Ofcom’s role, powers and responsibilities

As a society we’re committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all our citizens, and this is reflected increasingly in law.

Ofcom, like all public bodies, is tasked through legislation with promoting equality of opportunity both within our organisation and in the industries we regulate. Our website has more information on how we are doing this within Ofcom.

Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom is required to take the steps it considers appropriate to promote equality of opportunity between men and women, people of different racial groups and for disabled people in employment and training by television and radio broadcasters.

Television and radio broadcasters are required as a condition of their Ofcom licences to make arrangements to promote equality of opportunity in employment for people in these groups and to make arrangements for training. In addition, broadcasters must:

  • take steps to make those affected by the arrangements aware of them;
  • review their arrangements from time to time; and
  • publish observations on the operation and effectiveness of their arrangements, at least annually, in a form the broadcaster considers appropriate.

Reflecting recommendations made in our 2018 Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Television report, we published updated guidance for broadcasters on these requirements which applies from 10 May 2019.

Guidance: Diversity in Broadcasting (PDF, 224.9 KB)

Arweiniad: Amrywiaeth ym maes Darlledu (PDF, 293.1 KB)

The guidance sets out how licensees should achieve their obligations to promote equal opportunities. It will be updated from time to time and broadcasters will be notified of any changes.

Please note that these obligations only affect broadcasters or groups of companies who employ more than twenty people in connection with the provision of licensed services, and are authorised to broadcast for more than 31 days a year.

To help monitor industry’s progress, Ofcom will issue annual requests to broadcasters asking for information on their equal opportunities arrangements, as announced in a speech given by Ofcom’s CEO Sharon White on 1 November 2016.

If you have any queries about Ofcom’s diversity in broadcasting programme of work, please contact diversityinbroadcasting@ofcom.org.uk.