Why is the ICO publishing this document?
The ICO is required under the Data Protection Act 2018 to publish a statutory code of practice on direct marketing, so this is the ICO delivering on that requirement. It draws on the feedback from the call for views undertaken last year. As a statutory code, once finalised, it will need to be presented to government for review and sign off.
There is already an existing Direct Marketing Code which has long been one of the most well-read and useful codes of practice the ICO has produced and is regularly consulted by data protection and marketing teams alike for guidance on email, post and SMS marketing rules. The code contains key information and pointers given that fines for breaches of direct marketing rules remain the most frequent we see. However, this code is outdated and required updating in light of changes around GDPR and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, as well as to adapt to new technologies and marketing techniques.