Changes to the powers of the Advertising Standards Authority

From 1st March 2011, the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) is able to take action against companies which publish misleading claims on their own websites and any other spaces they control, for example on social media websites.

Prior to March 2011, the ASA was only able to monitor paid for space. This extension of power is intended to bring enhanced consumer protection and ensure “legal, decent, honest and truthful” advertising.

So what does this mean for you? You should ensure that your own websites do not contain information which is misleading, harmful or offensive, and ensure that any adverts placed on any other space are restricted in the same way. Failure to do this could lead to an ASA investigation, resulting in the advert being taken down and potentially, some of your trading privileges could be withdrawn and future adverts monitored.

A further point to note is that in line with the October 2010 changes to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, the Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) Code has been amended. Instead of the requirement that you stipulate if you are acting as an employment agency or employment business when advertising vacancies, you must now stipulate if the role is temporary or permanent.