Ofcom Content Board
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.
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.
30 November 2021
25 January 2022
15 March 2022
3 May 2022
5 July 2022
20 September 2022
22 November 2022
Bob Downes (Interim Chair)
Bob Downes was appointed to the Ofcom Board with effect from 1 February 2018. He is a member of the Content Board and the People Committee. Bob is the current Chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. He also chairs the Commission for Communications Regulation’s Independent Oversight Body, which will oversee the implementation and operation of an enhanced Regulatory Governance Model in Ireland by Eir. Bob Chairs Cryptic, an arts production company. He is an advisor to a number of small technology businesses, including Kube Networks.
In addition to his role as the Board Member for Scotland, Bob ensures appropriate attention and focus is given to those special characteristics and challenges unique to Northern Ireland pending the appointment of a Board Member for Northern Ireland. Bob is also current interim Chair of the Content Board.
Bob joined the Board on 1 February 2018. His appointment runs until 31 January 2026.
Kevin Bakhurst joined Ofcom in October 2016 as Group Director for Broadcasting and Online Content, overseeing our broadcast and online regulation and policy. He was appointed to the Ofcom Board in March 2020 and is also a member of Ofcom’s Content Board.
Prior to joining Ofcom, Kevin was Managing Director, News and Current Affairs, Deputy Director General, and then Acting Director General with Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTÉ.
After graduating from Cambridge University, Kevin worked at Price Waterhouse before joining the BBC as a researcher in 1989. He went on to edit the Ten O’Clock News, becoming Deputy Head of the BBC Newsroom and Controller of the BBC News channel and BBC News at One. During his time editing BBC news bulletins, the programmes won awards from organisations including BAFTA and the Royal Television Society.
Outside work, Kevin was a Magistrate from 2000 until 2006.
Monisha Shah, with senior level experience of broadcast and digital media, serves on a range of public and commercial Boards; Board member for the Office for Students, Senior Independent Member (Chair) of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UKRI) and Chair of the Queen’s Counsel Appointments Panel.
Monisha serves on several charities. She is chair of Wikimedia UK and of Caterham School, trustee of the ArtFund and was appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to the Board of Trustees of the Royal Collection Trust on April 1, 2022.
Previous roles include Chair of Governors of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, and the boards of Tate, the National Gallery and the Donmar Warehouse. She was Non-executive Director on the Board of Next Mediaworks Plc and Non-Executive Director of Imagen Limited. Monisha worked at Director of Emerging Markets for BBC Worldwide and represented BBC Worldwide on several internal and external boards. In 2015, she was appointed as an independent Member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life by the Prime Minister.
Monisha joined the Content Board on 1 October 2017. Her appointment runs until 30 September 2023.
Jonathan brings more than 40 years’ journalism experience.
He began his career as a reporter at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, before joining the BBC in 1978, where he held several senior roles in radio and television news until 2014. He was Editor of the Nine O’Clock News bulletin when it moved to its current 10pm slot. The programme received a BAFTA and Royal Television Society Awards under his editorship.
Jonathan also spent five years as BBC World News Editor, later becoming Deputy Head, for six months Acting Head, of the wider News gathering department. He was also appointed Head of the College of Journalism, with responsibility for training 8,000 BBC journalists.
From 2014-2018 he was founding Professor of Journalism at the University of Essex. Jonathan joined the Content Board on 1 October 2017. His appointment runs until 30 September 2023.
Maggie Cunningham is the Content Board member representing the interests and opinions of people living in Scotland. Maggie has worked in the media sector for almost 40 years, 20 of which (1989 to 2009) were at a senior editorial level in the BBC. Her roles included Head of Radio, Scotland (2000 to 2004) and Joint Head of Programmes and Services, Scotland (2005 to 2009). Since 2009, she has worked as a leadership and executive coach. She chaired the Board of MG Alba for six years from July 2012. She is involved with the charity Sistema Scotland, having been a founding Board member until December 2019. She is an independent member of the Edinburgh Festivals’ Forum and chairs Kyle and Lochalsh Community Development Trust. She is a Trustee of An Comann Gaidhealach and a regular columnist for the Stornoway Gazette.
Maggie joined the Content Board on 1 October 2018. Her appointment runs until 30 September 2024.
David is currently a non-executive director of Ofwat and Qualifications Wales. He was the founder of Travelink Systems Limited until 1995 and Executive Chair of TigerBay Software from 2011 to 2015. David is an occasional guest lecturer on Digital and Cyber security at Cardiff University.
David joined the Ofcom Board on 8 April 2019. He was appointed to the Content Board on 26 May 2021. His appointments run until 7 April 2023.
Professor Ruth McElroy
Ruth is Professor of Creative Industries and Head of Creative Industries Research at the University of South Wales (USW). She has more than twenty years' experience of teaching and researching media in UK Higher Education, with a focus on the screen sector, media policy, and cultural identities.
She is Co-Director of Clwstwr Creadigol, one of nine UK Research and Development Clusters funded through the Arts and Humanities Council. She is also Co-Director of the Centre for Media and Culture in Small Nations at USW. From May 2022, Ruth will be Head of the School of Arts, Culture and Languages at Bangor University.
Ruth Joined the Content Board on 1 March 2022. Her appointment runs until 1 March 2025.
Stephen Nuttall has more than thirty years’ experience working as a senior executive and a consultant in the sports, media and digital industries. Stephen’s previous positions include Senior Director at YouTube EMEA and Group Commercial Director at Sky.
Stephen has also been a board member of Team Sky (Sky’s professional cycling team), Freeview, and the National Geographic Channel.
Stephen has an MBA from SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, a degree in Applied Physics from the University of Nottingham and is the Deputy Chair and Vice President for Engagement at the British Science Association.
Stephen joined the Content Board on 10 December 2018. His appointment runs until 9 December 2024.
Alison joined Ofcom in 2007. She is currently Director of Standards and Audience Protection. She leads a team with responsibility for setting and enforcing content standards for television, radio and on-demand services, including the handling and assessment of complaints from viewers and listeners. She also has responsibility for the team who undertake Ofcom's work on TV, radio, on demand and online advertising.
Alison joined Ofcom as a broadcasting standards specialist and has also overseen Ofcom's broadcast licensing function. Before joining Ofcom, Alison worked in television production at the BBC from 1997 to 2003 producing and directing specialist factual and factual programmes, and later for various independent production companies.
Peter is an experienced leader in the fields of media, higher education and economic development. At the BBC he was Editor of Panorama, Newsnight and Elections from 1992 to 2001. His leadership roles included Head of Current Affairs, Head of TV News and Head of the Multimedia Newsroom. He was Director of the BBC World Service from 2009 to 2014.
He was a member of the BBC Commercial Board and of the BBC Direction Group from 2011 to 2014. He won BAFTA awards as editor of Newsnight and as executive producer of the documentary series The Power of Nightmares. Peter was Vice Chancellor of the Open University from 2015 to 2018 and is currently Chair of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership. In 2015 he received a CBE for Services to Broadcasting. He is Chair of Learna Ltd, a medical education business.
Peter joined the Content Board on 1 November 2020. His appointment runs until 31 October 2023.
Dekan graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering yet decided to follow his passion for journalism and joined the BBC in 2002. He worked his way up through the BBC, starting as a researcher and progressing to a broadcast journalist and producer working for several departments including BBC London, BBC News Channel and BBC Comedy. He produced a variety of unique community focused digital content ahead of the London 2012 Games before leaving the corporation in 2012 and starting his own training and production company.
Combining his passion for community engagement and the arts Dekan founded Allsortz Open Mic (2011-2017), which he set up as a Community Interest Company; its aim was to provide emerging artists with the opportunity to perform in professional venues while developing their confidence and experience. Dekan sat on the board of the Youth Media Agency (2012-2015), providing support and guidance to small startup media platforms. He also sat on the programming committee for the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation (2012-2016). Dekan is currently a Senior Lecturer and Joint Course Leader at the University of East London where he specialises in sports journalism, broadcast and digital media.
Dekan joined the Content Board on 1 November 2020. His appointment runs until 31 October 2023.
Kim Shillinglaw has 30 years experience in the Media Industry, as Controller of BBC2 and BBC4, running commercial companies for EndemolShine, and as Head of Commissioning at the BBC among other roles. She is a Non-Exec Director of Natural England, a Trustee of the tech foundation Raspberry Pi, and previously, of the innovation think tank NESTA.
At EndemolShine, Kim led commercial companies from loss to profit, growing turnover and EBITDA ahead of a successful trade sale. At BBC2 and BBC4 she contemporised Channels with multi-award winning shows from Muslims Like Us and Exodus, to Britain’s first transgender sitcom Boy Meets Girl. She brought in Women’s Football, the first female presenter of QI and the first non-white presenter of the Christmas Lectures. Running Science and Natural History, she brought new ambition with Frozen Planet, Africa, Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II and domestic brands like Stargazing Live and Springwatch. She championed a much broader range of presenters and led the BBC’s acclaimed Year of Science, and largest outreach campaign, Make It Digital. Previously in Children’s Commissioning she created the multi-award winning Horrible Histories.
Kim has chaired the BBC’s Commercial Income Taskforce, the BBC’s Factual Genre Board and NESTA’s Creative Economy Board, advised the Science Museum, AHRC’s Creative Industries Policy Centre, DCMS and BEIS, and committees for the Royal Society, Edinburgh TV Festival and others.
Kim joined the Content Board on 1 November 2020. Her appointment runs until 31 October 2023.
Rachel Coldicutt is an expert on the social impact of new and emerging technologies, and director of research consultancy Careful Industries.
She was previously founding CEO of responsible technology think tank Doteveryone where she led influential and ground-breaking research into how technology is changing society and developed practical tools for responsible innovation. Prior to that, she spent almost 20 years working at the cutting edge of new technology for companies including the BBC (2001 to 2003), Microsoft, BT, and Channel 4, and was a pioneer in the digital art world. Rachel is an influential voice on the UK technology scene, and is an advisor, board member and trustee for a number of companies and charities. In 2019, Rachel was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours for services for the digital society. She is currently writing a book about careful innovation.
Rachel joined the Content Board on 1 November 2020. Her appointment runs until 31 October 2023.
Tobin has 25 years of experience working as a senior executive in the digital media industry. He started his career at McKinsey & Company and has served as the Commercial Director of BSkyB, Chief Marketing Officer of AOL Europe, and Global Director of Strategy and Business Development at Vodafone.
While at Vodafone, Tobin led the GSMA global initiatives on mobile advertising and consumer privacy, and subsequently has become an active investor and advisor in the digital media and data sectors. He is Special Industry Advisor to the World Health Organisation, the Mobile Marketing Association and McKinsey – all focused on the future of the mobile data ecosystem. He is an angel investor in European mobile, data, AI and D2C start-ups and a non-executive/chairman on a range of technology and online companies, including MetaGravity and Cyacomb.
Tobin has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, an MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the LSE, and a BSc in Pure Mathematics and Economics from the University of Bristol.
Tobin joined the Content Board on 1 November 2020. His appointment runs until 31 October 2023.
Minutes of the 171st meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 6 July 2021 (PDF File, 160.9 KB)
Published 12 April 2022
Minutes of the 170th meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 4 May 2021 (PDF File, 154.8 KB)
Published 18 October 2021
Minutes of the 169th meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 30 March 2021 (PDF File, 170.9 KB)
Published 18 October 2021
Minutes of the 168th meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 26 January 2021 (PDF File, 157.1 KB)
Published 18 October 2021
Minutes of the 167th meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 6 October 2020 (PDF File, 157.5 KB)
Published 14 May 2021
Minutes of the 166th meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 24 November 2020 (PDF File, 177.1 KB)
Published 14 May 2021
Minutes of the 165th meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 23 June 2020 (PDF File, 149.7 KB)
Published 17 February 2021
Minutes of the 164th meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 19 May 2020 (PDF File, 143.1 KB)
Published 1 December 2020
Minutes of the 163rd meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 31 March 2020 (PDF File, 134.7 KB)
Published 1 December 2020
Minutes of the 162nd meeting of the Ofcom Content Board, held on 25 February 2020 (PDF File, 183.2 KB)
Published 3 July 2020
Minutes of the 161st meeting of the Content Board, held on 3 December 2019 (PDF File, 148.4 KB)
Published 3 July 2020
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