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Organisation of self-regulation

OFCOM - Office of Communication
Based in:
United Kingdom
Type of organisation:
Public regulation Authority
Geographical scope:
United Kingdom
Content-related scope:
all media
Related areas:
consumer rights,
data protection / privacy,
freedom of information,
personality rights,
youth protection

Ofcom was established as a body corporate by the Office of Communications Act 2002 and is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. Ofcom is a statutory corporation. It is required to report annually to Parliament. The Communications Act provides that Ofcom is subject to inspection by the National Audit Office, and Ofcom is accountable to the Public Accounts Committee for propriety and value for money. The Act also provides that the Secretary of State should lay Ofcom's Annual Report before Parliament.

Ofcom covers both content and infrastructure in the communications sector. These are responsibilities of separate Government departments and thus of separate Commons Select Committees who oversee those departments. There is no structured House of Lords system of oversight of Ofcom. While Ofcom is independent of Government, the Secretaries of State will answer Questions in Parliament about Ofcom.

Ofcom's Regulatory Principles

  • Ofcom will regulate with a clearly articulated and publicly reviewed annual plan, with stated policy objectives.
  • Ofcom will intervene where there is a specific statutory duty to work towards a public policy goal which markets alone cannot achieve.
  • Ofcom will operate with a bias against intervention, but with a willingness to intervene firmly, promptly and effectively where required.
  • Ofcom will strive to ensure its interventions will be evidence-based, proportionate, consistent, accountable and transparent in both deliberation and outcome.
  • Ofcom will always seek the least intrusive regulatory mechanisms to achieve its policy objectives.
  • Ofcom will research markets constantly and will aim to remain at the forefront of technological understanding.
  • Ofcom will consult widely with all relevant stakeholders and assess the impact of regulatory action before imposing regulation upon a market.

The Ofcom Members Code of Conduct is available under http://www.ofcom.org.uk/about/csg/ofcom_board/code/

Get more information from this website:

Available on the website since April 24, 2008