Ad industry joint statement on Online Advertising Taskforce Action Plan

A joint statement from the IPA, Advertising Association, IAB UK and ISBA

IPA Director General Paul Bainsfair has issued a joint statement alongside Advertising Association Chief Executive, Stephen Woodford, IAB UK Chief Executive, Jon Mew and ISBA Director General Phil Smith regarding the recently announced Online Advertising Taskforce Action Plan.

Effectively addressing illegal advertising, such as scam ads, and increasing the protection of children requires a united approach and meaningful collaboration between industry bodies and the Government. It’s not something that any one of us can do alone. This is why the Online Advertising Taskforce has been created and it’s that shared focus that has informed the Action Plan released today, which sets out both to improve the evidence of in-scope harms and enhance existing initiatives to tackle them.

Together with our respective members, we - the Advertising Association, IAB UK, IPA and ISBA - are all working to improve the advertising landscape. However, the Action Plan is the first time that we are taking a coordinated approach to further establish and evolve these projects - such as the IAB Gold Standard, or ISBA’s Influencer Marketing Code of Conduct - and to make best practice a must-have, rather than a nice-to-have. The input and support of our members is essential to deliver this. In short, we all have a part to play. Positive progress here will also support our industry’s wider efforts to improve public trust in advertising, which we all have a vested interest in. 

We urge all businesses across the supply chain to read the Action Plan and engage with us over the coming months to make the most of this opportunity to strengthen our network of industry-led regulation. In parallel, the Advertising Standards Authority has just launched its new 5-year strategy focused on preventing irresponsible ads and enforcement of existing advertising rules, including through mechanisms developed with platforms and intermediaries.

We will continue to work with government on the Online Advertising Programme as it develops legislative proposals for consultation. It is essential that decisions on potential regulatory interventions are informed by robust evidence about where and how harmful ads are appearing and that solutions are targeted and proportionate.

Commenting on the plans, Richard Lindsay, Director of Legal & Public Affairs, IPA, said:

"It says much about our industry that the key trade bodies representing its constituent parts have been able to collaborate with each other, and with government, on the Online Advertising Taskforce and produce an Action Plan that we all hope will drive improvements across the sector.

"As explained in our joint statement, the focus of the Action Plan is on tackling illegal ads and on protecting children from seeing ads for products that can’t lawfully be sold to them. We aim to achieve these goals through two objectives: (i) understanding and improving the evidence around these in-scope harms; and (ii) looking for ways to improve existing voluntary initiatives to tackle the in-scope harms, and considering developing new initiatives where necessary.

Our industry has a highly successful self-regulatory system, overseen by the ASA, which already does so much in respect of online advertising compliance. The role of this Taskforce and the Action Plan is to add further improvements in order to tackle those areas which the government considers of highest priority.

Richard Lindsay, Director of Legal & Public Affairs, IPA

"The importance of this initiative extends across the industry, including IPA members, and we will support them in their continuing efforts to effect relevant, meaningful changes wherever possible. Hopefully, by doing so, we and our fellow trade bodies will succeed in better protecting the public, improving trust and enabling the online advertising industry to grow and thrive."

Online Advertising Taskforce action plan


Last updated 01 May 2024