The Freedom of Information Act gives the public a right to access information held by public authorities. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have taken legal advice, and we understand that the Act does not apply to ASA, CAP or Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP). This is because they are not classed as “public authorities”.
The Act states: “Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled – (a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request and (b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him”.
Some advertisers have raised concerns about sending confidential material to the ASA. Others have raised concerns about sharing sensitive information. Their concern was that the Act would make this material accessible to others.
Information cannot be requested from the ASA or CAP under the Act. And the ASA and CAP will not release sensitive information.
Marketers may wish to seek legal advice about the Freedom of Information Act. The Information Commissioner’s website contains useful guidance: www.ico.gov.uk.
Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA.
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