NEWS5 July 2017

MRS reissues sugging advice in wake of Tory probe

News Privacy Public Sector UK

UK – Following the Channel 4’s investigation into the Conservative party’s use of a call centre claiming to be a market research agency when contacting the public, the MRS has reminded the public to report these types of calls.

Woman in call centre wearing ear phone device for calling

The Channel 4 report was based on the findings of its undercover reporter who worked at Blue Telecoms in South Wales. It found that the centre’s staff were calling people and asking how they had previously voted, saying it was on behalf of an independent market research company, Axe Research.

The MRS has written to the Conservatives to inform them that if the actions are verified, they would be in breach of its Code of Conduct. MRS would then be obliged to refer the issue to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

MRS has been working with the ICO for a number of years to address the growing prevalence of traders and organisations using the guise of research as a means of generating sales (sugging) or fundraising (frugging).  In most cases, the respondent is unaware of the reason that his or her information is being used and how it will be stored and shared.  

All accredited market research companies are required to identify themselves to participants when conducting research.  Members of the public can check whether a company is accredited by MRS in the MRS Research Buyers Guide online.

To make a report, the general public can call 0800 975 9955 or email