Policies and guidelines
A list of Ofcom's policies and guidelines.
This is an unprecedented time for our country, and keeping communications going across the UK has never been more important. Over the next few months Ofcom’s sectors will play a vital role in supporting families, businesses and individuals as we all adapt the way we live, work and communicate in the wake of the coronavirus.
See more about what this means for our areas of work.
Ofcom has published information on Royal Mail’s operations during the coronavirus pandemic, which includes changes to certain services.
Ofcom wrote to telecoms providers (PDF, 152.4 KB) in November 2020 to ensure there is continued support for consumers struggling to pay their bills at a time of increased reliance on telecoms services.
Our enforcement guidelines explain how we investigate compliance with and approach enforcement of regulatory requirements relating to electronic communications networks and services, postal services, consumer protection legislation, competition law and certain competition-related conditions in broadcast licences.
"The option of not intervening...should always be seriously considered. Sometimes the fact that a market is working imperfectly is used to justify taking action. But no market ever works perfectly, while the effects of...regulation and its unintended consequences, may be worse then the effects of the imperfect market" - Better Regulation Task Force (September 2003)
Under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (‘the SBEE Act’), we have a statutory obligation to produce an assessment of the economic impact on business of every qualifying regulatory provision we make during the relevant period. A qualifying regulatory provision is one that does not fall under any of the exclusions prescribed in the SBEE Act.
See more about Ofcom's Business Impact Target.
- Diversity and equality - treat all colleagues with dignity and respect in an inclusive and fair working environment. Promote equality of opportunity for all, not only within Ofcom but also the sectors we regulate.
- Footprint and sustainability - reduce our carbon footprint, provide value for money and ensure Ofcom’s practices are environmentally sustainable.
- Volunteering and community - engage, inspire and develop colleagues whilst proactively seeking to support our local community.
Find out more about corporate responsibility at Ofcom.
Ofcom is committed to providing a fair, transparent, impartial and accessible service for all of its stakeholders. However, we have to ensure that we provide a safe working environment for our colleagues and that we are able to work efficiently and effectively.
On occasions, individuals (whether members of the public, or individuals representing an organisation, such as a regulated company or supplier) may make unreasonable demands or demonstrate unreasonable behaviour. Our unacceptable behaviour policy (PDF, 133.0 KB) explains how we may manage contact with that stakeholder.
Ofcom has launched the Information Registry to strengthen the way we collect and manage information from organisations we work with.
In line with section 3.8 of Ofcom's Statement of Charging Principles we publish the following list of Networks & Services providers who pay administrative fees. Listed below are all providers who are liable to pay these fees, as set out in the notice of designation. The fees payable remain confidential to the companies concerned and are based on self-certified relevant turnover submissions for the appropriate calendar year as defined in our Statement of Charging Principles.
Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the Act) requires public authorities, in carrying out their functions relating to Northern Ireland, to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and regard to the desirability of promoting good relations across a range of categories outlined in the Act.
Ofcom takes the fulfilment of its obligations in relation to the Welsh language extremely seriously. We are proud of our commitment and the way in which we integrate the Welsh language into our work on a daily basis – enabling consumers to communicate with Ofcom in the language of their choice, be it in English or Welsh.
Ofcom’s final compliance notice from the Welsh Language Commission carries Ofcom’s full authority, support and approval.
This document states how we intend to comply with the service delivery standards, policy making standards and the operational standards issued to Ofcom by the Welsh Language Commissioner.
Why do we conduct research?
How do we collect data?
Where can I find Ofcom’s research and data publications?
Ofcom will generally not pre-disclose its documents to stakeholders ahead of publication. For further information contact the Ofcom analyst relations manager.
"(a) the provision of electronic communications networks and services and the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum; (b) broadcasting and the provision of television and radio services; (c) media ownership and control; and (d) competition in communications markets."
Why do we keep records?
- Comply with relevant legislation such as the Public Records Act, Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act and the Code of Compliance on Records Management.
- Provide evidence of Ofcom's activities and decision making
- Support and defend Ofcom's position in litigation
- Enhance business efficiency
- Promote collegiality and knowledge sharing
Find out more about records and information management policy at Ofcom.
When we regulate
Ofcom will operate with a bias against intervention, but with a willingness to intervene promptly and effectively where required.
Ofcom will intervene where there is a specific statutory duty to work towards a goal that markets alone cannot achieve.
How we regulate
Ofcom will always seek the least intrusive regulatory methods of achieving its objectives.
Ofcom will strive to ensure that interventions are evidence-based, proportionate, consistent, accountable and transparent in both deliberation and outcome.
Ofcom will regulate with a clearly articulated and publicly reviewed annual plan, with stated objectives.
How we support regulation
Ofcom will research markets constantly and will aim to remain at the forefront of technological understanding.
Ofcom will consult widely with all relevant stakeholders and assess the impact of regulatory action before imposing regulation on a market.
This document sets out the principles under which Ofcom may retain certain amounts which have been paid to it under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. It also sets out why, in Ofcom’s view, the provision made for retaining these amounts is likely to secure that such amounts are objectively justifiable and proportionate to the likely costs which it is practicable for Ofcom to estimate.
Ofcom’s eSourcing Portal is hosted by BravoSolution. Your organisation will require prior registration (only once).