DCA Constitution


The name of the organisation shall be the “Direct Commerce Association” (referred to in this document and constitution as “DCA”).

DCA is an independent, not-for-profit trade body supporting businesses in the direct and multichannel retail community.

DCA has previously been known as The Catalogue Exchange abbreviated to CatEx, and as CatEx Direct Commerce Association abbreviated to CatEx DCA

The Catalogue Exchange was formed as a ‘not for profit’ company in 2004 by Nigel Swabey


The DCA’s purpose is to support the improved performance of the retail organisations within its membership. Its main areas of focus shall be:

a. The sharing of knowledge, insight and best practice among DCA retailer members.

b. Ensuring DCA member organisations have a voice that that is heard at a national level on key issues affecting the industry and that members are informed on matters which may impact their businesses.

c. To provide networking and information sharing opportunities for member company personnel via the DCA’s live events and through its website

d. To offer professionally developed training courses and workshops in key disciplines across multichannel, direct and digital business management, development, marketing and operations

e. To negotiate cost-saving opportunities for DCA member companies ie: joint buying schemes and discounted services. These to be of particular advantage to smaller member businesses.


The DCA will be managed by an elected group of members known as the “Leadership Board” (LB).

The LB’s primary responsibilities shall be:

(i) Ensuring the Objectives of the DCA are being met as closely as possible.

(ii) Sourcing and coordinating the necessary paid and unpaid resources to do this.

(iii) Managing the financial wellbeing and security of the DCA.

LB Composition

The LB will be composed of:

(i) A Leader (EBL), elected from within the Retailer Membership for a three year term.

(ii) A Deputy Leader (DEBL), elected from within the Retailer Membership for a two year term.

(iii) Seven other members elected for a two year term, ensuring always:

  • a. At least one Vendor (Supplier) Member sits on the LB.
  • b. The majority of the LB is drawn from the Retailer Membership.

Electoral Process

Each member company shall be given adequate information about the candidates offering themselves for office. Each member company’s chosen representative may vote. Votes will be logged and counted by the Secretariat and verified.

Requirements and obligations of LB Membership

Before asking candidates to stand for election, DCA will clearly communicate the expectations for each role being elected. Candidates must agree in writing to the DCA Secretariat that they understand the nature and scale of the commitment they may be taking on.

Failure to meet obligation of LB Membership

Only individuals whose companies hold active DCA membership throughout their term of office are eligible to participate on the LB. Where an LB member leaves their qualifying post for whatever reason, a maximum period of three months is extended for that LB member to return into membership. This is automatic when an affected LB member takes up another appointment with a business already in active membership; or effects a new membership in their own right; or introduces a new employing business into active membership.

However the balance of the LB in terms of its make-up of retailer and supplier business representatives must be maintained. Where a LB member transfers from a retailer business to a supplier business, the LB may request a resignation and then appoint an interim LB Member from the retail membership, if it is felt one is required. The post would then be subject to election at the time of the next LB election. This applies to all executive leadership board members including the Executive Board Leader.

LB Meetings

A quorum of either the Executive Board Leader or Executive Deputy Leader plus three other LB Members is required for any LB Meeting to take place. In exceptional last minute circumstance, the Executive Board Leader or Deputy Executive Board Leader may allow a meeting to take place with fewer participants, however decisions taken at the meeting shall be ratified by a majority of the LB within one week of the meeting date, before being accepted as approved.

The LB will hold two formal meetings per annum. Meeting arrangements will be handled by the Secretariat, or, at the discretion of the Leader, by someone the Leader nominates. Meeting dates shall be (i) planned well in advance and (ii)discussed with LB Members before confirmation to maximise participation.


The LB may, at its discretion, appoint an Advisory Council Panel (ACP) to advise the LB on certain decisions or take effective action, especially in specialist areas e.g. legal matters, data management, website development.

The point of the ACP is:

(i) To allow the DCA a means to expand its team of volunteers when necessary

(ii) To widen participation of its membership in the management and the development of the DCA and its membership services. 

Advisory Council Panel members shall primarily be elected by the membership but can also be appointed by the LB for specific projects. The ACP membership term is set a maximum of two years.

The ACP is not a decision-making body for the DCA. Participation is purely at the discretion of the LB to meet the needs the LB defines. Members shall be appointed for a defined time, and membership may be extended, or not, at the discretion of the LB. Elections will take place for these posts every two years.


Membership of the organisation is available to organisations and individuals who support the aims of the DCA, on payment of the fees pertaining at the time of joining or renewal. The amount of any applicable fees for membership shall be set by the DCA Leadership Board.

Members shall join as one or other of two types:

a) Full Members – B2B and B2C product retailers

b) Associate Members and Sponsors – specialist suppliers to retailers 

The DCA’s primary purpose is to serve its Retailer Members, but the DCA also recognises the vitally important relationships that exist with the Supplier community, and the need for both elements to work closely together to develop the sector for mutual success.


The DCA’s affairs are outsourced so as to enable the volunteers who serve as the elected leadership board to focus on strategy and development. Outsourcing spans member recruitment and renewals; the issue of PR and member communications; the maintenance of the DCA website; the, development, sourcing, marketing, sales, logistics and delivery of DCA events and training courses; sponsorship sales, full administration and accounting., provision of member contact centre for enquiries, advice and referrals.

This activity is contracted to Direct Commerce Enterprises Ltd., which manages these processes within a contracted framework, employing a small team to carry out the required functions.