About us

The Communications Consumer Panel, established by the Communications Act 2003, is a
group of independent experts with direct sectoral experience, supported by a small team. We ensure
the citizen and consumer voice is represented in communications policy development. The Panel’s job
is to ensure that the sector works for consumers, citizens and micro businesses - and in particular
people who may be in a more vulnerable position in society.

The communications sector is a highly technical and fast-moving market - and one that impacts
across society and the economy. As a result, the Panel’s work is diverse and broad, covering not
just telecommunications such as broadband and mobile services and spectrum (mobile and TV airwaves), but also postal services, broadcasting (accessibility; portrayal and representation) and digital inclusion. The sector presents different challenges to those in utilities sectors such as energy and water; in many ways it is closest to financial services in its complexity, vast range of providers and related competitiveness.

Citizen and consumer challenge and advocacy

When we anticipate consumer detriment, or identify it occurring, we work with those who can make a
difference – Ofcom, communications providers and UK and national governments. Our sector specialism
and expertise mean we can challenge in a constructive environment, offer comprehensive advice and
influence the development of policy so it delivers for consumers and citizens.

We act as a “critical friend” to Ofcom, rather than a campaigning organisation. Our unique
relationship with Ofcom, made possible by a Memorandum of Understanding, gives us early,
confidential access to the regulator’s thinking and means we can proactively influence decisions.
By Ofcom sharing information and ideas in confidence with us from the very start of policy making,
we can make early, robust, high quality interventions, ensuring that consumer and citizen interests
are at the heart of Ofcom’s thinking throughout. The level of trust we have fostered in the sector
enables us to effectively influence communications providers and the regulator, and to hold Ofcom
to account where appropriate.

The Panel works collaboratively with stakeholders to inform the advice that it gives and to help
protect and promote consumers’ interests across the sector – including strong representation on the
Panel from the devolved nations. We encourage stakeholders to look at issues through the eyes of
people who use – or are excluded from using - communications services. We work collaboratively with an extensive network of stakeholders and give insight to businesses, regulators and Government.

After consultation, we have published our 2019/20 work plan.