IAB UK’s consultation response to the Online Advertising Programme

Posted on Wednesday 15 June 2022 | IAB UK

Read the key points we make in our consultation response to the OAP and download the full document


The Online Advertising Programme (OAP) has been set up by the Government to review the regulatory framework of paid-for online advertising and explore whether changes are needed to bolster existing regulation. The OAP puts forward proposals that are intended to address both ‘illegal and legal harms’ arising from online advertising and include measures aimed at advertisers, intermediaries, platforms and publishers.

In March 2022, the Government launched a consultation on the OAP, which closed in early June. In short, there are three broad outcomes on the table: continuing with the current self-regulatory approach; a co-regulatory arrangement that would see a statutory regulator introduced as a backstop to some or all parts of the advertising rules; or a full statutory approach that would see a statutory regulator given rule-making, sanctioning and information-gathering powers. The eventual outcome of this process could be a mix of these three eventualities - with some aspects of regulation seeing no or limited changes and others potentially changing considerably.

Working with IAB UK members, we have submitted a response to the OAP consultation. Our response highlights where current industry systems are working and the existing industry-led standards, systems and tools that are proactively dealing with online harms where they arise. As well as strongly advocating for what is currently working, we also identify specific areas where more work is needed and put forward potential solutions that are proportionate and tailored to that specific issue. 

 

The key points we make include: 

  • We do not believe that a case for intervention has been made - in particular, the bar for full statutory intervention has not been met 
  • We recommend that Government pursues an evidence-led approach based on option 1 (briefly outlined above) focused on addressing existing and specific gaps in legislation, and identifying opportunities to bolster the existing mechanisms that allow industry to identify and disrupt harms where they occur 
  • Alongside this, we believe there needs to be a separate focus on what solutions are needed to better enforce the law against illegal and criminal actors 
  • Where gaps in the regulatory framework exist, we support a targeted response that is evidence-led, proportionate and tailored to effectively address the specific harm 

Download the full response below and read our OAP FAQs for more information on what to expect next. 

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