January 13, 2020
Ofcom is proposing changes to its accreditation scheme to make sure comparison tools continue to work for customers in the digital market. Ofcom says that the new scheme will maintain the high standards of the current scheme, while allowing greater flexibility for accredited comparison tools to innovate.
The scheme will be aligned with the requirements of the new European Electronic Communication Code (2018/1972/EC), which requires Ofcom to make sure the information provided by accredited comparison tools is trustworthy, impartial and transparent. To meet these requirements, Ofcom is proposing to make changes to the criteria it uses to determine membership.
To be eligible for membership of the scheme, Ofcom proposes that comparison tools must:
- provide users with information on the quality of services they compare;
- make clear who owns them and be independent from the providers whose services are being compared, to ensure unbiased search results;
- set out clear and objective criteria on which comparisons are based;
- deliver services to a high standard and comply with relevant legislation;
- provide information that is accurate, accessible and up to date, and present that information in plain and clear language;
- show offers covering a significant proportion of the market and be open to any provider that wishes to make their products available for comparison; and
- have an effective procedure in place for users to report incorrect information.
Ofcom says that the new proposals will simplify the existing accreditation process by removing some of the more prescriptive requirements.
Ofcom is consulting on its proposals. The deadline for responses is 28 February 2020. Ofcom will consider responses to the consultation before publishing a final decision in spring 2020. From that time, Ofcom proposes to assess new applications for accreditation against the new scheme rules. It will require existing members to be compliant with the new scheme by December 2020. To access the proposals, click here.