A cross-party committee, which included representatives from the AQRP, the MRS, ESOMAR and AURA, met mid-February to discuss the new rules and decide on a course of action. "The outcome," says Prosper Riley-Smith, the AQRP's representative, "is that the rules do not affect us as long as we follow those issued by ESOMAR and EFAMRO which have been distilled into the MRS Code of Conduct."

These protect the rights of respondents by not allowing tapes of groups to be sent out without the permission of those who took part.

The committee's next step is to appoint a representative, in the coming weeks, who will investigate the current attitude and position of the Data Protection Registrar towards market research before setting up a meeting with her.