Ofcom and the ICO publish plan for tackling nuisance calls

23 March 2021

Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have today outlined a joint plan for tackling nuisance and scam calls for 2021/2022.

The ICO leads on tackling live and recorded marketing calls and nuisance text messages and emails, and is responsible for taking action against organisations that break the rules. Ofcom leads on silent and abandoned calls and works with the ICO, telecoms companies and other organisations, providing research and technical assistance as well as advice to members of the public..

Ofcom and the ICO saw complaints about nuisance calls and messages fall in 2020. However, both also noted a surge in complaints from September/October to December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

We saw an 83% increase in the number of complaints between October and December 2020 compared with the same months in 2019. Similarly, the ICO saw a 27% rise in complaints between September and December 2020 compared to the previous year.

Since 2013, Ofcom and the ICO have published joint action plans to tackle the harm  caused by nuisance calls and messages. In May 2020 we set our key areas of focus in tackling nuisance calls, including:

  • taking targeted action against people or companies that are not following the ICO’s and Ofcom’s rules;
  • raising awareness of and tackling Coronavirus (Covid-19) scams and continuing to support the work of Stop Scams UK;
  • working with telecoms companies to improve how they disrupt and prevent nuisance calls, by reviewing solutions made available to customers;.
  • working with other regulators and enforcement agencies to identifying new opportunities to prevent nuisance calls and scams; and
  • sharing intelligence with others, including international partners and enforcement agencies.

This update reports on the progress made in each of the areas over the past year.

In the year ahead, the  Ofcom and the ICO will continue to take action on these five key areas and in 2022 we will publish an update on our progress.

Ofcom also publishes advice on how to protect yourself from nuisance calls and messages, and who to complain to if you do receive them.