Ofcom merger draws closer

A potential merger of media regulator Ofcom with its postal counterpart has moved one step closer, after being mentioned in a leaked list of quangos under review.

The media regulator and the international news provider BBC World Service are among 94 public bodies included on the list, obtained by The Telegraph.

A report by former deputy chairman of Ofcom Richard Hooper for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, published earlier this month, suggested a consolidation of postal regulator Postcomm with Ofcom.

Business secretary Vince Cable has since accepted Cooper’s recommendations, which would increase Ofcom responsibilities, rather than reducing them.

In a statement the Cabinet Office says: “We are not going to comment on the specific details of a leaked document.”

“The Government has made it clear that it is committed to radically increasing accountability and improving efficiency. As part of this, work is already under way to make substantial reforms to its public bodies.”

Created in 2003, Ofcom is the regulator for media and telecoms in the UK. Its current chief executive is Ed Richards, who was senior policy adviser to Tony Blair on media.

Last July, David Cameron told the think-tank Reform that Ofcom could be stripped of its policy making role, and said he wanted to reduce the number of public funded bodies.

Cameron said Ofcom should stick to the technical function of handing out “the licences and regulating lightly the content that is on the screens.”

The BBC World Service is not funded from the licence fee but from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It said to be already looking to cut costs in anticipation of government cut backs.

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