The Global Voice of Mobile Entertainment

PhonePayPlus New Code Consultation

The Framework for Premium Rate Services (PRS) Regulation in the UK is set for significant change as PhonepayPlus (PpP), the UK Premium Rate Regulator, consults on its new Code of Practice (12th Code).

An Explanatory Guide to the new Code is available to assist members in understanding the consultation on the new Code.

The 12th Code is radically different from the current Code and seeks to deliver outcomes rather than prescribe how services should operate. The premise is that as long as businesses deliver these outcomes for consumers, they will be more free to design their services in a way that suits them and their customers. This makes it all the more important that the industry has a good understanding of PpP’s expectations in applying the new rules. 

Prior to issuing its full Code consultation, PpP published an Interim Consultation on its proposed Registration Scheme for Premium Rate Services  which closed on 25 May 2010. MEF's response can be found here.

To assist industry in understanding the proposals, MEF held the following events:

6 May - Webinar on the PpP Registration Scheme
19 May - Live Workshop on the new Code of Practice in London

PpP's new Code consultation closed on 8 July 2010 following a 10 week consultation period. 

PpP Consultation on supplimentary Code Guidance Notes - October 2010

On 27 October, PpP published for consultation a series of 22 draft Guidance notes which are intended to supplement the new Code of Practice (12th Code) due to come into force during 2011.

PpP’s latest consultation on the Guidance Notes shows what the Code means in practice so companies can be confident about what is required of them. The idea of the ‘new’ Guidance is to provide a consolidated source of information so providers of PRS can easily find what they need and it should also allow for a quicker response to newly-identified risks or unacceptable practices (since Guidance can be updated without the need to amend the Code of Practice itself).

Alex Haffner at SNR Denton* has now prepared a Guide covering the most important Guidance Notes for our members.

For more information on MEF’s work please contact Miranda Roberts.

*SNR is a new global law firm created through the combination of Denton Wilde Sapte and Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal.  

Background Summary

In October 2009, Ofcom, the Office of Communications, which has delegated responsibility for the regulation of the UK PRS industry to PpP, published its Statement on the Scope of PRS regulation following a review. The statement included recommendations grouped around three themes: 

  • Making sure consumers are able to make informed decisions
  • The need to provide consumers with effective redress when things go wrong; and
  • Helping providers act more responsibly and so prevent consumer harm

PpP’s own revision of its Code of Practice began in 2009, with the ultimate objectives of the Ofcom recommendations and practical implementation addressed in its pre-Consultation ‘12th Code Discussion Paper’.

In addressing its two main objectives which arise from the Ofcom recommendations, changes to the PRS Regulatory Framework industry needs to be aware of the following main areas of change:

Goal-Based Outcomes & Guidance
PpP is seeking to simplify the Code, replacing detailed provisions which prescribe how certain service types can operate with an approach to regulation which instead seeks to ensure certain outcomes to consumers.

PpP is seeking to change the way different businesses in the PRS value chain are described with the objective of ensuring that the right regulatory responsibilities sit at the right points along the value chain and that the relevant party is held accountable where appropriate and/or to enable companies to carry out due diligence, risk assessment and control on clients.

Registration Scheme
Ofcom has mandated a Registration Scheme for all parties in the PRS value chain with the objective of identifying and holding information on all PRS providers, to provide businesses with a better understanding about the regulatory risk of partnering with other providers, to allow PpP to enforce the new Code effectively and efficiently, to ensure that repeat offenders are readily identifiable and to provide consumers and providers with an effective premium rate number checking facility.

On 13 April, PpP published an Interim Consultation on a Registration Scheme for Premium Rate Services in advance of the full PpP Code Consultation. This Consultation closed on 25 May and MEF's response can be found here.

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