The Portman Group

The Portman Group is the social responsibility body and self-regulator for alcohol labelling, packaging and promotion in the UK. Our Naming and Packaging Code has over 130 Code Signatories who have signed up to support the Code from producers, retailers and membership bodies and it is funded by fourteen industry leading member companies. As the alcohol industry watchdog, we regulate the promotion and packaging of alcohol through a respected Code of Practice. The Portman Group also operates the first ever UK-wide Alcohol Sponsorship Code.

The Independent Complaints Panel

The Portman Group operates an open and accessible complaints system allowing anyone to make a complaint against any product, promotion or alcohol sponsorship that they consider is in breach of the Codes of Practice. It is not the role of the Portman Group to decide whether a product/promotion/sponsorship agreement is in breach of the Codes. All complaints are considered by an Independent Complaints Panel (Panel), currently chaired by Nicola Williams.

Members of the Panel represent a diverse range of backgrounds and experience in order to provide perspectives across society. The Panel’s role is to weigh up the arguments put forward by the complainant and the drinks producer; to evaluate these against the rules of the Code; and to decide whether the Code rules have been breached. All Panel decisions are published and effective sanctions are in place to ensure that these decisions are enforced. The Panel is a company limited by guarantee.

Positions vacant

We are seeking two new Panel members to replace two members whose terms of appointment will be coming to end.

In order to keep a balance of expertise and experience, we are particularly interested in applicants with alcohol industry experience; an applicant who is or was directly employed by alcoholic drinks producer or has sound knowledge of the UK alcohol self-regulatory marketing framework.

Panel members are required to have sound judgement; good communication and listening skills; a reasonable awareness of alcohol issues; a balanced view of alcohol’s role in society; and to be genuinely independent and objective in their thought and approach.  To ensure that the Panel is diverse we welcome applications from anyone who believes they would enjoy the role, there is no required level of experience, and we encourage applications from anyone over the age of 18 who meets the above criteria.


No Panel member or their immediate family may be employed by The Portman Group, any of its full member companies or Drinkaware.

Commitment required

The Independent Complaints Panel meets a minimum of six times per year.  These posts will be active from 1 March 2023. The relevant meetings dates for 2023 are:

16 March

11 May

6 July

28 September

30 November

The meetings usually take place in central London (typically London Victoria) subject to any Covid restrictions that may apply.  Meetings usually fall on a Thursday and run from 12:30 – 15:30. A sandwich lunch is provided. Prior permission for absenteeism from Panel meetings must be gained from the Chair.

As a member of the Independent Complaints Panel, you agree to be a Director of the limited company; and, your directorship will be notified to Companies House.

You also agree to sign a non-disclosure agreement meaning that any information the Portman Group shares with you is confidential and you agree not to disclose or share this information with anyone else without first gaining permission from either the Portman Group or the Panel Chair.

Duration of term

The successful candidate will be appointed to serve a three or two-year term depending on the needs of the Panel.  Panel members may be re-appointed for an additional term at the discretion of the Chair. No Panel member shall serve more than six years in total.


There is initial induction training for new Panel members.


Panel members are paid an honorarium of £4000 per annum plus the reimbursement of reasonable expenses.


Panel membership represents a diversity of background and experience.  We welcome candidates of any gender, race, religion and people with disabilities and those who live or work in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.  Indeed, we welcome all candidates who are aged 18 and over and are able to devote the necessary time to the work.

Power of appointment

Appointments to the Panel are made by the Chair and the Portman Group following an open recruitment process.  In choosing Panel members, the Chair aims to achieve a complement of skills and background.    All members of the Panel are different and bring differing experience, knowledge and abilities.

The decision on appointments is final and no correspondence will be entered into once the decision is made.

Role Requirements

  • Analytical skills and judgement

Candidates should be able to demonstrate experience in analysing arguments and exercising sound judgement.

  • Communication and listening skills

Candidates should be able to put a case persuasively in a small meeting, while taking on board the perspective of others.

  • Awareness of alcohol issues

Candidates should be able to demonstrate reasonable awareness and understanding of current issues of concern about alcohol.

  • Balanced viewpoint

Candidates should have a balanced view of alcohol’s role in society and should not have any strong leaning or vested interest that might be perceived to prejudice their decision-making.

  • Independent thinking

Candidates should be genuinely independent and objective in their thought and approach.

How to apply

Candidates should enclose a CV along with a covering letter explaining clearly how they meet the requirements of this role (above) and send this by e-mail to

Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Applications must be received by Friday 2 December by 5pm.

Interviews with shortlisted candidates will be scheduled for 16, 18, 20 January 2023.

Further Information – The Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks

The Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks has been in operation since 1996. The sixth edition of the Code came into effect on 23 September 2019 following a wide-ranging review and extensive consultation period.

The Portman Group is one of three regulatory bodies that control the standards of alcohol marketing in the UK.  These three bodies effectively cover all alcohol marketing. The Code applies to the naming, packaging, marketing and promotional activity undertaken by a drinks producer for an alcoholic drink which is marketed for sale and consumption in the UK, and is not already subject to regulation through the ASA or Ofcom. This ensures consistent and seamless self-regulation across alcohol marketing.

The alcoholic drinks industry is committed to promoting its products in a socially responsible manner, only to those aged 18 and over and in a way that does not appeal particularly to those who are vulnerable.  The Portman Group has more than 160 Code signatories including producers, retailers and membership bodies. The Group is funded by seventeen member companies: Asahi UK Ltd; Aston Manor Cider; Bacardi; Brown-Forman; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; Campari; C&C Group; Diageo GB; Edrington UK, Heineken UK; Mark Anthony Brands International; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Molson Coors Beverage Company; Pernod Ricard UK, SHS Drinks Thatchers Cider and Treasury Wine Estates.

The Code prohibits the marketing of alcoholic drinks to under-18s; the alcohol content of a drink must be communicated with absolute clarity; a product’s higher alcoholic strength must not be given undue emphasis; products must not encourage irresponsible or immoderate consumption; products must not encourage rapid or down-in-one drinking; there must be no association with illegal drugs, bravado, aggression or anti-social or illegal behaviour; products must not suggest any association with sexual activity or sexual success; products must not cause serious or widespread offence.

The Portman Group’s Code of Practice Alcohol Sponsorship

In January 2014, The Portman Group launched the first ever UK-wide Sponsorship Code which commits producers to promote responsible drinking and/or support diversionary activities as part of their sponsorship agreement. This can be in the form of bar staff training and investment in grassroots sport.