Don Foster MP*


On the day that OFCOM has announced its plans for Advertising Regulation 3 months late, Don has released new figures showing that OFCOM is over-burdening itself and others with its numerous consultations.

Main ImageNew figures on OFCOM’s consultations reveal that in its first four months of operation (and the three months of its ‘shadow’ existence) there have been:

• 43 consultations open
• 33 consultations completed
• An average of 35 responses to each consultation
• One consultation with no responses
• 10 consultations for which there were 10 or fewer responses.

Commenting Don Foster MP said:

“By launching so many consultations so soon, OFCOM is trying to run before it can walk.

“The regulatory burden is not only weighing down OFCOM, it’s also silencing important voices that need to be heard.

“Big organisations like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 might be able to spare the resources but many small citizen groups cannot.

“OFCOM is unsuitable and simply too busy to regulate all of the BBC.”


Notes to editors to follow…/

1. Don Foster MP asked the following Parliamentary question:

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the consultations launched by Ofcom since October 2003, broken down by (a) estimated cost, (b) length of consultations and (c) number of responses; and if she will make a statement. [165009]
Estelle Morris: The matter raised the responsibility of OFCOM as independent regulator. Accordingly, my officials have asked the Chief Executive of Ofcom to respond directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the Chief Executive's letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
[Official Report, 1 April 2004, Col 1565W]

OFCOM subsequently responded in a letter received today.

2. OFCOM’s response showed that:

a. For one consultation there were no responses (Proposals to give a direction applying the Electronic Communications Code to NewNet).
b. For ten consultations (including OFCOM’s proposed guidance on regional productions and regional programming) there were ten or fewer responses.

Further details available on request.

3. These figures do not include crucial independent public interest consultations, such as the Review of the BBC’s Royal Charter.

4. The Liberal Democrats do not believe that OFCOM should take over all regulatory functions of the BBC. Instead the regulation of the BBC should be carried out by Ofcom and a newly established Public Service Broadcast Regulator (PSBReg). Ofcom should act as the economic regulator for all Public Service Broadcasters and address issues such as taste and decency. PSB Reg should be responsible for the public service remit of all PSBs and any other public service programming in receipt of public funds. Membership of PSB Reg should be determined by a joint committee of both houses of Parliament.

5. Today, OFCOM announced its proposals for Advertising Regulation – 3 months late (planned publication date February 2004). They are available at:

This article published: 18/05/2023

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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