The Advertising Standards Authority is the independent regulator for advertising in the UK including broadcast and cinema advertising. Ofcom contracted out day-to-day responsibility to the ASA in 2004. Ofcom retains responsibility for regulating TV programme sponsorship.

The ASA regulates the industry through the UK Advertising Codes written by two industry committees:

  • The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) writes the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing

  • The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) writes the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising.

Read more about the Advertising Codes

Find out more about the ASA


Ofcom is the communications regulator for the TV and radio sectors and is accountable to Parliament under the Communications Act 2003.

Ofcom has a statutory duty to maintain standards in broadcast advertising and delivers this duty through a co-regulatory partnership with the ASA set up in 2004.

In practice, this means that the ASA is responsible on a day-to-day basis for broadcast advertising content standards. The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) writes and maintains the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, but Ofcom retains overall sign-off on major changes to the Code.

Ofcom is also responsible for dealing with complaints about TV programming and sponsorship credits on TV programmes.


Portman Group

The Portman Group is the self-regulatory body which regulates all other alcohol marketing (including the naming, packaging and promotion of products, event sponsorship and point-of-sale materials) which is primarily UK targeted and not already subject to regulation through the ASA or Ofcom.

The Portman Group does this through the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. The rules are set by the industry after open public consultation and reviewed regularly. The Portman Group administers the Code and refers complaints against the Code to an Independent Complaints Panel.

The  Portman Group Code is commended to  licensing authorities in the supplementary guidance to the Secretary of State’s Statutory Guidance under the Licensing Act 2003 and recommends that they give consideration to attaching conditions to licenses that require compliance with Retailer Alert Bulletins.