Portman Group: new report marks 25 years of compliance

Portman Group report

Alcohol marketing watchdog the Portman Group has published a new report to mark the 25th anniversary of its Code of Practice.

The report, which looks at the period 2018 to 2020, showcases a 95% compliance to the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks, an increase from 92% in 2012, and details the organisation’s activities during the last three years of regulation of the alcohol industry.

The report also covers the development of the sixth edition of the Code that includes details on updated guidance and new rules covering the explicit protection of the vulnerable and prevention of serious or widespread offence.

The Portman Group CEO Matt Lambert said: “This shows a strong record of effective regulatory performance over the past three years. The industry’s high level of compliance with our ever-evolving code enables us to fly the flag for a responsible alcohol industry with the public and the Government. At a time when politicians in neighbouring nations are increasingly turning their attention to introducing statutory restrictions on alcohol marketing, the sector’s support and adherence to the Code helps us safe-guard effective and appropriate self-regulation for the sector.”

During the three-year period, the Portman Group has also welcomed a new Independent Complaints Panel Chair and audited the market’s adherence to the rules.

The Panel reviewed 43 complaints with 25 upheld. The rule under which most complaints were brought was ‘particular appeal to under-18s)’. Eight of the 25 complaints brought under this rule were upheld, representing 58% of the Panel’s decisions.

Complaints concerning ‘association bravado, or with violent, aggressive, dangerous, anti-social or illegal behaviour)’ accounted for the second highest number of complaints with 11 in total, followed by encouragement of ‘illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption’ which garnered eight complaints.

The Portman Group issued four Retailer Alert Bulletins – the most serious sanction against a product which has breached the Code – over the last three years. These request that retailers cease stocking the product.

The report also acknowledges the challenges faced by the sector and the Portman Group as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Regulation, as ever, has remained steady and firm in the face of crisis, with Panel meetings and advice sessions swiftly becoming virtual.