopez MP, the Minister responsible for online advertising at DCMS, what steps her Department is taking to help (a) support the online advertising industry and (b) hold discussions with the industry on designing outcomes for the Online Advertising Programme further to the formal consultation that has already taken place.

Lopez’s response confirmed that DCMS’s response will “ensure the new reforms planned through the Online Advertising Programme (OAP) are proportionate and coherent”. She added that “we will continue to engage the industry” and that “increasing transparency and accountability whilst preserving the current system where it is working will help us drive innovation and sustainable growth in the online advertising market.” Read her full response here.  

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