Pre-appointment hearing with the Chairman-elect of Ofcom, Dr Colette Bowe - Business and Enterprise Committee Contents

2  Ofcom and the role of the Chairman

5.  Ofcom was established by the Office of Communications Act 2002, bringing together five separate regulatory bodies—the Independent Television Commission, the Radio Authority, Oftel, the Broadcasting Standards Commission and the Radiocommunications Agency. The Communications Act 2003 subsequently established Ofcom's role and duties. These fall into six areas:

  • Ensuring the optimal use of the electro-magnetic spectrum;
  • Ensuring that a wide range of electronic communications services—including high speed data services—is available throughout the UK;
  • Ensuring a wide range of TV and radio services of high quality and wide appeal;
  • Maintaining plurality in the provision of broadcasting;
  • Applying adequate protection for audiences against offensive or harmful material; and
  • Applying adequate protection for audiences against unfairness or the infringement of privacy.

6.  To discharge its duties, the regulator has an operating budget for the current financial year (2008-09) of £133.7 million, and a staff of 850. The Chairman of Ofcom is expected to:[4]

  • Provide leadership to the Board and Ofcom more widely;
  • Be the most senior representative of Ofcom to its various stakeholders, including its licensees, other regulated entities, the United Kingdom Government and Parliament and the devolved National Governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; and
  • Provide assistance to Ofcom's international activities.

7.  The appointment is for five years with the potential for a further period of service by mutual agreement and subject to performance. The job specification states that the appointee must commit to taking on the post as their primary role. In other words, it is anticipated that they would not hold a chairmanship or other demanding role elsewhere. The job requires a commitment of up to three days per week and carries a remuneration of circa £200,000 per annum.[5] In addition to chairing meetings of the Board, the Chairman will be expected to serve on the Audit, Remuneration and Nominations Committees.

4   Egon Zehnder International, Role Specification-Chair of Ofcom, September 2008 Back

5   Lord Currie's total remuneration in 2007-08 was £206,134. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2009
Prepared 19 January 2009