Broadcast advertising

Ofcom shares responsibility for broadcast advertising with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

There is a statutory duty placed on Ofcom to maintain standards in broadcast advertising. However, better regulation principles that were included in the Communications Act 2003 placed a duty upon Ofcom to pursue alternative forms of regulation where practical. Ofcom took advantage of this provision and established a co-regulatory partnership with the ASA in 2004.

In practice, this means that the ASA system is responsible on a day-to-day basis for broadcast advertising content standards. The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) is responsible for writing and maintaining the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, but Ofcom retains overall sign-off on major changes to the Code. The ASA is responsible for administering the Code, but is able to refer broadcasters to Ofcom for further action, if needed.