The tender to run the Telephone Preference Service – worth £5m over five years – has been rebooted 18 months after the process was suspended due to concerns that the EU ePrivacy Regulation could enforce an opt-in regime for telemarketing.
The move follows a fresh delay to the ePrivacy shake-up, with many believing that the new legislation will not be passed until next year at the earliest and, following a two-year grace period, would not apply before the end of 2021.
With Brexit still up in the air, it is still not certain whether the UK will even enforce the legislation, although it will have to have something similar to achieve the data protection standards to carry on trading with EU countries.
The Information Commissioner’s Office, which took over running the TPS at the end of 2016, has now posted the tender on the Official Journal of the European Union, which is open to companies in the UK and across Europe.
According to the document, the contract for both the TPS and the Corporate TPS will run for an initial three-year period, with an option to extend it for two further one year periods.
It states: “The estimated value of the contract is based on average costs over 5 years of the existing service contract. While the duration of the concession is stated as 36 months, the contract will be for an initial term of 36 months with an option to extend for up to 2 further periods of 12 months each. The estimated total value has therefore been based on a potential 5 year contract term.”
The TPS has been run on licence by the DMA since its launch in 1998 although the industry body insists it does not profit from the scheme, even though it sells licences to companies wanting to use the service.
The company which wins the tender is likely to be forced to continue the clean-up operation started last year to remove inactive and invalid numbers from the TPS.
So far, over 3 million numbers have been deleted, although industry insiders claim there is still a long way to go, with estimates that up to 40% of numbers on the file could be still be inactive.
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