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The Panel's remit

The Communications Consumer Panel is an independent panel of eight experts who work to protect and promote people’s interests in the communications sector. We were established by the Communications Act 2003 as the independent, policy advisory body on consumer interests in telecommunications, broadcasting and spectrum markets (with the exception of content issues).

The Panel carries out research, provides advice and encourages Ofcom, Government, the EU, industry and others to look at issues through the eyes of consumers, citizens and small businesses.

The Panel pays particular attention to the needs of older people and people with disabilities, the needs of people in rural areas and people on low incomes, and the needs of small businesses, which face many of the same problems as individual consumers. There are four members of the Panel who represent the interests of consumers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales respectively. They liaise with the key stakeholders in the Nations to understand the perspectives of consumers in all parts of the UK and input these perspectives to the Panel’s consideration of issues.

There is also cross-membership with Ofcom’s Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People (ACOD). This means that Members, in their ACOD capacity, also provide advice to Ofcom on issues relating to older and disabled people including television, radio and other content on services regulated by Ofcom as well as about issues concerning the postal sector.

The Panel engages with stakeholders to inform the advice that it gives to Ofcom and helps to keep the interests of consumers, citizens and small businesses on the agenda across the sector. The Panel also engages with a range of other organisations working on behalf of these constituencies - including those representing older and disabled people.

The Panel is often described as a ‘critical friend’ to Ofcom. We provide robust and independent advice that is constructive, realistic and cognisant of the trade-offs which regulatory decisions often involve. This is made possible by the fact that Ofcom shares information and ideas with the Panel early in the regulatory process, before consulting formally with other stakeholders. This enables us to give strategic advice on policies early on in their development to ensure consumer interests are built into Ofcom's decision-making from the outset.

If you have any difficulties accessing content on this page, please email us at contact@communicationsconsumerpanel.org.uk