Frequently asked questions

 

The organisation and its role

Q: Why has RICA been set up?

  • RICA has been set up to become a single brand and external voice for the market and social research industry in Australia

A: RICA has been set up to communicate to:

  • The business and government client community
  • Government and regulatory bodies
  • Students/potential employees and academics
  • The media
  • The general public

General information on market and social research:

  • Market and social research provides accurate and timely information on the needs, attitudes and motivations of a population:
  • It plays a vital social role, assisting governments and businesses to develop services, policies, and products that are responsive to an identified need.
  • It contributes to Australia’s economic wellbeing, by ensuring that organisational responses to these needs are relevant and properly targeted.
  • Consumers of market and social research include State and Federal government agencies, companies and non-government organisations – in fact, any organisation that needs to better understand the community, trends of any kind or its own customers will use research.
  • Research projects educate the response of decision makers to a range of important issues, including planning for major transport and infrastructure projects, responses to climate change, taxation policy and many other areas.
  • Market and social research is not marketing and cannot be used to “push” a product or service:
  • Under the Trade Practices Act and the Privacy Act, it is illegal to pretend to be doing market or social research if the real purpose of the call is to sell something.
  • The market and social research industry operates under strict, government-approved codes of conduct that ensure ethical behaviour and professional standards are upheld. Complaints can be investigated and sanctions applied by AMSRO and AMSRS.

Q: Why now?

  • AMSRS and AMSRO have been working closely together for the past few years on projects that are mutually beneficial.

Q: Why is it needed?

  • There are two peak bodies in the industry and it is less confusing  for public/ media and external stakeholders if we speak with a single voice

Q: How long has this been planned for?

  • We have been working in co-operation for the past 2 years

Q: Does this mean that Australian Market Social Research Society and the Association of Market and Social Research Organisations will be winding up in the future?

  • No – each of these peak bodies have their own members to serve and strategic objectives to achieve.
  • AMSRO is the peak body for Australia’s market and social research companies, with 100 members representing about 80 per cent of total employment in the industry.
  • AMSRS is the industry’s professional membership body that represents over 2,100 individual research professionals in Australia.
  • The two bodies promote high quality, professional research and ethical standards through compliance with strict, government-approved codes of conduct.

Q: What have been the problems with having two separate organisations representing employer organisations and individual researchers?

  • We want to work together to enhance the reputation of market and social research – we can communicate more effectively to external stakeholders such as the general public, government and the media if we work togethe
  • Together AMSRS and AMSRO promote:
    • High quality research methodologies
    • Stringent ethical standards
    • Professional development and training for market research practitioners

Q: How will the three organisations work together? What will be the cross over?

  • There will be no cross-over.
  • RICA will look after the following issues for the market and social research industry:
    • PR and communications
    • Government relations
    • Professional standards
    • Research Industry Awards
    • Higher education partnership with University of Wollongong
    • Client Advisory Board

Q: What do you hope RICA to achieve over the next 12 months?

  • Increase the general understanding of market and social research and its benefits for the community.
  • Enhance the reputation of the market and social research profession and industry

Q: What can members of the public who take part in research expect from RICA?

  • Market and social research is built on professional standards, including quality assurance, ethics and professional development. Buyers and users of market and social research want a good understanding of professional standards and understand what to expect in the research that they buy or use. At the same time, people who participate in research need assurance that researchers are committed to protecting their interests, especially their privacy.
  • AMSRO and AMSRS are strongly committed to working to uphold the standards for excellence in professional behaviour in market research within Australia. There are standards applying to both companies and individuals.
  • The RICA website will be a source of information for the public about research and its importance in our society and what rules and regulations govern researchers.

Q: Who represents the interests of the Australian public who take part in research?

  • Both of the peak bodies – the AMSRS and AMSRO and their members –have the interests of the general public at heart.
  • Respondents are the industry’s lifeblood and it is in all out interests to ensure their experience of participating in research is a positive one.

Membership and Funding

Q: Who is the President of RICA?

  • There is no President of the Research Industry Council of Australia.
  • The two peak bodies, AMSRS and AMSRO, work together with equal representation of their Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Executive Directors.
  • Work together on a co-operative basis and make decisions that are consensual
  • RICA is funded from each organisation
  • It is not a membership body but a representative Council

Q: How is he/she elected?

  • RICA is not a membership body but a representative Council for the market and social research industry
  • There is no President of RICA but joint representation from both the industry peak bodies – AMSRS and AMSRO.

Q: How will the two Presidents work together?

  • The Research Industry Council is made up of the Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Executive Directors of AMSRS and AMSRO
  • They will meet regularly throughout the year to represent the industry on a number of issues that will mutually benefit both organisations and their members.

Q: How is RICA funded?

  • RICA is jointly funded by AMSRS and AMSRO

Q: Who does RICA represent?

  • RICA is represents the members of AMSRS and AMSRO

Q: Who can be members of RICA?

  • RICA is not a membership body but a representative Council for the market and social research industry

Q: How much does it cost to be a member of RICA?

  • RICA is not a membership body but a representative Council for the market and social research industry

About the industry

Q: How much is the research industry worth in Australia?

  • The critical decisions of governments and business in this country rely on the Australian market and social research industry being able to gather statistically valid, representative, samples from the population.
  • Market and social research provides information on the needs, attitudes and motivations of a population.
  • It plays a vital role in assisting governments and businesses develop policies that respond to community sentiment and opinion by polling representative samples.
  • The size of the total industry in Australia for 2008 is AUD $799.5 million. It employs more than 10,000 full time equivalents in Australia, including 4,100 full time professionals.
  • The Australian Government is the biggest client of market and social research.

Q: What are the biggest threats facing the industry?

Mobile phone calling

  • Current restrictions on calling mobiles are an impediment to collecting representative data.
  • In June 2006, 82 per cent of persons aged 14 years and over in Australia used a mobile phone (according to ABS). Note that between 10-15 per cent of households in Australia may be mobile phone-only households (more when you include households that have a landline but only use mobiles). This figure will only increase as mobile-usage rates increase.
  • The trend for people to favour mobile phones over landlines means legislation is not geared to keep pace with technological and demographic change.
    • Falling response rates
    • The spread of social media and the use of online research methodologies provide opportunities for the industry but also represent potential threats if mis-used and is an area that we are monitoring closely

 

Q: What regulations are there in the industry?

  • The Australian market and social research industry has an effective regime of self-regulation underpinned by a range of individual and company standards.
  • Individual standards (AMSRS) include:
    • The AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour.
    • The Qualified Practicing Market Researcher scheme (QPMR).
    • Company standards (AMSRO) include:
    • The Australian Standard for Market, Opinion and Social Research (AS ISO 20252-2007).
    • The Quality Standard for Online Access Panels (QSOAP).
    • Market & Social Research Privacy Principles (M&SRPPs), an approved industry code under the Privacy Act (C’wth).
  • AMSRO and AMSRS require that members comply with relevant codes and standards as a condition of membership. Non-compliance results in withdrawal of membership and severely limits the ability to work, especially for government.
  • We are committed to upholding our codes and standards and our track record is one of working closely with the Government and regulators to ensure that industry adheres to the relevant law, guidelines and industry standards.

Q: Is self-regulation strong enough?

  • AMSRO and AMSRS require that members comply with relevant codes and standards as a condition of membership. Non-compliance results in withdrawal of membership and severely limits the ability to work, especially for government.
  • We are committed to upholding our codes and standards and our track record is one of working closely with the Government and regulators to ensure that industry adheres to the relevant law, guidelines and industry standards.
  • Since 31 May 2007, 169 out of a total of 32,756 complaints were forwarded to ACMA regarding calls from companies possibly identified as market researchers. This represents 0.5 per cent. We believe that the vast majority of these 169 cases did not in fact involve any breach of the Standard.

Q: What new trends are evolving in the industry?

  • Mobile phone calling
  • Collecting data via SMS
  • Collecting data through the use of social media

Copyright © 2015 RICA     EMAIL: info@rica.com.au