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5th December 2023

Portman Group appoints new Chair of Independent Complaints Panel

The Portman Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Rachel Childs as new Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP), following seven years as a serving member.

Rachel was appointed as the Panel’s first Deputy Chair in January 2022 and took over as interim Chair of the Panel in September 2023.

Her breadth of experience and commitment to alcohol regulation well equips her to lead the Independent Complaints Panel, which considers complaints brought forward on the naming, packaging, promotion and sponsorship of alcoholic drinks based on the Portman Group’s Codes of Practice.

This followed the departure of Nicola Williams in September 2023 who after a successful term stepped down from the role to focus on her wider portfolio of work as a part-time Crown Court Judge and Penguin published author.

As a former headteacher with an impressive and varied career spanning over ten years in regulation, Rachel has a wealth of experience to bring to the role. She served on the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Council between 2011 and 2019, and currently sits on the Advertising Advisory Committee, providing consumer input into the development of the CAP and BCAP codes.

Rachel also works for several regulators across a variety of industries. She is a Fitness to Practise Committee Panel Chair at the Nursing and Midwifery Council and a Lay Member of the Professional Conduct Committee at the Architects Registration Board. She also sits as a Chair and Panellist for the Independent Appeals Panel assessing Third Stage Penalty Fares Appeals.

On top of this Rachel also currently sits as Safeguarding Trustee on the board of Priors Court Foundation, a large charity near Newbury providing residential care and education for young people with complex autism.

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group said: “I am delighted to appoint Rachel as Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel following our recruitment process.

“Having sat on the panel since 2016, two years of which she spent as Deputy Chair, I know Rachel brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the role which will enable her to successfully lead the Panel as they continue to ensure irresponsible alcohol marketing is addressed as quickly and robustly as possible.”

New Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel Rachel Childs said: “I’m incredibly proud and hugely excited to have been appointed as Chair of the ICP, leading a strong and experienced Panel who are committed to making careful, considered and fair decisions on alcohol products in order to regulate the alcohol industry.

“Past decisions of the Panel have led to more than 170 irresponsible and inappropriate products either being re-branded or removed from the market, in turn driving industry changes and protecting consumers, so it is a hugely valuable role and I am looking forward to getting started.”

For more information contact:

Notes to editors

  1. Images provided
  2. A spokesperson is available for interviews upon request.
  3. The Portman Group was formed in 1989. It is the alcohol industry regulator and social responsibility body. It has over 160 Code signatories from producers, retailers and membership bodies.
  4. The Portman Group is funded by 19 member and associate member companies: Asahi UK Ltd; Aston Manor Cider; Bacardi; Beam Suntory; Brown-Forman; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; Campari; C&C; Diageo GB; Edrington UK; Heineken UK; Mark Anthony Brands International; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Molson Coors Beverage Company; Pernod Ricard UK; Punch Pubs & Co; SHS Drinks; Thatchers’; and Treasury Wine Estates.
  5. The Code of Practice for the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks was first published in 1996. In 2021, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Code. The Code seeks to ensure that alcohol is promoted in a socially responsible way, only to those aged 18 and over, and in a way that does not appeal particularly to those who are vulnerable. The Code has helped create an industry that works effectively within the context of a self-regulatory model, while encouraging design, innovation and creativity. This has been done in an effective, responsive and inexpensive way.
  • Effectively – over 170 products have been amended or removed from the market. Many hundreds more have been helped to adhere to the Code before appearing on shelves through the support of the Advisory Service;
  • Responsively – there have been five updates to the Code over 25 years responding to changes in public attitudes and expanding its reach; all without recourse to Government or Parliamentary time;
  • Inexpensively – the leading members of the industry are currently funding the model for all to be protected at no cost to the public purse.

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