The Portman Group launches review of its Code of Practice

The Portman Group has announced the fifth major review of its Code of Practice to “shape the future of alcohol regulation” in the UK, and it is urging anyone with a view on alcohol marketing to get involved.

The watchdog is calling on the industry to respond to the public consultation that will run for 10 weeks with the aim of addressing a number of key issues relating to alcohol regulations.

Some of the issues being raised by the review include whether the Code needs to be amended to protect those that are socially of mentally vulnerable; whether the Code should be strengthened to prohibit direct or indirect links with alcohol and illegal activity; and the proposal that the Code should introduce a new rule with supporting guidance to address serious and widespread offence, such as sexism in marketing.

Other issues include “Defining immoderate consumption – establishing a new and credible definition for assessing complains about irresponsible sampling promotions or packaging such as single-serve, non-resealable containers”; and “Changes in mood or behaviour – giving the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) further powers to rule against implications that alcohol consumption will ‘improve’ mental/ physical capabilities”.

John Timothy, chief executive of the Portman Group, said: “This is a great opportunity to shape the future of alcohol regulation and I urge anyone with a view on alcohol marketing to get involved. We have one of the strongest and most effective systems of self-regulation in the UK and we want to keep it that way. By asking challenging and ambitious questions now we can ensure the Code provides the right balance between maintaining the highest standards or responsible marketing and allowing producers the freedom to create great brands and campaigns which are so important to the UK’s economy.”

This will be the fifth review of the Portman Group Code since it was first introduced in 1996 and it will result in the introduction of the sixth edition of the Code in Spring 2019.Since the Code was first introduced the packaging and/ or marketing of more than 150 drinks have been found to be in breach of the Code.

The consultation is available to download from the Portman Group’s website.

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