Ofcom’s budget for 2010/11 is 142.5 million GBP. That compares to the legacy regulators’ combined budget of 118.3 million GBP in 2002/03. Now that’s a significant nominal increase, but perhaps a real decrease if you fully buy Ofcom’s spin. It also depends on whether you consider Ofcom’s duties to have changed much since 2002/03. My take: Ofcom still spends far too much for this digital era. The regulator has achieved some easy efficiencies but needs to make much harder choices to lower its total cost to regulated firms and the public.
The grand, withering vision. After the 2005 general election Lord Currie, then chair of Ofcom gave a speech where he stated:
In practice a bias against intervention means that we will try to get out of the way. I have also said that we must encourage innovation and investment in the sector, and the best way to achieve this is by being somewhere else. In essence, an effective regulator must aim to regulate itself out of a job. This withering of regulation will be seen by some as a threat. But I see it as a proper ambition.
Let’s face it, Ofcom appears to have quietly abandoned its ambition. In some respects, the fault lies with Parliament, the government, regulated firms (and even the complaining public). But in many important respects, Ofcom has shown a desire to intervene even where there was no statutory duty and the evidence showed it might have very little real impact with its actions (eg, junk food advertising).
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DCMS Takes a Budget Cut
Based on article from 38minutes.ning.com
Broadcast magazine writes that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to have its budget trimmed by £88m and Ofcom is preparing to have its powers reigned in under the new coalition government’s public spending cuts.
Ofcom is bracing itself for a significant reduction in its powers. Officials are still waiting to hear how the details of the cuts will impact them, but are expecting some of its current responsibilities to be brought into central government in line with the Tories’ pre-election pledge.
Insiders do not expect the body to be scrapped altogether.