(c) Wales, and
(d) Northern Ireland,
there is a different member of the Panel capable of representing the interests
and opinions of persons living in that part of the United Kingdom.
(4) In appointing persons to be members of the Consumer Panel, OFCOM must
secure, so far as practicable, that the Panel are able to give informed advice
about matters referable to each of the following—
(a) the interests of persons living in rural areas;
(b) the interests of persons living in urban areas;
(c) the interests of small businesses;
(d) the interests of disadvantaged persons, persons with low incomes and
persons with disabilities; and
(e) the interests of the elderly.
(5) The validity of any proceedings of the Consumer Panel shall not be affected by
any failure by OFCOM to comply with subsection (3) or (4).
(6) It shall be the duty of the Consumer Panel, in carrying out their functions, to
have regard to the following interests—
(a) the interests of persons from the different parts of the United Kingdom;
(b) the interests specified in subsection (4).
(7) A person shall be disqualified from being the chairman or a member of the
Consumer Panel if he is a member or employee of OFCOM.
(8) The chairman and every member of the Consumer Panel—
(a) shall be appointed for a fixed period specified in the terms of his
appointment but shall be eligible for re-appointment at the end of that
(b) may at any time be removed from the Panel by a notice given by
OFCOM with the approval of the Secretary of State.
(9) OFCOM may pay to the chairman and to any other member of the Consumer
Panel such remuneration and allowances as OFCOM consider appropriate.
17 Committees and other procedure of the Consumer Panel
(1) The Consumer Panel may make such arrangements as they think fit for
committees established by the Panel to give advice to them about matters
relating to the carrying out of the Panel’s functions.
(2) The Consumer Panel may make such other arrangements for regulating their
own procedure, and for regulating the procedure of the committees
established by them, as they think fit.
(3) Those arrangements may include arrangements as to quorums and as to the
making of decisions by a majority.
(4) The committees established by the Panel may include committees the
membership of which includes persons (including persons constituting a
majority of the committee) who are not members of the Panel.
(5) The membership of every committee established by the Consumer Panel must
contain at least one person who is a member of the Panel.
(6) Where a person who is not a member of the Consumer Panel is a member of a
committee established by the Panel, OFCOM may pay to that person such
remuneration and expenses as OFCOM may determine.
18 Power to amend remit of Consumer Panel
(1) The Secretary of State may by order modify subsection (3) of section 15 so as to
add to the matters about which the Consumer Panel are required to be able to
(2) Before making an order under this section the Secretary of State must consult
OFCOM and such other persons as he thinks fit.
(3) No order is to be made containing provision authorised by this section unless
a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a
resolution of each House.
(4) The power to amend or revoke an order under this section does not include
power to provide for a matter to cease to be a matter about which the
Consumer Panel are required to be able to give advice.
19 Representation on international and other bodies
(1) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to do, as respects the United Kingdom, such of
the following things as they are required to do by the Secretary of State—
(a) provide representation on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government in the
United Kingdom on international and other bodies having
(b) become or serve as a member of an international or other body having
(c) subscribe to such a body;
(d) provide representation on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government in the
United Kingdom at international meetings about communications.
(2) OFCOM shall also have the power, if requested to do so by the Secretary of
State, to do one or more of those things as respects any of the Channel Islands,
the Isle of Man or a British overseas territory.
(3) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to carry out their functions under this section in
accordance with such general or specific directions as may be given to them by
the Secretary of State.
(4) The Secretary of State—
(a) is not entitled to direct OFCOM to comply with a request made under
subsection (2); but
(b) may give directions about how OFCOM are to carry out any
representative role that they undertake in accordance with such a
(5) In this section—
“communications functions” means—
(a) functions relating to the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum
for wireless telegraphy;
(b) functions relating to the regulation of television or radio
broadcasting or the provision of television and radio services;
(c) any other function which relates to, or is connected with, a
matter in respect of which OFCOM have functions;
“international meetings about communications” means international
meetings relating to, or to matters connected with, one or more of the
(a) the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum for wireless
(b) the regulation of television or radio broadcasting or of the
provision of television and radio services;
(c) any other matter in respect of which OFCOM have functions.
(6) In relation to—
(a) a part of the British Islands outside the United Kingdom, or
(b) a British overseas territory,
the references in subsection (5) to matters in respect of which OFCOM have
functions include references to matters corresponding, in the case of that part
of those Islands or of that territory, to matters in respect of which OFCOM’s
functions are confined to the United Kingdom.
(7) In subsection (5) “television or radio broadcasting” includes the provision by
means other than broadcasting of services similar to those provided by
television or radio broadcasts.
20 Directions for international purposes in respect of broadcasting functions
(1) This section applies to—
(a) OFCOM’s functions under the enactments relating to broadcasting;
(b) the matters in relation to which those functions are conferred.
(2) It shall be the duty of OFCOM—
(a) to carry out those functions in accordance with any general or specific
directions given to them by the Secretary of State for the purpose
mentioned in subsection (3); and
(b) to carry out such other functions in relation to the matters to which this
this section applies as they are required to carry out by any general or
specific directions so given.
(3) The Secretary of State is not to give a direction under this section except for the
purpose of securing compliance, in relation to a matter to which this section
applies, with an international obligation of the United Kingdom.
(4) A direction under this section must be contained in an order made by the
Secretary of State.
(5) In this section “the enactments relating to broadcasting” means—
(a) the 1990 Act;
(b) the 1996 Act;
(c) Part 3 of this Act; and
(d) the other provisions of this Act so far as relating to the 1990 Act, the
1996 Act or that Part.
General information functions
21 Provision of information to the Secretary of State
(1) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to comply with a direction by the Secretary of
State to provide him with information falling within subsection (2).
(2) The information that may be the subject of a direction under this section is any
information reasonably required by the Secretary of State for the purpose of
enabling him to secure compliance with an international obligation of the
(3) Information that is required to be provided by a direction under this section
must be provided in such manner and at such times as may be required by the
22 Community requirement to provide information
(1) This section applies if—
(a) the European Commission requires OFCOM to provide it with
information for the purpose of enabling it to perform any of its
functions in relation to electronic communications networks, electronic
communications services or associated facilities; and
(b) the information is information obtained by OFCOM in the course of
carrying out any of their functions under—
(i) Part 2; or
(ii) the enactments relating to the management of the radio
spectrum that are not contained in that Part.
(2) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to comply with the requirement.
(3) If information provided to the European Commission under this section has
been obtained by OFCOM from a person who is or, at the time the information
was obtained from him, was—
(a) a communications provider, or
(b) a person making associated facilities available,
OFCOM must notify him that they have provided the information to the
(4) It shall be for OFCOM to determine the manner in which a notification is given
under subsection (3).
23 Publication of information and advice for consumers etc.
(1) OFCOM may arrange for the publication of such information and advice about
matters in relation to which they have functions as it appears to them to be
appropriate to make available to the persons mentioned in subsection (2).
(2) Those persons are—
(a) the customers of communications providers;
(b) the customers of persons who make associated facilities available;
(c) persons who use electronic communications networks, electronic
communications services or associated facilities; and
(d) persons to whom radio and television services are provided or who are
otherwise able or likely to take advantage of any of those services.
(3) In arranging for the publication of information or advice under this section,
OFCOM must have regard to the need to exclude from publication, so far as
that is practicable, the matters which are confidential in accordance with
subsections (4) and (5).
(4) A matter is confidential under this subsection if—
(a) it relates specifically to the affairs of a particular body; and
(b) publication of that matter would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion,
seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that body.
(5) A matter is confidential under this subsection if—
(a) it relates to the private affairs of an individual; and
(b) publication of that matter would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion,
seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual.
(6) The publication of information or advice under this section must be in such
manner as OFCOM consider appropriate.
Employment in broadcasting
24 Training and equality of opportunity
(1) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to take all such steps as they consider
appropriate for promoting the development of opportunities for the training
and retraining of persons—
(a) for employment by persons providing television and radio services;
(b) for work in connection with the provision of such services otherwise
than as an employee.
(2) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to take all such steps as they consider
appropriate for promoting equality of opportunity in relation to both—
(a) employment by those providing television and radio services; and
(b) the training and retraining of persons for such employment.
(3) It shall also be the duty of OFCOM, in relation to such employment, training
and retraining, to take all such steps as they consider appropriate for
promoting the fair treatment of disabled persons.
(4) The reference in subsection (2) to equality of opportunity is a reference to
equality of opportunity—
(a) between men and women; and
(b) between persons of different racial groups.
(5) In this section—
“disabled” has the same meaning as in the Disability Discrimination Act
1995 (c. 50);
“racial group” has the same meaning as in the Race Relations Act 1976
(c. 74) or, in Northern Ireland, the Race Relations (Northern Ireland)
Order 1997 (S.I. 1997/869 (N.I. 6)).
(6) The Secretary of State may by order amend subsection (4) by adding any other
form of equality of opportunity that he considers appropriate.
(7) No order is to be made containing provision authorised by subsection (6)
unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a
resolution of each House.
25 General power to charge for services
(1) OFCOM may provide a service to which this section applies to any person on
such terms as to the making of payments to OFCOM—
(a) as they may determine in advance; or
(b) as may be agreed between that person and OFCOM.
(2) This section applies to a service which is provided by OFCOM to a person in
the course of carrying out their functions and is neither—
(a) a service which OFCOM are under a duty to provide to that person, nor
(b) one in respect of which express provision is made by or under an
enactment for authorising or forbidding the payment of fees or charges.
(3) In this section references to providing a service to a person include references
to a service consisting in—
(a) the giving of advice to that person;
(b) the entry of his particulars in a register or other record kept by OFCOM
otherwise than in pursuance of an express statutory duty to keep the
register or records; or
(c) the taking of steps for the purposes of determining whether to grant an
application for an entry in a register or record so kept.
Provisions supplemental to transfer of functions
26 Transfers of property etc. from pre-commencement regulators
(1) The Secretary of State may, by a direction to any of the pre-commencement
regulators, require that regulator to make one or more schemes for the transfer
from that regulator to OFCOM of such of the regulator’s property, rights and
liabilities as may be specified or described in the direction.
(2) Where a pre-commencement regulator is required to make a scheme, the
scheme must be made by such date as may be specified in the direction.
(3) Before making a scheme in pursuance of a direction under subsection (1), a pre-
commencement regulator must consult OFCOM.
(4) A pre-commencement regulator who makes a scheme in pursuance of a
direction under subsection (1) shall submit that scheme to the Secretary of State
(5) A scheme that is required to be so submitted shall have effect only if, and to the
extent that, it is approved by the Secretary of State.
(6) The Secretary of State, in approving a scheme, may do so subject to such
modifications as he thinks fit.
(7) Where the Secretary of State approves a scheme subject to modifications
specified by him, it shall have effect with those modifications.
(8) A scheme approved by the Secretary of State under this section shall come into
(a) if no time is appointed under paragraph (b), at the time when the
approval is given; or
(b) if the Secretary of State appoints a later time for the coming into force
of the scheme (whether when approving the scheme or by
subsequently varying a time appointed under this paragraph), at that
(9) Where a scheme is submitted to the Secretary of State under this section, he
(a) consult OFCOM about any proposal of his to approve the scheme; and
(b) consult both OFCOM and the pre-commencement regulator in
question about any modifications subject to which he proposes to give
his approval, or about any proposal of his to refuse approval.
(10) The Secretary of State may, after consulting OFCOM, himself make a scheme
for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities—
(a) from a pre-commencement regulator to OFCOM; or
(b) from himself to OFCOM;
and such a scheme shall come into force on such day as the Secretary of State
may appoint (whether in the scheme or subsequently).
(11) The Secretary of State is not to make a scheme for the transfer of property,
rights and liabilities from a pre-commencement regulator to OFCOM unless—
(a) that regulator has failed to comply with a direction under subsection
(b) that regulator has complied with such a direction by submitting a
scheme to the Secretary of State that he has decided not to approve
(with or without modifications).
(12) Schedule 2 (which makes further provision about schemes under this section)
shall have effect.
27 Transitional functions and abolition of pre-commencement regulators
(1) It shall be the duty of the pre-commencement regulators to take all such steps
as are necessary or expedient for ensuring that OFCOM are able effectively to
carry out OFCOM’s functions from the time when they are vested in OFCOM.
(2) The pre-commencement regulators, in taking those steps, must comply with
every direction given to them by the Secretary of State.
(3) The pre-commencement regulators and OFCOM shall each have a duty to
provide the Secretary of State with all such information and assistance as he
may require for the purposes of, or in connection with—
(a) his power to give directions under subsection (1) of section 26; and
(b) his powers and duties in relation to the approval and making of
schemes under that section.
(4) On such day as the Secretary of State may by order appoint—
(a) the office of the Director General of Telecommunications shall be