Two new members sought for independent alcohol complaints panel


The Portman Group has two vacancies for applicants with a public health background and a licensing background on its Independent Complaints Panel (Panel), the body that considers complaints under the Portman Group’s Code of Practice.

 The Panel is a lay panel of seven people from a wide range of backgrounds and experience. To maintain the balance and experience of Panel members of the two new vacancies one is reserved for an applicant with a public health background.  We would also welcome applicants with knowledge and understanding of how insights from behavioural science are used in a public health policy context.  The second vacancy is reserved for an applicant with legal knowledge and/or a licensing background.

Commenting on the two vacancies Jenny Watson CBE, Chairman of the Independent Complaints Panel, said:

“Having a wide range of views amongst Panel members from a diverse range of backgrounds is crucial to our ability to fairly implement the Portman Group Codes. Panel members therefore play a key role in upholding the strict standards that are set for alcohol marketing in the UK. As such, we are looking to replace our existing Panel members with public health and licensing backgrounds. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our leaving members for their service over the last six years.”

John Timothy, Chief Executive of the Portman Group, which provides the secretariat function for the Panel, said:

“Since the start of 2011, we have introduced a system of open advertising and recruitment to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of the Panel vacancies when they arise.  This is a great opportunity to be part of an independent body which has the crucial job of ruling against irresponsible alcohol marketing.”

Details of the vacancies and an information pack for candidates are available to download from the Portman Group’s website.



For more information please contact:

Press Office

William Mills: Press and External Affairs Officer

0207 290 1465 | 07850 773689|


Notes to editors:


  1. Roy Light and Professor Isabelle Szmigin are stepping down after completing their respective six year tenures.


  1. The latest rulings from the Panel can be read here and all complaint decisions made by Panel are available on the Portman Group website.


  1. The Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks applies to all pre-packaged alcoholic drinks and the promotional activities of all drinks producers. A copy of the Code may be downloaded from the Portman Group website. The Portman Group also operates the first ever UK-wide Alcohol Sponsorship Code.


  1. The Independent Complaints Panel, which hears complaints, is chaired by Jenny Watson CBE. The other members of the Panel are: Rachel Childs, Daniel Jourdan, Claire Fowler and Graeme McKenzie. More information on the Panel can be found on the Portman Group website.


5.    Since the Code was introduced in 1996, the packaging and/or marketing of over 150 drinks have been found to breach the Code. In the case of a Code breach concerning a drink’s packaging or point-of-sale material, a timetable for implementing the necessary changes – not normally exceeding three months – will be supplied in writing to the company concerned. Retailers may be notified of the decision taken by the Independent Complaints Panel and requested not to replenish stocks or point-of-sale material of any product found in breach of the Code, after the date specified by the Code Secretariat.


6.    The Portman Group provides a free and confidential advisory service for alcohol producers to check products prior to launch and seek advice on responsible alcohol marketing. Over 2000 separate advice requests have been answered since 2010.  Email:


  1. Anyone can make a complaint about the packaging or promotion of an alcoholic product, to be considered by the panel:


  • If a member of the public is the complainant then they remain anonymous throughout the process.
  • Anyone associated to the industry is required to be named as the complainant, so as to avoid any interests being undeclared.
  • Other regulators, such as the ASA and OfCom also operate on a single complaint basis.
  • Weight of complaints is not taken into account by the panel
  • The panel is a lay, independent group. and the self-regulatory system relies on complaints made to the PG and then referred to the panel.
  1. The Portman Group is the responsibility body for the alcohol industry.  It is funded by its eight member companies: AB InBev UK; Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands UK; Carlsberg UK; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Molson Coors Brewing Company UK; Pernod Ricard UK and Jägermeister UK.