Information Registry update – January to April 2021

19 May 2021

The Information Registry has today published an update on its work since December 2020 and its plans for the coming three to six months.

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown from January to April 2021, we have continued to seek to balance timely delivery of Ofcom’s 2020/21 Plan of Work against the challenges faced by stakeholders. Since June 2020, we have provided support to over 1,000 information request notices, involving over 460 stakeholders. We have taken a pragmatic approach to managing information requests (such as accommodating difficulties in responding to deadlines) and have worked closely with project teams to identify, manage, and mitigate peaks of activity. However, we have also taken action where appropriate to ensure companies comply with their obligations.

We continue to work closely with external stakeholders to identify areas where our information gathering processes and procedures can be simplified and improved. Feedback indicates that the team is making a tangible difference to the efficiency of our information gathering activities, and we continue working to identify areas for further improvement.

Registry workplan for 2021/22

Our December 2020 update on the Information Registry’s workplan for 2020/21 focused on three key areas: transparency; ways of working; and compliance. This focus will continue throughout 2021/22. Our progress and next steps in each of these areas is set out below.

Transparency

  • In response to stakeholder feedback, we continue to explore ways to increase the transparency of upcoming information requests. We meet certain larger stakeholders regularly and provide each with a personalised three-month overview of on-going and anticipated upcoming requests. We plan to offer a similar service to other stakeholders who receive multiple information requests annually.
  • With this update we have published a high-level outline of regular information gathering activities for the next six months (see table below). We will look to add to this in the future where possible.
  • We continue to work with teams across Ofcom to proactively identify and manage potential peaks of activity, including taking account of significant informal information requests.
  • Over the next three to six months, we will continue to work closely with project teams to ensure that information and data requested is proportionate, with reasonable timeframes for response, and clearly aligned with Ofcom’s strategic priorities.

Ways of working

  • Since our last update, we have increased the size of our team as well as expanding our support to other teams within Ofcom. We are also preparing to support information gathering in Ofcom’s new areas of responsibility, including network security and online harms, as these take effect.
  • We have acted on feedback from our stakeholders to improve our information gathering processes and are taking steps such as rolling out internal training and guidance on best practice to help increase consistency so far as possible.
  • We are reviewing and revising Ofcom’s policy on information gathering, following our previous consultation on the policy; we expect to issue a revised policy in summer 2021.

Compliance

  • We are seeing improved compliance with information requests across our regulated industries and will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure they respond to our requests fully and on time.
  • At the same time, we have taken action where companies may have failed to meet their statutory obligations, including opening one formal investigation in connection with the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review.
  • We have initiated a cross-industry advocacy programme, including working with industry trade bodies, to explain the importance of compliance with statutory information requests.
  • Over the next three to six months, we will continue to develop our advocacy programme and to take enforcement action where required, to ensure that companies fully understand and comply with their obligations.

Our regular information requests

The table below sets out regular information requests where submissions are due in the period May – October 2021. We will publish more dates in due course. Stakeholders are also likely to receive other information requests in this period to support Ofcom’s work as set out in our annual plan of work.

Information requestSectorStakeholdersSubmission due
General demand for information – annual revenue returnPostPublished on the Ofcom website29 October 2021
2020-21 – Letters volume and revenue dataPostAddressed to specific postal operators3 June 2021
2020-21 – Parcels volume and revenue dataPostAddressed to specific postal operatorsJune/July 2021 (tbc)
Consumer Advocacy Body fees (Ofcom fees)PostAddressed to specific postal operatorsOctober 2021 (tbc)
Annual investment returnTelecomsAddressed to specific fixed and mobile operators30 September 2021
General demand for information – annual revenue returnTelecomsPublished on the Ofcom website30 September 2021
Quarterly telecoms return – FixedTelecomsAddressed to specific fixed operators19 May 2021, 18 August 2021
Quarterly telecoms return – MobileTelecomsAddressed to specific mobile operators19 May 2021, 18 August 2021
Connected Nations – mobile monthly data TelecomsAddressed to specific mobile operators22nd day of every month
Connected Nations – four-monthly coverage submissionTelecomsAddressed to specific fixed and mobile network operators15 June 2021, 13 October 2021
Connected Nations – annual performance/usage informationTelecomsAddressed to specific fixed and mobile network operators30 June 2021
Connected Nations – supplemental questionsTelecomsAddressed to specific fixed and mobile network operatorsSeptember 2021 (tbc)
Connected Nations – Fixed Wireless AccessTelecomsAddressed to specific network operators15 June 2021, 13 October 2021
Nuisance call monthly dataTelecomsAddressed to specific operators21 May 2021, 18 June 2021, 16 July 2021, 20 August 2021
Quarterly TV Access Services data collectionBroadcastingAll eligible TV broadcasters23 July 2021
Monthly transmission dataBroadcastingPublic service broadcasters1st day of every month