Tory plans to limit Ofcom’s power come under attack

David Cameron will move regulator’s policy-making powers back to DCMS.

Cameron: Drive to cut quangos
Cameron: Drive to cut quangos

Critics have thrown cold water over Conservative leader David Cameron’s plans to reduce the policy-making powers of Ofcom as part of a drive to cut quangos, if the Tories win the General Election next year.

In a speech delivered to the think tank Reform this week, Cameron accused quangos of becoming “lobbying organisations” that were making policy, rather than “just delivering policy”.

He said that a Conservative administration would restrict Ofcom to its “narrow technical and enforcement roles”, removing any role in making policy. Cameron added that this remit will be handed back fully to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

But ZenithOptimedia head of investment Chris Hayward says Ofcom has tried to take a positive lead in terms of initiating legislation. “While I haven’t always agreed with its recommendations, at least in the way it has undertaken any reviews or projects has meant that industry stakeholders have been consulted and have had an actual voice,” he says.

“I don’t think that what Cameron is aspiring to is too different to the role Ofcom is occupying now.”

Another media agency executive says Ofcom’s current role is “not too excessive”, adding that “you need to support something like Ofcom to make some really tough calls for the media environment”.

Ofcom’s chief executive is Ed Richards. A spokesman for the regulator says it was “surprised” at being highlighted in the speech.

He claims that since its establishment, it has delivered five consecutive years of real terms budget reductions, reduced headcount by more than 300 people and saved more than £117m in the process – a 21% reduction.

When Ofcom was formed in 2003, it replaced the Independent Television Commission, the Radio Authority, the Office of Telecommunications, the Radiocommunications Agency and the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here