Nuisance calls aren't just bad for people - they can harm the vast majority of businesses that obey the rules and want to build good relationships with customers.
The minority of unscrupulous businesses must be punished, and we will continue to work with our partners, including the UK Government, on how best to do that. However, a focus of the Commission was to find ways to support businesses that want to do the right thing. This should help customers identify rogue companies that don't display good practice, and better enable regulators to focus resources on persistent offenders.
What is the Scottish Government doing to encourage better business behavior?
1. Raising awareness of the rules
As a business - particularly a small one -staying on top of all relevant regulations can be challenging. The Scottish Government will be rolling out a simpler system of business support, and we will ensure there is clear information on obeying the rules on nuisance calls. Our Commission partners SCDI will also circulate similar guidance to its extensive network of business members, and we will hold joint awareness raising sessions, aimed particularly at better ways for businesses to support vulnerable consumers.
2. Building partnerships with financial providers
The Scottish Government has already lead an extensive programme of work with financial institutions and local authorities to increase the support given to adults who are recognised as vulnerable and at risk of financial harm. However, we recognise that nuisance and scam calls are a specific risk point. We will hold a financial forum to explore what more can be done by working together to protect individuals in this area and involve local authorities, police and other agencies to build on the idea of a multi-agency approach to protecting adults who are vulnerable to harm, and to consider, amongst other things, how we can work more collaboratively.
3. Encouraging best practice
In the coming months, we will work with Scottish businesses and the Direct Marketing Association to support better behaviour. In particular, we call on businesses, and public authorities where appropriate, to:
- Become TPS Assured, so that customers know data protection and calling practices have been audited and approved;
- Implement processes to protect vulnerable customers, such as developing methods to help call centre staff identify customers who may need extra support, or building a secure database of customers who will not receive marketing calls;
- Consider the potential for new campaigns or programmes to lead to more scam calling from rogue organisations and how this might be mitigated, for example by publicising information on how customers will be legitimately contacted;
- Move from obeying the law to applying best practice, such as making it easy for customers to understand what they are consenting to when they provide data, and keeping data for finite periods.
4. Including vulnerability in the Business Pledge
The Commission identified a long term need to better protect vulnerable people. The Scottish Government's Business Pledge  is a clear indication of the business behaviours we want to encourage. We will update the Pledge to include criteria around protecting and supporting vulnerable customers. This should ensure better support in general. However, companies making marketing calls have a particular need to do this well, and the Scottish Government will make appropriate support and guidance available.
Email: Corey Reilly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House