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.

We published guidance for broadcasters in 2006 ((PDF, 43.6 KB)) on these requirements. We are currently in the process of updating this. Note that these obligations only affect broadcasters or groups of companies who employ more than twenty people in connection with the provision of the licensed service, and operate for more than 31 days a year.

As announced in a speech given by Ofcom’s CEO Sharon White on 1st Nov 2016,  we will be asking broadcasters for information on their arrangements in early 2017. More detail on what this will entail will be shared with broadcasters later this year.