Regulators Agree On Greater Co-Operation
Press Release - 28 March 2001
The five communications regulators today announced an agreement to extend co-operation in line with the Government's new vision for regulation as outlined in its Communications White Paper1.
A new Memorandum of Understanding between the Broadcasting Standards Commission, Independent Television Commission, Office of Telecommunications, Radio Authority and Radiocommunications Agency, sets out the arrangements for working closely together on a wide range of issues. A steering group of the Chief Executives has been formed to oversee this work, which will meet regularly.
The new approach will involve sharing information, meeting and networking between the bodies, and where there are common interests, policy issues will be developed together. Equally, wherever possible, common positions will be developed in briefings for representation at international meetings dealing with spectrum, the European Directives and content issues.
Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport said: "I welcome this initiative taken by the regulators to meet the challenges set out in the Government's White Paper. We are aiming for joined-up regulation for a new world of communication. Getting the regulatory bodies themselves to identify some of the ways ahead, and work together to achieve it, will be a valuable contribution to a more flexible, but effective, regime."
Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said: "I congratulate the five organisations for taking this vital first step towards the creation of a new converged regulator as set out in the Government's Communications White Paper. Working more closely together in this way will help provide greater consistency and certainty for business. The pace of change which is bringing about convergence in the broadcasting and telecommunications industries makes the introduction of the new, flexible regulatory framework so necessary."
Ways will be sought to facilitate collaboration on matters of common concern to the bodies, including areas such as digital switch-over, competition in relevant markets, development of internet and e-commerce, audience research, elaboration of content codes, complaint handling and Human Rights Act issues2.
1. A New Future for Communications,
2. A full list on areas for proposed joint collaboration is attached to the Memorandum of Understanding
Notes to editors:
1. Copies of the Memorandum of Understanding are available at the five regulator's websites: www.bsc.org.uk; www.itc.org.uk, www.oftel.gov.uk; www.radioauthority.org.uk; www.radio.gov.uk
2. The Broadcasting Standards Commission is the statutory body for both standards and fairness in broadcasting. It is the only organisation within the regulatory framework of UK broadcasting to cover all television and radio, both terrestrial and satellite. This includes text, cable and digital services. It has three main tasks, as established by the 1996 Broadcasting Act:
to produce codes of conduct relating to standards and fairness;
to consider and adjudicate on complaints; and
to monitor, research and report on standards and fairness in broadcasting.
3. The Independent Television Commission licences and regulates all television services broadcasting in or from the UK, other than BBC licence fee funded services and S4C in Wales. It exists to promote and safeguard the interests of all viewers of commercially funded television, whilst fostering a dynamic and innovative market place.
4. Oftel is the independent regulator for the UK telecommunications industry. Oftel promotes the interests of consumers, monitors and enforces the conditions of all telecommunications licences and ensures that telecoms services are provided in the UK to meet all reasonable demands.
5. The Radio Authority is responsible for licensing and regulating Independent Radio in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. It plans frequencies, awards licences, regulates programming and advertising, and plays an active role in the discussion and formulation of policies which affect the Independent Radio Industry and its listeners.
6. The Radiocommunications Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department of Trade and Industry and is responsible for: formulating policy on the planning and management of the UK radio spectrum; co-ordinating UK views and participating in international negotiations on the use of radio; authorising use of radio by licensing or exemption; formulating technical and operating standards for radio; and enforcement of legislation on the use of radio equipment and investigation of radio interference.
|BSC||Donia Moinian||020 7808 1016|
|Robin Hull||020 7808 1017|
|ITC||Helena Hird||020 7306 7745|
|OFTEL||Duncan Stroud||020 7634 8750|
|Radio Authority||Julie McCatty||020 7887 4292|
|Kerry Curtis||020 7887 4290|
|Radiocommunications Agency||Julia Fraser||020 7211 0500|