Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 117-119)


MONDAY 27 MAY 2002

  Chairman: Mr Goddard, thank you for being with us. Lord Pilkington has a question.

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford

  117. It is a question asked of your predecessor who was giving evidence—and I do not know if you were here listening. What are the advantages of spectrum management becoming a function of OFCOM rather than being an executive agency in itself? In other words, are you going to benefit from being included in this vast organisation? When the Radio Authority spoke to us they spoke about expertise and the very fine way in which they had managed it and the large number of expert staff they had doing this—a large number I gather.[1] In view of all that, do you think that merging you with OFCOM will be better for us or worse?

  (Mr Goddard) The very straightforward answer is better because a large amount of the radio spectrum and the most valuable part of the radio spectrum significantly underpins the communications broadcasting businesses. As it is at the moment whenever we are either looking for new spectrum for telecommunications or broadcasting or re-engineering or re-farming that spectrum, we have to work very closely with the regulatory bodies and parts of government. I think this arrangement with OFCOM will produce a much more coherent policy.

  118. Might you be cutting staff? If the Radio Authority needs so many, are you going to keep all your expertise in this new body or will there be economies of scale and would it be a good thing?
  (Mr Goddard) There might be some economies of scale at the margins in terms of common services, but in terms of the detailed management of the radio spectrum, the Government's White Paper made it clear that all our functions should transfer to OFCOM, so we believe more or less the resources we have now would continue through into OFCOM.

  119. You are saying in words of one syllable that you must keep your present staffing at least?
  (Mr Goddard) At least in the early days. I have not got a crystal ball in the future. We have contracted out services in the past and we may be able to do so in the future. I think the activities we carry out now will transfer entirely to OFCOM.

1   20 to 25. See Q 63. Back

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