Ofcom Content Board

16 March 2017

The Content Board is a committee of the main Board and it sets and enforces quality and standards for television and radio. It has members representing each of the countries in the UK, and includes members with extensive broadcasting experience. It is charged with understanding, analysing and championing the voices and interest of the viewer, the listener and citizen.

Functions and Role

The Content Board is a committee of the main Ofcom Board, with delegated and advisory responsibility for a wide range of content issues, predominantly dealing with broadcasting. It is set up under statute, specifically Section 12(1) of the Communications Act 2003.

The Ofcom Board will seek advice and recommendations from the Content Board on any content-related aspects of decisions it has reserved for itself. All other content-related decisions are delegated to the Content Board.

The Content Board serves as Ofcom's primary forum for the regulation of television and radio quality and standards. It is charged with understanding, analysing and championing the voices and interest of the viewer, the listener and citizen. It will examine issues where the citizen interest extends beyond the consumer interest, with focus on those aspects of the public interest which competition and market forces do not reach.

Content Board members will consider content issues in three categories:

Tier 1

concerns negative content regulation. It covers matters principally concerning harm and offence, accuracy and impartiality, fairness and privacy.

Tier 2

relates to quantitative matters, such as quotas for independent television production, regional production and original EU/UK production.

Tier 3

covers the public service broadcasters; and in this context Ofcom has particular responsibility for ITV, Channel 4 and Five.

Members will also consider format regulation for radio and will advise the Ofcom Board on other issues as required.

The majority of Content Board members are part-time and drawn from diverse backgrounds across the UK. Four are appointed to represent to Ofcom the interests and opinions of people living in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regions.

Meeting dates

24 January 2017

7 March 2017

25 April 2017

6 June 2017

11 July 2017

12 September 2017

31 October 2017

12 December 2017

Nick Pollard (Chairman)

Nick Pollard was appointed to the Content Board in April 2016. He was appointed as an Ofcom Board Member and as Chairman of the Content Board with effect from 14 November 2016. Nick Pollard has had a long career as a journalist and broadcasting executive. He started his career as a local paper reporter on Merseyside and spent nearly ten years in newspapers and radio before joining BBC Television News in 1977. He subsequently became Executive Producer of News at Ten during more than a decade at ITN and spent ten years as Head of Sky News during which it won numerous awards for its coverage of major news events including the death of Princess Diana, the September 11th attacks in 2001, the Iraq War and the London bombings. He recently retired from the post of Chief Executive of SSVC, the organisation that runs the British Forces Broadcasting Service.

Nick led the independent inquiry into the BBC's handling of the Newsnight-Jimmy Savile story in 2012. He is a former chairman of the Royal Television Society's Journalism Awards and a recipient of the RTS's Lifetime Achievement Award for Television Journalism.

Nick is a member of the Nominations Committee and Remuneration Committee.

Dame Lynne Brindley DBE

Dame Lynne Brindley was appointed to the Ofcom Board on 1 September 2011. Lynne is the Master of Pembroke College Oxford, a position she took up in 2013.

Before that she was the CEO of the British Library (from 2000 – 2012), where she led a major strategic development and modernisation programme to ensure that the British Library remains relevant, innovative and accessible in the 21st century.

She came to the BL from the University of Leeds where she was Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Previously she was a senior consultant in IS/IT strategy with KPMG and has held leadership positions in IT and knowledge management at Aston University and at the London School of Economics.

Lynne is a member of the Council of City University and is on the Court of the Goldsmiths' Company and chairs the Goldsmiths' Centre charity.  She was a council member of the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (from 2009 – 2014), chaired the national Online Learning Taskforce set up by HEFCE and was a member of the UK's Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP).

Lynne Brindley is Chairman of Ofcom's Nations Committee, a member of the Content Board, and sits on the Remuneration Committee and the Nominations Committee.

Andrew Chitty

A respected creative leader within the UK digital media sector Andrew is Professor of Creative and Digital Economy at Royal Holloway University of London.  He is a founding Director of Creative England and Chair of Trustees of the creative sector educational charity  TRC Media.  In 2017 he was appointed as the Arts and Humanities Research Council's first Creative Economy Champion working to extend research interactions between universities and creative businesses.

Following research in neuroscience, Andrew started his media career in the independent sector working with both Granada TV and the BBC to produce software products alongside television programmes. He was a producer on Horizon, Editor of BBC2’s The Net and produced BBC Television’s 60th Anniversary film titled ‘Television is Dead'. Whether this was wrong or premature remains to be seen.   In 1998 he founded Illumina Digital, one of the UK’s most successful digital media producers, winning 4 BAFTAs and over 40 national and international awards before being acquired by All3Media in 2008. He went on to found DLS, a digital health company that has worked with the NHS to develop new online services for self-care and he continues to advise companies seeking to bring creative technology to bear in the areas of health and assisted living.

Andrew has been a board member of PACT and Skillset, the creative media industry bodies for producers and skills development respectively, and has advised institutions including the DCMS, British Library, National Theatre, BFI, Welsh Assembly Government, BAFTA and the Arts Council on the development of their digital strategies as well as working with commercial partners in the media, communication, educational and health sectors to design and deliver digital products and services.

He served as member of the Ministerial Steering Board on behalf of the DCMS/BIS for The Digital Britain Report, was a member of the design group or the 14-19 Diploma in Creative Media and represented BIS at the 2009 UK/China Internet Forum in Beijing. In 2009/10 he was Visiting Professor of Digital Media at University College Falmouth, having previously taught on the Masters programmes at INA (Paris) and the RCA (London). Andrew lives in London with his wife, Dr Tilly Blyth, Principal Curator at the Science Museum, and their three daughters. Andrew Chitty is the Content Board member for England.

Professor Philip Schlesinger

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).

Dr. Aled Eirug

Aled Eirug joined the Content Board with effect from December 2015. He is also a freelance strategic policy adviser and works for Swansea University and other clients. He was a member of the governing authority for the Welsh language broadcasting service, S4C (2012 -2015), chairman of the British Council’s advisory committee for Wales (2012-2015) and a member of the British Council’s Board of Trustees (2013-2015).

He is an experienced journalist and broadcaster with over 30 years experience in ITV and the BBC, and was for 14 years BBC Wales’ Head of News and Current Affairs and a member of BBC Wales’ Board of Management. He has extensive experience of radio, television and online production across news, current affairs and documentary making, and is at present researching a PhD on aspects of the First World War.

Aled Eirug is the Content Board member for Wales.

Mary Ann Sieghart

Mary Ann Sieghart joined the Content Board with effect from 1 September 2014.

Mary Ann Sieghart is a journalist, broadcaster and chair of the Social Market Foundation think tank. She is a non-executive director of The Merchants Trust, Henderson Smaller Companies Investment Trust and of DLN Digital, a company that supplies digital projectors for Odeon cinemas. She also sits on the Council of Tate Modern.

Mary Ann spent 19 years as Assistant Editor of The Times, where she wrote columns on politics, economics and social affairs, as well as being Acting Editor, Comment Editor, Arts Editor and chief political leader writer. More recently, she has written a weekly column for The Independent. She has also worked for The Economist and The Financial Times, where she was the first female Lex columnist. She was City Editor of Today newspaper at its launch.

Mary Ann is a prolific broadcaster. She presented the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2 and The World This Week on Channel 4. For two years, she was the anchor of Newshour, the BBC World Service’s flagship news programme, and she now presents Start The Week. She has presented other programmes on Radio 4, including Profile, One To One and Beyond Westminster, and often makes the round-up of the political week film for BBC1’s This Week. She is a frequent guest on Question Time, Any Questions, Newsnight, the Today programme, The World at One, PM, The World Tonight, The Andrew Marr Show and Woman’s Hour.

Tony Close

Tony Close joined Ofcom in 2003. He is currently Director of Content Standards, Licensing & Enforcement.

Tony is responsible for broadcast licensing and for setting and enforcing content standards for television, radio and on demand services. He oversees Ofcom's role promoting audience safety, inclusion and assurance in broadcasting and online environments.

Tony was formerly Head of the Fairness and Privacy team at Ofcom and worked previously for the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Zahera Harb

Dr Zahera Harb is senior lecturer in Journalism at City University Journalism Department. She has published extensively on journalism, media and politics in the Arab world. She has conducted research, published and made academic contributions on representation of ethnic minorities in British media.

Before beginning her career as an academic, Zahera worked as a journalist in local and international media organisations in Lebanon for 11 years. During this time, she held roles as a producer, television news anchor and news editor, after starting as a news reporter.

The academic was named a Stanford Humanities Centre International Fellow for 2014, and in the same year was commended in the City University London Vice Chancellor's Awards in recognition of excellence in international engagement. She is board member of Ethical Journalism Network.

Andrew Colman

Andrew Colman served for 13 years as Head of News & Current Affairs for BBC Northern Ireland and as a member of its senior management board.  He has extensive experience of radio and television production.  He was a producer/director with the current affairs television programme, Spotlight, and later the programme’s editor, during which time it won three Royal Television Society awards.  He edited all of BBCNI’s television election programmes between 1986 and 1998. In 2012 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Editors. Andrew Colman is the Content Board member for Northern Ireland.

Dr. David Levy

David Levy is Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and had a distinguished career at the BBC from 1982 where he moved from editorial and programme making into wider-policy development becoming Controller, Public Policy from 2000-2007. He has published on journalism and media regulation in Britain and Europe, was a member of the French Commission that reviewed the future of the French public broadcaster, France Télévisions in 2008 and was a non executive director of the international broadcaster, France 24 until 2012. David is also a non-executive member of the Board of the UK Statistics Authority.

Janey Walker

Janey Walker is Deputy Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Brighton. She was Managing Director of the Indie Training Fund from 2014-2016, providing television training for many of the UK's leading indies. Janey was Director of IGGY at the University of Warwick from 2011-2013 and launched its award-winning online network for gifted teenagers.

Janey worked at Channel 4 from 1996-2010. She was Managing Editor for Commissioning from 2000 as well as Head of Education from 2006. She was Channel 4's Commissioning Editor for Arts and Music 1996-2000. Janey worked in the independent sector 1994-1996 and at the BBC from 1982-1994.

Robin Foster

Robin is an expert in media policy, regulation and strategy, and has a long interest and involvement in the UK media sector. Until December 2015 he was an independent member of the ATVOD Board, and is currently also a member of BCAP’s Advertising Advisory Committee.

From 1993 to 2005, he held senior level strategy positions at the BBC, the Independent Television Commission and Ofcom.  More recently he co-founded Communications Chambers: a consultancy specialising in telecoms and media policy and regulation, and has served on a number of advisory boards including the Digital Britain Board, Ofcom’s Spectrum Advisory Board and ComReg’s expert advisory panel. He was also special adviser to the House of Lords Communications Committee for their inquiry into media convergence.

Robin has written extensively on trends and changes in media markets, and the implication of digital and social media for the future shape and health of UK broadcasting.  His recent publications include reports on the UK creative sector, the future of TV news, and the impact of digital intermediaries on news plurality.

Kevin Bakhurst

Kevin Bakhurst joined Ofcom as Group Director for the Content and Media Policy Group on 31 October 2016. Previously he was the Deputy Director General and Managing Director of News and Current Affairs at RTE, the Irish public service broadcaster. Kevin has also spent a significant period with the BBC, where his roles included Deputy Head of the BBC Newsroom and Controller of the BBC News Channel. He also held several key editorial positions with the BBC including as Editor of the Ten O’Clock News and as Assistant Editor of the Nine O’Clock News. He started he career with Price Waterhouse.