Chapter 5 Complaints process
An accessible complaints and investigation process is key to a robust
self-regulatory system. A great deal of the evidence received by the Committee
demonstrated concerns about the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) complaints
This chapter discusses the complaints process, including public
awareness of the process, timeliness of ASB determinations, the lack of
sanctions, and the Independent Review process.
The current advertising self-regulatory system is complaints-driven,
meaning that the ASB only investigates advertisements after a complaint has
been made. The ASB (or the Australian Association of National Advertisers) does
not pre-vet advertisements prior to their production or monitor the standard of
The ASB accepts complaints in writing via their online form, mail or
facsimile. Anonymous complaints are recorded but not accepted as formal
complaints. Complaints about alcohol
advertising are forwarded by the ASB to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code
Scheme for assessment against that code by an adjudication panel.
The ASB secretariat forwards legitimate and eligible complaints to the
Advertising Standards Board (the Board). Only one complaint is required to
launch an investigation into an advertisement. Complaints are assessed for
determination by the Board, which meets twice a month. In instances where there
is ‘significant community concern’ or a likely breach, the Board can convene by
teleconference and reach a determination in 24–48 hours.
The number of complaints for a particular advertisement is not factored
into the Board’s decision. All legitimate complaints are investigated by the
Board, even when an advertiser independently withdraws an advertisement that
has been subject to complaints.
The Board determines, by simple majority, whether a complaint breaches
any of the advertising codes, and is upheld or dismissed on that basis. The
Chair, a position that rotates between Board members, has a casting vote in the
event of a tied vote.
During the determination of a complaint, the complainants and the
advertiser are informed of the process by the ASB, and when a determination is
reached, the case report is published on the ASB’s website.
Receipt of complaints
The robustness of any complaints process must in part by determined by
public awareness of the process, accessibility to the complaints process and
trust in its independent operation. The ASB conducted a survey in 2006 to
determine community awareness of where to direct complaints about advertising
and found that only 10 per cent of the respondents could identify the Board or
This finding is corroborated by a University of Wollongong study
conducted soon after, which found that only 12.6 per cent of respondents knew of
the ASB. The authors of the study
note that ‘community awareness of the complaints body … [is] a necessary part
of the self regulation system for advertising and promotion of this should be
ongoing and widespread.’
The low rate of community awareness prompted the ASB to run an awareness
campaign in 2008 in television, radio and print media.
A subsequent survey in 2010 found that 63 per cent of respondents were aware of
Some submitters, such as Mr Richard Andrew, advise that ‘a public
awareness raising campaign needs to be run in regard to the complaints
The ASB notified the Committee that its awareness campaign would be
extended to the outdoor medium in the later part of 2011.
The Department of Health and Ageing conducted a survey of consumer
awareness of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising (and Packaging) Code (ABAC) Scheme
in 2005 and found that:
- 28 per cent of
respondents were aware that restrictions on alcohol advertising existed (up
from 20 per cent in 1994);
- 14 per cent had heard
of ABAC, but more than half of these respondents did not know what ABAC
- only 15 per cent knew
to direct complaints about alcohol advertising to the ASB or the ABAC Scheme.
There are many alternative avenues that complaints about outdoor advertising
may be directed to: the advertiser itself, the third-party outdoor media
company that is displaying the advertisement, the local council, the local
newspaper, and local and federal members of parliament.
Therefore, in light of the low level of public awareness of the ASB and
the many alternative avenues for complaints, the number of complaints that the
ASB receives may not represent the true number of complaints actually lodged.
The ASB itself does not appear to have investigated how many complaints
may be directed elsewhere. Although the ASB advises that relevant industry
bodies direct consumers to the ASB from their websites and forward on
complaints to the ASB, this process is informal.
One submission claims that a council member in Victoria received more
than 1 000 complaints about a particular outdoor advertisement.
These complaints do not show up in the ASB statistics, indicating that those
complaints were not referred on to the ASB for consideration.
The Committee notes that it is not only awareness of the complaints
process that is essential to the proper functioning of the self-regulatory
system. Members of the public must have the time, incentive and means to
translate a potential objection to an outdoor advertisement into a written complaint.
Mrs Celeste Sell told the Committee that ‘a majority of people are complaining,
but not officially. Why is that? Who has the time?’
One submission comments that:
It must be kept in mind that one formal complaint represents
many complaints which have not been formalised. Many people in today’s society
are very time-poor and will often complain to their work colleagues, friends or
neighbours but not take the time to make a formal complaint.
The Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) advises that:
It would be deceptive to use [complaint rates] as a measure
of community concern. It will not reflect, for example, widespread but
relatively low-level concern. It must also be noted that consumers can become
inured to certain kinds of advertising if these are ubiquitous, and also be
afraid of appearing to be a ‘wowser’. They might not know where to complain, or
may simply think it won’t do any good to complain.
Mrs Marion Smith told the Committee, ‘I have not tried for a long time
to make any complaint. It was really very pointless.’
Collective Shout agreed with Mrs Smith, saying that:
It is pointless to make a complaint. When they make a
complaint about an ad which, in their judgement, is inappropriate for viewing
by children because it objectifies women and is sexist, they get knocked back.
So why would they bother complaining again?
Market research conducted by the Victorian Portrayal of Women Advisory
… identified the psychology of complaints as a significant
issue. In particular the low rate of conversion from seeing something
inappropriate to wanting to complain, and then from wanting to complain, to
actually making a complaint. Of the female respondents who had seen something
inappropriate in outdoor advertising (37%), almost two in every three (62%) had
thought about complaining, but only 4% of those who thought about complaining
The Coalition on Food Advertising to Children suggests that ‘the
relatively low rate of successful complaints and the reasoning given for the
dismissals act as a deterrent for members of the public to complain’ about food
and beverage advertising.
The Alcohol Policy Coalition raised an additional concern about the
added media attention that is given to controversial complaints or determinations
which may then increase the exposure of a potentially inappropriate
From a public health perspective … we are often at the
crossroads of whether we complain about an ad and that then gives it more
notice, or we sit back and allow the ad to run its course without making that
sort of song and dance about it.
The Committee is concerned that anonymous and telephone complaints are
not investigated as formal complaints by the ASB. In contrast, the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accepts complaints by telephone,
even anonymous calls. While there is an
increased chance that anonymous complaints are vexatious, they should not
automatically be precluded from an initial investigation. The Committee does not
consider that a complaints phone line, to be an onerous one for the ASB to
In addition, the Committee appreciates that the number of complaints
about an advertisement cannot be used solely to determine its acceptability.
However, when an advertisement does elicit a disproportionately large number of
complaints, the Board should give due consideration as to whether the volume of
complaints are from a single lobby group and thus representing only one sector
of society, or whether they are a true indicator of widespread community
Recommendation 15— Advertising Standards Bureau
The Committee recommends that the Advertising Standards
Bureau amend its complaint process to also accept complaints about
advertising by telephone and email and accept and investigate anonymous
complaints. These changes should be implemented by 30 October 2011.
The Committee heard anecdotally that members of the community are not
aware of the complaints process should they have objections to outdoor
advertising. Moreover, it was evident from some of the submissions that it is
not clear to the general public that the advertising standards body is not a
The number of complaints received and considered is important in
validating the low rates of upheld decisions that the industry relies on to
demonstrate the efficacy of the self-regulation system. However, questions
about the accessibility and reach of the complaints system raise doubts as to
whether the small number of advertisements found to be breaching advertising
codes does in fact represent community satisfaction with advertising standards.
The Committee commends the ASB for running an awareness campaign in
response to poor survey results of community awareness of the complaints
process, and believes that it is timely to extend this campaign to the outdoor
media. The Committee encourages the ASB to run its awareness campaign on a
continuing cycle across all forms of media.
The Committee also considers it vital that the ASB is more proactive in
ensuring that all advertising complaints are brought to their attention by
liaising with other bodies that may have complaints directed to them, such as
advertisers, outdoor media display companies, and local, state or territory,
and federal governments.
In particular, the Committee recognises that local governments and
councils are often the recipient of complaints about advertisements in public
spaces. While not determining the content of these advertisements, in many
instances local governments are responsible for the approvals for a structure
to be erected or displayed.
The Committee suggests that the ASB undertake to present seminars on an
annual basis to the Australian Local Government Association about the
advertising complaints system to ensure effective referral of local advertising
complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
The Committee is aware that the ASB does undertake some liaison and
education roles with other agencies. However the Committee considers that the
ASB should undertake to provide to local governments and parliamentarians with more
information on appropriate advertising guidelines and complaints procedures,
especially in regard to outdoor advertising.
Recommendation 16— Advertising Standards Bureau
The Committee recommends that the Advertising Standards
Bureau establish regular nation-wide information and awareness campaigns
about the advertising complaints system across all forms of media, including
outdoor, television and print.
In particular, information on the outdoor advertising code,
once it is developed, and the complaints process should be provided to:
federal and state or territory elected representatives; and
Australian Local Government Association for distribution to local governments.
Recommendation 17— Advertising bodies
The Committee recommends that the Australian Association of
National Advertisers require its members to forward any complaints from the
public about their advertising to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
The Committee also recommends that the Outdoor Media
Association require its members to forward any complaints from the public about
their advertising displays to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
Timeliness of determinations
Timeliness in reaching determinations about complaints is another
component that is integral to the effectiveness of a complaints process. Given
that outdoor advertising occupies public spaces and continues to be viewed by a
large and unrestricted captive audience, this issue is particularly important
with regard to outdoor advertising.
The Board meets twice a month to make determinations on complaints. Time
periods for determining complaints vary, with the majority of determinations
completed within 45 calendar days and only five per cent of cases taking
between 60 and 90 days.
Within 10 business days of reaching a determination, the ASB sends a
draft case report to the advertiser, advising of their decision.
Advertisers who have had complaints upheld against their advertisements are
given an additional five working days to respond to the determination by
modifying or removing the advertisement. The complaint, the
advertiser’s response, the Board’s determination, and, where applicable, the
advertiser’s response to an upheld complaint, are published together as a case
report on the Bureau website.
The ASB claims that ‘in the vast majority of cases where Code breaches
are found, advertisers quickly ensure that their advertisement is removed or
Several submissions criticised the length of time taken to resolve
complaints about an advertising medium that generally relies on short-term
campaigns to reach a wide audience. The Pedestrian Council of Australia
But why, when it comes to the ASB, are there six weeks … when
they all know that, for most motor vehicles, 90 per cent of the campaigns are
for a maximum of four weeks, sometimes for a week, and then the ad is over? By
the time the complaint is upheld, it is pointless, so that is a farce.
Most outdoor advertisements have very short cycles and by the
time the advertisement has had the complaint lodged and acted upon, the view
cycle may be over anyway, or the advertisement may have had little time left to
run by the time it has been axed. Therefore advertisers could resort to short
runs thereby effectively avoiding being axed.
Mrs Kristen Butchatsky states in her submission that ‘once a complaint
is lodged, the length of time it takes to have an offending billboard removed
is so long it practically negates the point of complaining in the first place’.
Collective Shout cites a specific case where an advertiser did not agree
to remove an offending advertisement until the end of the season, which was
likely the original end date for that campaign, and states that:
One of our big problems is that often [advertisers] will
withdraw but, by the time the complaints process is finalised, they have
finished their campaigns anyway. It does not hurt them to withdraw, because
they were going to finish up anyway.
The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law suggests that even ‘when
complaints are upheld, advertisers are still afforded sufficient time to get
their message to a broad general audience’.
The Communications Council defends the time it takes to remove outdoor
advertisements, citing ‘logistical issues associated with removing billboard
advertisements, which in many cases requires the blocking of roads for example’.
The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) also advises that ‘it can be a
complex logistical operation to remove an advertisement at short notice’.
However, Adshel’s internal approval process notes that the receipt of
complaints will result in an advertising campaign being ‘removed from the
offending area(s) or completely within 24 hours’.
FamilyVoice Australia raises the logistical issues of removing outdoor
advertising and how this may undermine any determination:
Even after a determination is made, given the physical nature
of billboard advertising, it may take some time to remove all such
advertisements. In the AMI’s Want Longer Lasting Sex? case it was
accepted by the Board that it could take AMI up to 30 days to remove all the
relevant advertisements. Naturally thousands of people have seen the offending
advertisements before they are removed.
Mrs Claire Boyd queries in her submission why outdoor advertisements
are not removed during the complaints process: ‘Surely this is putting the
advertiser first above the community. They are still able to advertise in an
inappropriate way until the complaint is processed thereby achieving their
The Committee understands that outdoor advertisements cannot be removed
before a decision has been made about its acceptability. Equally the Committee
agrees that having a complaint upheld against an advertisement some weeks after
its installation does little to prevent its intended purpose—broad
exposure—from being achieved.
Outdoor advertising, in this regard again differs from other forms of
media, such as print and television, where advertisements can be withdrawn immediately
from air or the next print run once found to breach advertising standards.
While physical structures can take some time to remove or modify, the
OMA provides example scenarios of short deadlines that the industry appears to
be capable of meeting despite the need to physically install and uninstall
The Committee considers that the most effective means of dealing with complaint
regarding outdoor advertising that causes public concern during the
determination process is to prevent content that is likely to cause offence
from being displayed in the first place.
However it is recognised that, regardless of the most stringent codes
and best efforts of the ASB and the OMA, some outdoor advertising will be the
subject of complaints.
In recognition of the special nature of outdoor advertising, including
the growing use of electronic signage, the Committee strongly urges the Board
to ensure that its investigations and determinations are expedited. The Board
should make full use of teleconference facilities in order to provide an
immediate response where required to outdoor advertising complaints. This is of
particular importance where the advertisement is in multiple locations, near an
area where children would be expected to congregate, or of a large or imposing
form in a public space.
Sanctions for upheld complaints
The ASB advises the Committee that ‘a determination that an
advertisement breaches community standards means the immediate removal of the
advertisement and prohibits use of the advertisement in the future.’
Ms Fiona Jolly, Chief Executive Officer of the ASB, explained that if an
advertiser is reluctant to accept a Board determination against them, she first
advises them that ‘really it is in the interests of industry and of the
self-regulation system for them to do the right thing’.
An advertiser’s failure to respond will always be included in
the final case report which is made public on the Bureau’s website. This is
generally unwelcome publicity for the advertiser and for most advertisers such
publicity is a threat to brand reputation and is to be avoided. In a similar
fashion, an advertiser’s failure to respond can feature in information released
to the media which follows the relevant Standards Board meeting, and the Bureau
Chief Executive Officer will respond to all media requests with a full account
of the particulars of the case, including the timeliness of the advertiser’s
The Communications Council acknowledges that:
It is in the interests of the industry to remain in step with
prevailing community attitudes. Failure to remain in step with community
standards can result in brand damage and serious financial cost, and undermines
the confidence the community, and government, has in the self-regulatory
However, the ASB has no power to impose formal sanctions for advertisers
who do not comply with Board determinations. The ASB does have a number of
options available to them to engage others to enforce their ruling in the
- If the advertisement
breaches government regulations, the ASB can refer the case to the relevant
- If the advertisement
is on a third-party outdoor media site, the ASB can request that the Outdoor
Media Association ask their member to remove the advertisement
- If appropriate, the
ASB can refer the case to local law enforcement bodies or local councils.
Regarding upheld complaints for all types of advertising, the ASB claims
‘nearly 100 per cent compliance by industry’. Ms Jolly advised the
Committee that of 15 upheld complaints for outdoor advertisements in 2010, the
ASB had compliance problems with two of them. Neither of these
advertisements was on a third-party site.
The advertising industry claims that because self-regulation is in the
industry’s interest, advertisers will strive to adhere to the rules. The ASB
notes that ‘advertisers share a common interest in promoting consumer
confidence and respect for general standards of advertising’.
The Communications Council points out that ‘there are also substantial
costs … if they need to remove or take down a campaign’.
Furthermore, creative advertising agencies risk the loss of business if they
inappropriate content to advertisers:
… the reality is that if an agency puts up creative that is
knocked back it has a significant flow-on effect in costs for the company. And
that has a significant flow-on effect on whether the agency is used again in
the future. There have been a number of cases where major accounts have been lost,
so it has been at costs of millions of dollars to particular businesses because
they got it wrong.
However, several submissions argue that advertiser interest in ‘pushing
the envelope’ to attract attention to their brand is stronger than any negative
publicity that might arise from disregarding Board decisions. There are no
penalties arising from disregarding a Board decision, and some argued that
negative publicity may still benefit an advertiser.
The Australian Christian Lobby claims that:
… the ‘honour system’ is not working because there are no
disincentives or penalties to discourage the display of offensive outdoor
advertisements. In fact, placing an offensive advertisement, knowing that it
will offend and draw both complaints and media exposure, will have achieved its
objective of brand or product awareness.
Mrs Butchatsky argues ‘the fact that there are no penalties in place for
breaching ethical codes means there is nothing to deter companies from running
further ads in a similar vein’.
Ms Jenna Weston agrees in her submission that ‘there is no incentive for
advertisers to change their behavior, because there is no penalty for breaching
the code. This results in repeat offending’. Mrs Boyd compares the
lack of penalties to ‘speed limits without speeding fines’.
There is concern that breaches of the self-regulatory system are not
taken seriously. In their submission, Collective Shout points out that APN
Outdoor, an outdoor media display company that is a member of OMA, included in
its online gallery a Calvin Klein advertisement about which the ASB upheld
Kids Free 2B Kids (KF2BK) notes that a complaint about an advertisement
that appeared on the side of a bus was upheld by the Board, but the advertiser
simply moved the bus into storage, which is open-air and no less visible than
The advertiser then transferred the image to smaller vehicles, eliciting
complaints that were again upheld by the Board six months later. The advertiser
did not respond to the second case determination.
According to KF2BK, the offending vehicle was still on display three months
after the Board upheld the complaint: ‘The owners know the image is not allowed
in the public space—what are the penalties for continuing to ignore the ASB?’
As the ASB does not have the power to enforce its decisions, the ASB
referred this particular case to the Victorian Government to ‘take appropriate
The Australian Christian Lobby suggests that ‘a system to control rogue
elements, especially repeat offenders is necessary’.
Mr Richard Andrew suggested banning advertisers from outdoor advertising for a
period of time if they breach the codes several times in several years.
The Committee is concerned about the lack of enforcement power in the
advertising self-regulatory system, and is conscious that public confidence is
difficult to maintain when players who breach the rules are not seen to be
disadvantaged in some way.
Noting that the industry relies heavily on peer pressure and threats to
brand reputation to ensure advertiser compliance with Board rulings, the
Committee recommends that this leverage be used more strongly by the ASB.
Although the website publishes all complaint determinations, the names of
advertisers and products that have breached advertising codes are not
prominently displayed. Visitors to the website must search all case reports for
specific advertisers or time periods.
Moreover, the name of the parent company of an advertiser or product is
not always known to the general public. For example, searching for Lynx
deodorant will fail to bring up any case reports as they are filed under the
parent company Unilever Australasia. Searching for Unilever brings up all case
reports related to their products and each report needs to be downloaded individually
to identify the product and determine whether the complaint was dismissed or
The Committee notes that two of 15 outdoor advertisements that had
complaints upheld against them did not comply with the Board’s determinations.
This rate is substantially lower than the ‘nearly 100 per cent’ compliance rate
that the ASB boasts overall. In the category of outdoor advertising, the rate
of upheld complaints and in particular the two advertisers who did not comply
with the Board’s decisions are disturbing. These outdoor advertisements may
represent the repeated exposure of inappropriate content to an unrestricted
audience over a prolonged period of time. The disregard shown to the ASB by
‘rogue elements’ highlights the failure of industry peer pressure to ensure
compliance in all instances.
While recognising the seriousness of a lack of sanctions and some
compliance failure, a remedy to this is problematic. The Committee appreciates
that legislating some form of enforcement power is a strong response to the low
rates of non-compliance. Nonetheless, lack of compliance, no matter how
infrequent, is still a significant deterrent to public and governmental
approval and acceptance of self-regulation.
The Committee considers that there are many examples of consumers
wishing to exercise choice in their buying power, and the clear publication of
non-compliant brands and products may enable consumer pressure to succeed where
industry peer pressure is insufficient. The Committee recommends a ‘name and
shame’ type approach to non-compliance through publication on the ASB website.
Further, if the public and the Australian government are to have
confidence in the capacity of the industry to self-regulate, then monitoring of
compliance rates is essential and should form part of the ASB’s reporting
Recommendation 18— Advertising Standards Bureau
The Committee recommends that the Advertising Standards
Bureau address instances of advertiser non-compliance by:
a dedicated webpage, easily accessible from the Advertising Standards Bureau website,
that names advertisers, and their products, who have breached advertising
standards or refused to comply with Board determinations;
the names of non-compliant advertisers in industry newsletters and other
means of communication;
the names of non-compliant advertisers to the Outdoor Media Association and
encouraging their members to consider not accepting advertisements from them;
the names of non-compliant advertisers to the Attorney-General so that the
Attorney-General’s Department can consider legislation that would require the
naming of non-compliant advertisers in Parliament, similar to the Equal
Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999; and
annually to the Attorney-General’s Department on the non-compliance rate and
steps taken to achieve compliance.
Independent review process
The ASB introduced an independent review process in 2008 for
complainants and advertisers who object to the Board’s decisions. Requests for
a review must be lodged within 10 working days from the date of the ASB’s
notification of determination.
A fee is charged for an independent review, and the Committee was
pleased to hear that the fees have recently been reduced substantially. In
March 2011, the ASB announced that the fees for lodging a review request had
been lowered to $100 for individuals, $500 for non-profit organisations, $1 000
for advertisers who pay the ASB levy and $2 000 for advertisers who do not
pay the ASB levy. In addition, the fee will be reimbursed if the Board
subsequently changes its determination.
There are three grounds for requesting a review of a Board decision:
- new or additional
evidence which was not previously available;
- a substantial flaw in
the Board’s determination; or
- a substantial flaw in
the Board’s determination process.
At present there are two Independent Reviewers, former Federal Court
Justice Ms Deirdre O’Connor and former Australian Federal Police Commissioner
Mick Palmer. The ASB states that the role of the Independent Reviewer is to:
… assess the validity of the process followed by the Board,
or to assess any new material provided by parties to the case. The Independent
Reviewer does not provide a further merit review of a case. Their role is to
recommend whether the Board’s original determination should be confirmed or be
Thus the review is only of the decision process, rather than the decision
itself or the grounds for complaint. The ASB explains that the rationale for
this narrowly-prescribed role is that ‘it is inappropriate to set up one person
as a decision maker in place of a 20 member Board that makes determinations on
the basis of community standards’.
According to the ASB, an Independent Reviewer’s finding that the Board’s
determination should be reviewed does not necessarily mean that the Board
determination would change:
… the independent review might find that there is a flaw in
the process or that there is new evidence, so the board has to fix the process
or look at the new evidence, but fixing the process does not mean that the
board’s decision will necessarily be different.
In these instances, the Independent Reviewer may have determined that
the decision-making process was flawed or that new evidence requires
consideration. However, in re-considering the case, the Board may or may not arrive
at the same decision.
One witness complained to the Committee that independent review
decisions should be final, and that the application fee for review should be
reimbursed if the Independent Reviewer finds in the complainant’s favour.
Since the introduction of the independent review process, 12 cases have
been brought for review, six by the advertiser and six by a complainant.
In only half of these cases, the Independent Reviewer has confirmed the Board’s
decision. Of the six cases where the Board was recommended to review its
original determination, the Board reached a different determination to its
original on only one occasion.
The Committee feels that the independent review process is not well
understood by the community, and that measures need to be taken to improve
public awareness and confidence in the process. The Committee also notes that
even though the fees for lodging a request for a review have been decreased
substantially, nevertheless $100 presents a significant barrier to individuals
who may object to a Board decision.
In the Committee’s opinion, the independent review process as it
currently operates is ineffective in providing independent oversight. The role
of the Independent Reviewer could be improved significantly by formally empowering
them to confirm and monitor Board decisions.
Half of the cases for review thus far were returned to the Board to
reconsider due to faulty decision-making processes.
Although this sample is skewed, as it comprises those cases that are subject to
appeals, Independent Reviewer recommendations to review 50 per cent of the
cases suggest flaws in the integrity of the Board’s determination processes.
The Committee expresses concern that the number of appeals lodged is
low—potentially due to the cost barrier, a lack of public awareness and the 10‑day
window of opportunity. The Committee urges the ASB to review to what extent
these factors inhibit appeals and potentially undermine confidence in the
complaints and appeals processes.
The integrity of the Board’s decision-making processes should be
confirmed by the Independent Reviewer taking on the role of examining a random
sample of Board determinations. The results of such reviews, being independent
and transparent, would improve the Board’s work and inspire public confidence
in the process.
Recommendation 19— Advertising Standards Bureau
The Committee recommends that the Advertising Standards Bureau
strengthen the independent review process by:
a comprehensive explanation of the independent review process on its website
and in informational material to increase the public’s understanding of the role
of the Independent Reviewer;
the Independent Reviewer with checking a random sample of determinations
annually to assess the validity of Advertising Standards Board determinations
that have not been appealed formally; and
for 90 per cent or higher Independent Reviewer agreement with Advertising Standards
Board determination processes in the random sample.
Graham Perrett MP