1. ASAI is incorporated under the Companies Acts as a Company Limited by Guarantee and not having a Share Capital. There are three categories of membership – Advertiser Members, Media Members and Agency Members plus an independent Chairman appointed by the Board.
2. The Board of ASAI consists of fifteen Members – the Chairman and four Advertiser Members, four Agency Members and six Media Members. The Board is responsible for managing the business of the Authority and for drawing up and implementing the Code and reviewing and amending it from time to time. The Board is also empowered to exercise a disciplinary function over Members of ASAI.
3. The Complaints Committee of the ASAI has the following functions:
(a) To consider and adjudicate on complaints submitted by the public, by a Member, by a Government Department/Agency or by any other person or body of persons, in the light of the Code;
(b) To initiate corrective action where necessary and to issue appropriate directives;
(c) Where corrective action or a directive issued pursuant to (b) above is not complied with or is ignored, the Complaints Committee shall notify the Board in writing.
4. The Complaints Committee is appointed by the Board and comprises persons with a background in the advertising industry and others, including members nominated by the Director of Consumer Affairs. The structure of the Committee ensures that the majority of members are not employed in the advertising industry. These lay members have an interest and expertise in relevant areas such as consumer protection, child and adolescent welfare and community issues. The Committee at present comprises an independent Chairperson and thirteen members. The composition of the Complaints Committee and the participation of nominees of the Director of Consumer Affairs and other independent members ensures the objectivity of the complaint investigation procedure and provides assurance that the system is operated with special regard to the interests of consumers. The members of the Complaints Committee, each acting in an individual capacity, consider each case on its merits, taking account of the characteristics of the likely audience, the media by means of which the marketing communication is communicated, the location and context of the marketing communication, the nature of the advertised product and the nature, content and form of any associated material made available or action recommended to consumers.
5. The Chief Executive/Secretary implements the policies and decisions of the Authority, acts as Secretary to both the Board and the Complaints Committee and administers the complaints investigation service, the Copy Advice service and the monitoring of marketing communications.
6. The Board is empowered to exercise a disciplinary function over a Member of ASAI in the event that a report is made by the Complaints Committee or on receipt of notice of any allegation made against or circumstance involving a Member. The Board performs its disciplinary function at a special meeting of the Board called for that purpose. Having heard the relevant parties to the complaint, the Board makes a ruling and may in its discretion,
(a) fine the Member such sum as it considers proper,
(b) suspend the Member from all or any of the privileges of membership or
(c) expel the Member from membership of the Authority.
7. The ASAI does not receive funds directly or indirectly from any Government source. The system is financed entirely by the advertising industry. The main income source is an annual subscription from advertiser members, collected and remitted by their advertising agencies or media-buying companies by means of a levy of 0.2% (€2 per €1000) of media spend. The distribution of the cost across the industry ensures that all sectors of advertising participate in the support of the system but that none exercise any special influence over its operations. This independent status of the ASAI is a key factor in maintaining public and consumer confidence in the advertising self-regulatory system.
8. Audited accounts of the ASAI are published with the Annual Report, copies of which are available on request and on the ASAI website.