DMA Public Affairs: 2017 to 2018, a year in review | DMA

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DMA Public Affairs: 2017 to 2018, a year in review

It’s been a busy year for the DMA’s Public Affairs department, who’ve been helping DMA members navigate GDPR implementation and lobbying policymakers and opinion formers in Brussels hoping to achieve a more balanced ePrivacy Regulation.

Considerable work remains on the ePrivacy front but there have been success stories over the past year. The DMA continues to have the ear of Government when it comes to data and marketing.

Below is a run through of everything lobbying, law and regulations related that the DMA has been working on over 2017 to 2018.


No prizes for guessing that GDPR would be first on this list! The external affairs team has helped write the DMA’s GDPR Guidance series on the essentials, consent and legitimate interest, profiling and the principle of accountability.

DMA GDPR guidance promotes the use of legitimate interest as a legal ground for marketing where it is valid. This was only possible because of earlier DMA lobbying efforts to have direct marketing recognised as a legitimate interest. Policymakers agreed and included direct marketing as an example of a legitimate interest in recital 47 of the law.

The DMA will continue to offer GDPR advice and guidance to members as they work towards compliance with the regulation.

ePrivacy Regulation

Marketers thought they didn’t need to worry about new regulation after GDPR but they were wrong. This sloppily drafted piece of legislation may have severe unintended consequences for UK marketers. B2B marketers were in the firing line, as the new law would require them to ask for consent in all situations. A radical change.

The DMA has been vociferously lobbying in both the UK and EU to help alleviate problems with the text. DMA CEO, Chris Combemale, spoke with MEP, Marju Lauristan, who was at the time responsible for the ePrivacy brief in the EU Parliament and she stated it wasn’t the Parliament’s intention to require consent for B2B marketing. However, the Parliament didn’t introduce amendments to clear up the ambiguity. Uncertainty prevails and the DMA continues to push the EU Council to amend the text to not include B2B marketing.

See our latest letters to Government Ministers.


The issue of nuisance calls continues to be high on the agenda for Members of Parliament. Complaints about nuisance calls can be heard at most local constituency meetings and surgeries and so MP’s are always pushing for more action.

The ICO has proposed introducing £500,000 fines for rogue directors who break the rules to make nuisance calls. This new law would hold directors personally responsible and the DMA will be supporting the ICO in its consultation response regarding the legislation.

Creative Industries Sector Deal

The Government announced the creative industries sector deal, which will invest more than £150 million across the lifecycle of creative businesses. A big boost for the sector and how it is seen as a pillar of the economy.

Advertising and marketing are at the heart of the UK economy and play a vital role in driving economic growth. Annual UK exports of advertising services are worth £4.1 billion and every £1 spent on advertising returns £6 to the economy, resulting in £120 billion to UK GDP.

Part of the cash allocated for the creative industries is for skills and development. DMA Talent is aiming to boost its training schemes for young people and plug into the sector deal.


Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Whatever your view, the news is now dominated by it.

The DMA has been working to ensure that data flows in and out of the UK are not unnecessarily disrupted by Brexit. Business activity relies on data and the exchange of it between individuals and organisations. Once the UK leaves the EU it is paramount that data can be freely exchanged between the UK and EU much as it is today.

Theresa May recognised the importance of maintaining the free flow and how it was critical to both sides.

Speaking about a future deal, she said: “The UK has exceptionally high standards of data protection. We want to secure an agreement with the EU that provides the stability and confidence for EU and UK business and individuals to achieve our aims in maintaining and developing the UK’s strong trading and economic links with the EU.”

The DMA is working with its EU partners to promote and support the UK Government’s proposed bespoke data deal between the EU and UK. One that maintains the free flow of data. Europe’s various national DMA’s are supportive of the plan.

Data Protection Act 2018

2018 was the year Britain’s 20-year-old data protection legislation was updated. The Data Protection Act 2018 updated the UK’s existing data protection framework and made the GDPR UK law and ensured it will remain so even after Brexit. The UK will be aligned with the EU over data protection at least.

What next?

Brexit will continue to dominate newsrooms and marketers will still be grappling with GDPR implementation for some time yet.

Environmental questions are being asked of marketers around the use of plastics in marketing. This is likely to rise up the agenda.

Marketers will need to keep an eye on the ePrivacy Regulation and ensure they’re ready for the changes it may bring.

The DMA will continue to represent data and marketing ensuring the sector has a voice at the highest levels of politics and business.

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