Calls for supply chain ombudsman

Magazine publishers are proposing that an ombudsman should be brought in to regulate the supply chain and prevent the closure of thousands of smaller independent newsagents, writes Ruth Addicott.

The Periodical Publishers Association announced the proposals this week in response to changes in the competition law on 1 May next year – which it claims pose a threat to two-thirds of the UK’s independent retailers.

The PPA’s “New Deal for Retailers” suggests the ombudsman should head up a new body called the News Industry Service Standards Authority (NISSA). The body would be jointly funded by publishers, wholesalers and retailers. It has been modelled on the Advertising Standards Authority and the Press Complaints Commission.

NISSA’s brief would be to set standards throughout the supply chain, with league tables and performance indicators to measure timeliness and the accuracy of deliveries. The aim is to make the body transparent in its monitoring and complaints handling.

It is proposed that the new structure would come into effect on 1 January 2005.

PPA chief executive, Ian Locks, said: “Independent retailers must be saved from potential closure as a result of the effects of the government changes… We have regulatory bodies for advertising and editorial and it makes sense to extend these robust and tested principles to the newspaper and magazine supply chain.”

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