The direct marketing sector finds itself with a host of new Tory ministers to schmooze following yet another shake-up of Government departments which has seen “industry champion” Baroness Neville-Rolfe switched to a different role.
The move comes just weeks after Neville-Rolfe, the then minister in charge of data protection, called for contributions in shaping the future of direct marketing regulation by declaring that she was “very much in listening mode”.
She had been in the role since July 2016 and was seen as a major ally of the DM industry. The picture of who will actually take over from her is as clear as mud. Greg Clark has become Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), whose remit includes new consumer and marketing legislation, while Matt Hancock has succeeded Ed Vaizey as Minister of State for Digital and Culture, which governs the Information Commissioner’s Office. Neville-Rolfe, who reported into BEIS, has been succeeded by Margot James, who takes up the job of Minister for Small Business, Consumers, and Corporate Responsibility.
Both Hancock and James have backgrounds in marketing, however; James worked in sales and marketing for her father’s business, MJI based in Birmingham, while Hancock worked for his father’s software company, Border Business Systems.
Dene Walsh, operations and compliance director at Verso Group, said: “Baroness Neville-Rolfe had declared she was firmly in listening mode for reform of regulation, and with so much uncertainty about the rules that will in future govern all forms of direct marketing it is to be hoped that the new minister – whoever that proves to be – comes with a similar outlook.
‘With many regulations being subject to change, this a unique opportunity to create effective regulation that works without contradiction across all media channels to protect the interests of members of the public, and allows business to operate within realistic boundaries.
“What we need is leadership that drives the creation of practical and effective regulation that gives stability by being fit for purpose with no need for change in the decade to come.”
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