Public Affairs

Public Affairs

ISBA represents brand owners advertising in the UK, and the Public Affairs team acts as your voice to government and Parliament.  

We work to: 

  • raise ISBA’s profile and influence policy in Government, with opposition parties, in Whitehall and in Parliament, through stakeholder engagement activity and advocacy for the interests of our members; 
  • bring ISBA’s community of brand marketers together with legislators and policymakers in collective pursuit of an advertising environment that is transparent, responsible, accountable, and trusted by parliamentarians and the public; 
  • demonstrate brand advertisers’ proactive commitment to creating positive outcomes for society and the economy; and  
  • give a single voice to advocacy for the improvement of the industry.  

We believe that this activity helps to build and increase trust in advertising and marketing and in the self- and co-regulatory system.  

Some of the political and Public Affairs resources available to ISBA members can be found on the Knowledge Hub here


Contact us

Rob Newman

Rob Newman

Director of Public Affairs
Rob Newman

Rob Newman

Director of Public Affairs

Rob leads Public Affairs for ISBA – engaging with government, Parliament, policymakers, and regulators to represent our policy positions to external audiences.

He leads our Strategic Policy Action Group, a corporate affairs forum for ISBA members; and our Influencer Marketing Working Group, which developed a Code of Conduct launched in 2021.

A former political adviser and consultant who has worked in Parliament, at think tanks and in the private sector, Rob spent 12 years working for the Labour Party in various guises – for frontbenchers and backbenchers; in government and opposition; in constituencies and in Westminster. He attended Shadow Cabinet meetings as part of its secretariat and worked in the Whips Office.

Subsequently, Rob spent over three years at Edelman, the world’s largest communications agency, supporting clients including FTSE 100 companies and multinationals in the FMCG and tech sectors on their public affairs programmes. He then ran communications and policy for the foreign affairs and defence-focused Henry Jackson Society think tank, before becoming a freelance consultant. He joined ISBA in 2019. 

Stuart Macnaughton

Stuart Macnaughtan

Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability
Stuart Macnaughton

Stuart Macnaughtan

Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability

Stuart joined ISBA in July 2021. He has worked in and around British politics for nearly 10 years, having worked in Parliament and for political campaign groups. He is a former political adviser to Chuka Umunna, providing political advice and managing his communications and press engagement during the 2017 and 2019 General Elections and the Brexit referendum. In 2019 he played a senior role in planning and launching The Independent Group of former Labour and Conservative MPs.

Prior to joining ISBA Stuart worked in public affairs at the British Business Bank, building relationships with Ministers, Whitehall, Parliament, and wider stakeholders as the Bank delivered government-backed finance to support UK businesses through the Coronavirus pandemic.


What we do

Strategic Policy Action Group

ISBA’s Strategic Policy Action Group provides our members with a public affairs and corporate communications forum for cross-cutting conversations with influential figures, commentators and politicians. The Group is open to ISBA members across disciplines and sectors who are striving to meet – and shape – the political and reputational issues confronting advertising and marketing in the UK. 

This is a forum with not only a focus on public policy, but which also takes a wider view on trends in our industry and strategic challenges. The Group would be useful to any ISBA members who have an interest in political, legislative, and regulatory developments. 

If there are topics or challenges that you would like to see covered at a future Group meeting, please contact Rob Newman, ISBA’s Director of Public Affairs.

You can find more information on recent meetings here.

HFSS and ‘Less Healthy’ Food & Drink (LHF)

From October 2025, there will be a 9pm watershed on broadcast TV/ODPS, and a total ban on paid-for online advertising, of products deemed to be ‘Less Healthy’ food and drink, or LHF.

ISBA has been working hard alongside our fellow trade bodies on these restrictions since they were first proposed. You can find out more and get the background in our Member Briefing.

We continue to advocate for government to complete the process of legislating for these changes by publishing the products in scope. We have also worked on the CAP/BCAP guidance expected later this year.

For more information please contact Rob Newman, Director of Public Affairs.

Sustainability and Green Claims in Advertising

Advertisers of all sizes, along with their advertising agencies, media owners and platforms, need to decarbonise their operations rapidly and help promote the adoption of more sustainable products and services. Advertisers, agencies, and every company in our industry share the responsibility to make this happen. 

ISBA is a signatory of the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, which include a commitment to halve emissions by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050. 

ISBA has also signed the WFA Planet Pledge, a global commitment to make marketing teams a force for positive change both internally and with the consumers who buy their products and services.

More information is available on the ISBA Knowledge Hub here.

Online Harms

ISBA has long supported policymakers’ and regulators’ ambition to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to be online. We have welcomed and encouraged the development of online harms legislation, now being progressed through Parliament with the Online Safety Bill.  

We have advocated for proportionate regulation of the major digital platforms, while recognising the imperative of protecting freedom of expression, including our members’ freedom to advertise – not least so that advertising and marketing continues to be the engine of our successful, exporting creative industries.  

There are huge opportunities inherent in the development of the digital economy, but there are also serious challenges to individual and collective safety. Meeting them is a global task and one in which the advertising and marketing industry must, and is, playing its full part.  

Advertisers, agencies, media companies, platforms and industry organisations have come together in the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) to take forward this work and improve digital safety. ISBA is a member of the GARM Steering Committee, and we have helped to develop GARM’s Brand Safety Floor and Suitability Framework

There is no place in a dynamic, competitive digital economy for content or activity that puts at risk children and the most vulnerable. Advertisers, platforms and trade bodies look forward to working in partnership with government to put in place workable rules which root out and prevent online harms.  

We continue to call on Ministers to push on with the Online Safety Bill, and submitted evidence to the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee and the DCMS Sub-Committee on Online Harms and Disinformation.

Influencer Marketing

ISBA and the Influencer Marketing Trade Body have published the Influencer Marketing Code of Conduct, aimed at raising standards and delivering transparency for consumers.

We are currently working on the fourth iteration of the Code. Brands from across ISBA’s membership, talent agencies, and influencers have agreed to adhere to the Code, and we hope that others across industry will follow suit. To find out more, please get in touch

Consultation Responses

ISBA regularly responds to Government and industry consultations to advocate for the collective interest of our members and advertising in the UK.  

Some of our consultation responses are available to our members online via the Knowledge Hub here. If you have any questions about a specific consultation, please contact Rob Newman, Director of Public Affairs.