PRS for Music, the U.K. collecting society for authors, composers and publishers, has launched code of practise for its customers.

It is the first time the organization has formally issued a mission statement and aims to provide a clear commitment to good service and transparent processes.

Steve Porter, outgoing chief executive of PRS for Music, tells that the code shows that the society was proactively taking steps on its dealings with customers and members before the proposals on collecting societies in the government's Digital Britain report last month.

The report proposes underpinning the operation of collecting societies with a statutory backed framework, which ensure societies follow agreed practises and act with transparency. Porter says that comes from a "recognition that as a result of the success of the collecting societies, they are reaching out to a series of customers through market penetration."

"There's a greater need to just make sure there is best practise and rules of conduct," he adds. "I don't think it's a criticism [the government proposal], in a sense I think it's a recognition of the success we've had."

Porter says the code of practise shows the society is "ahead of the curve on that one."

"We agree it's something that ought to be done, it's something we've been working on and consulting on with our customers over the last few months," he says, adding that he informed members at April's annual general meeting that they would also get a code of practise.

The society also announced the appointment of Ombudsman Services to provide an independent complaints review service, for their public performance licensing activities. The launch took place at the House of Commons in London on July 15, in front of MPs, PRS for Music members and customers.

The 12-point document takes users through a simple step-by-step guide, explaining what PRS for Music does and what customers can expect in their dealings with the society.

It was devised after a long consultation with stakeholders, including the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Beer and Pub Association, and aims to make the process of music licensing easier and clearer for U.K. businesses.

"We have listened to our customers and their representatives and we hope that the introduction of the code and an ombudsman will assure them that we are making a genuine commitment to good conduct," said PRS for Music acting chief executive Jeremy Fabinyi in a statement.

The code comes into effect from today (July 16) and is available on the PRS for Music Web site.