The ICO exists to empower you through information.

The Children’s code (or Age appropriate design code) is a statutory data protection code of practice for industry who can use it to design online products and services to give children better experiences and keep them safer online. The code is for online services likely to be accessed by children, such as apps, online games, social media and websites.

As part of the process of laying the code before the UK Parliament, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) made a commitment to conduct an evaluation to assess its impact one year after the end of the code’s transition phase on 2 September 2021.

The evaluation report sets out what we have learned through the process of developing and implementing the code, as well as the emerging evidence of its impact.

We’ve assessed over 50 organisations for conformance with the code and currently have 11 open investigations. We’ve also audited 10 online services. We have revised our position to clarify that adult-only services are in scope of the Children’s code if they are likely to be accessed by children and guidance will be published to support adult-only and other organisations over the coming months.

We’ve supported various countries and states around the world, including California, to show how we’ve implemented the code as they develop similar approaches, extending the benefits of the code beyond the UK to help them set up their own laws to protect children.

We welcome the recognition within the evaluation, of the success we have had implementing the code since it came into effect on 2 September 2020. Nearly half of the businesses we have surveyed feel that they are fully conforming with the code. We have laid solid foundations on which to build and share learning.

We are currently considering our medium and long term strategies which will help us to improve children’s online experiences over the next two-five years.

An industry perspective

IFF completed a three-wave survey and one to one interviews to measure awareness, understanding and impact of the code amongst businesses and industry bodies over 2021 to 2022. The results of these survey waves are presented across two reports and form part of the evaluation evidence base.

Children, parents, and teachers

The Insights Family completed a two-wave survey and focus groups to help understand awareness, effectiveness and impact of the code amongst children and parents; and with teachers a survey to help understand the use of the school resources created by the ICO amongst teachers. This research formed part of the evaluation evidence base.



Age assurance

The ICO has been working to find out more about some aspects of age assurance, to inform future work.