Advisory Committee for Scotland


Functions and role

The Advisory Committee for Scotland advises Ofcom about the interests and opinions, in relation to communications matters, of persons living in Scotland.

The remit of the Advisory Committee is to:

  • seek to identify issues affecting the communications and postal sectors in Scotland, both collectively as a Committee and individually for Members, with particular reference to the sectors where they have particular knowledge or expertise
  • to provide advice to Ofcom about general and specific issues concerning the communications and postal sectors arising within Scotland
  • to provide advice and comment as required on matters brought to the Committee by Ofcom
  • to offer comment as appropriate on consultations undertaken by Ofcom
  • where requested by the Content Board, to provide specific advice to that Board on matters relating to television, radio and other content on services regulated by Ofcom
  • when so requested by the Ofcom Board, to provide advice to the Communications Consumer Panel on matters affecting consumers in Scotland in the communications sector.
  • to produce an annual report reflecting issues within the communications and postal sectors in Scotland

The Committee usually meets five times a year. The Committee’s minutes are provided to the Ofcom Board.

27 January

20 April

22 June

8 September

23 November

Laura Alexander (Chairman)

After a Masters degree in Physics and Electronics Laura worked as a Senior Electronic Design engineer in a variety of sectors, including Defence, Mobile Phones and Telecommunications, becoming a Chartered Engineer through the IET (formerly IEE).

Laura currently works for the Open University, teaching Science and Technology via various online media including Virtual Learning Environments. This work includes creating new online materials for courses and moderating online forums, as well as research into effective on-line learning and novel teaching techniques.

She has experience as a member of a range of community and sporting bodies including community councils, Parent Councils etc.

Laura has 2 young children and so also has a keen awareness of, and interest in, current initiatives in Primary and Secondary education, eg Curriculum for Excellence, Media Literacy etc

Amanda Bryan (Non-Executive Member)

Amanda is a rural development consultant who works predominantly in the Highlands and Islands.  Her work crosses all sectors and takes in land reform, community land and asset ownership, forestry and land management, the environment and conservation, community consultation and access to services.  In this role she has worked with some of the most remote and fragile communities in Scotland.

Amanda is also a part time lecturer at the Scottish School of Forestry in Inverness and a Research Associate at the UHI’s Centre for Remote and Rural Research.

Amanda currently holds the position of Forestry Commissioner for Scotland and is Chair of the Forestry Commission’s National Committee Scotland.  Previously she served on the Board of Scottish Natural Heritage, chairing its North Areas’ Board and has been a member of the BBC Trust’s Audience Council for Scotland and Chair of the BBC’s Scottish Rural Affairs and Agriculture Advisory Committee.  Amanda was also an advisor to the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group from 2012 to 2014.

Having grown up in Caithness, Amanda is now based in Strathglass, west of Inverness where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Ian McKay (Non-Executive Member)

Ian is the owner of consultancy firm, Otherhand Ltd which specialises in high-level facilitation and mediation in Scotland.

He was previously the Director of the Royal Mail Group in Scotland, and held senior positions with the Educational Institute of Scotland and at Stevenson College Edinburgh.

Ian is currently Chairman of the Board of Edinburgh College, the largest FE college in Scotland, and was previously Board member at Lothian Buses plc where he chaired the Remuneration Committee. Ian is a member of IOD Council and previously Scottish Chair of IOD. Ian was a longstanding member of the Scottish Council of the CBI and the Executive Committee of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. Ian also served as a member of the UK NHS Pay Review Body from 2006 to 2012 and has been a Board member at the Scottish Business Crime Centre, the Centre for Confidence and Well-Being, the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and Arts & Business in Scotland.

He lives in the Borders with his wife Ruth, who is a Headteacher in Ediburgh.

John Trower (Non-Executive Member)

John is a self employed consultant acting as an advisor to the private equity industry.  Having graduated with an Honours Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Strathclyde University he worked in ScottishPower in the Telecoms Branch.  He was subsequently a founding member of staff at ScottishTelecom where he became the Operations Director.  After a period as assistant to the CEO, he became Head of Corporate Sales at THUS plc and then Sales Director of THUS Ltd after it was taken over by Cable & Wireless.  Recently he has served on the Boards of Metronet UK in Manchester and My1Login in Glasgow.

John is married with three children, one of whom is profoundly handicapped which has fostered his interest in disabled rights and equal access.  He has a non-remunerative role as Secretary and volunteer within a local charity which helps homeless and destitute people

Liz Leonard (Non-Executive Member)

Liz worked in the public and charity sectors before joining a commercial radio station in Nottingham as a producer/presenter.  She quickly moved to the BBC, where she worked for 16 years as producer and then series producer.  She left the BBC in 2009 to set up her own media and communications company. LizLeonardMedia.  Liz’s clients include Strathclyde University, RNIB Talking Books, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and the National Maritime Museum, as well as the BBC.

At her last job at the BBC, Liz was responsible for media literacy and digital participation throughout Scotland and she continues to be a member of the Cross Party Group on Digital Participation at the Scottish Parliament.  Liz has two non-remunerative roles, as Vice-Chair of the Scottish Refugee Council and as a regular contributor to RNIB’s Insight Radio, for the blind and partially sighted.

Peter Peacock CBE (Non-Executive Member)

Peter has had a working life spanning the public, voluntary and private sectors, and in politics. Qualifying in community education he worked for Orkney County Council before moving to Inverness where he worked for the Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux. He then established his own consultancy partnership with two former colleagues, working in public policy and people development.

Overlapping with his work at CABx and while in private consultancy he was first elected to Highland Regional Council where he held a number of senior positions Chairing the Finance, Budget and Policy Committees, before becoming the first political leader of Highland Council. Following 17 years as a Councillor he was elected as a Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands to the first Scottish Parliament and appointed a Minister. He held a number of Ministerial responsibilities over the first two terms of the Parliament including for education and children's services, local government, public services, and Gaelic, culminating in holding Cabinet responsibility for Education and Young People for a number of years. During his political career he has taken a particular interest in broadband issues and held ministerial responsibility for important broadband investments and the use of technology in public services and schools.

Since retiring from Parliament in 2011 he has undertaken a number of new assignments, currently as Policy Director of Community Land Scotland. Peter also undertakes consultancy work.

Throughout his life Peter has also been involved in a number of other areas. For example, he was the first Chairman of the Scottish Library and Information Council; served on the Highland Area Committee of the SCDI; was part of and subsequently Chairman of the group that won the franchise to establish Moray Firth Radio; served on the EU Committee of the Regions, and the Post Office Board for Scotland.

Peter lives in Inverness has two grown up sons and 4 grandchildren, and enjoys cooking!

Professor Philip Schlesinger (Non-Executive Member)

Professor in Cultural Policy, Centre for Cultural Policy Research, University of Glasgow; Visiting Professor in the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science; Deputy Director, CREATe, RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy.

I have held a variety of academic posts in the UK and visiting chairs and fellowships in France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. My academic research covers a wide range of topics in media and culture and has been extensively published.

I joined the Adivisory Committee for Scotland as a Member on its formation in 2004 and was Chairman from 2009-2014.  I previously served on the Boards of Scottish Screen and of TRC Media and was formerly a member of the Research and Knowledge Transfer Committee of the Scottish Funding Council. I am currently on the boards of numerous academic journals and of several research projects.

Alongside academic research work funded by the AHRC, ESRC and European Commission, I have led a range of consultancy and research projects, amongst others for the UK Government’s Know How Fund, the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the European Institute for the Media, the Home Office, the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland. I am currently working on various studies of the ‘creative economy’ and cultural institutions with projects underway on British film policy as well as on Europe and cultural crisis.

My most recent, co-authored, books are The Rise and Fall of the UK Film Council (Edinburgh UP 2015) and Curators of Cultural Enterprise (Palgrave Macmillan 2015).

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As well as the appointed Members of the Advisory Committee, the Communications Consumer Panel Member for the respective Nations are invited to attend Advisory Committee Meetings.

In Scotland this is: