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Communications Bill


Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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     (7)    Arrangements made by OFCOM for the purposes of this section may include

arrangements for the carrying out of research in one or more of the following

ways—

           (a)           by members or employees of OFCOM;

           (b)           by the Content Board;

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           (c)           in accordance with arrangements made by that Board;

           (d)           by persons who are neither members nor employees of OFCOM.

     (8)    In this section references to the publication of anything by means of the

electronic media are references to its being—

           (a)           broadcast so as to be available for reception by members of the public

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or of a section of the public; or

           (b)           distributed by means of an electronic communications network to

members of the public or of a section of the public.

     (9)    This section does not restrict OFCOM’s power to make any arrangements they

consider to be incidental or conducive to the carrying out of any of their

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functions.

 14    Duty to publish and take account of research

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM—

           (a)           to publish the results of any research carried out by them or on their

behalf under section 13; and

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           (b)           to consider and, to such extent as they think fit, to take account of the

results of such research in the carrying out of their functions.

     (2)    OFCOM is not required under this section—

           (a)           to publish any matter that is confidential in accordance with subsection

(3) or (4); or

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           (b)           to publish anything that it would not be reasonably practicable to

publish without disclosing such a matter.

     (3)    A matter is confidential under this subsection if—

           (a)           it relates specifically to the affairs of a particular body; and

           (b)           publication of that matter would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion,

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seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that body.

     (4)    A matter is confidential under this subsection if—

           (a)           it relates to the private affairs of an individual; and

           (b)           publication of that matter would or might, in OFCOM’s opinion,

seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual.

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     (5)    The publication of research under this section must be in such manner as

OFCOM consider appropriate.

 15    Consumer consultation

     (1)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM to establish and maintain effective arrangements

for consultation about the carrying out of their functions with—

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           (a)           consumers in the markets for the services and facilities in relation to

which OFCOM have functions;

           (b)           consumers in the markets for apparatus used in connection with any

such services or facilities;

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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           (c)           consumers in the markets for directories capable of being used in

connection with the use of an electronic communications network or

electronic communications service.

     (2)    The arrangements must include the establishment and maintenance of a panel

of persons (in this Act referred to as “the Consumer Panel”) with the function

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of advising both—

           (a)           OFCOM; and

           (b)           such other persons as the Panel think fit.

     (3)    The arrangements must secure that the matters about which the Consumer

Panel are able to give advice include the interests of domestic and small

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business consumers in relation to the following matters—

           (a)           the provision of electronic communications networks;

           (b)           the provision and making available of the services and facilities

mentioned in subsection (4);

           (c)           the supply of apparatus designed or adapted for use in connection with

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any such services or facilities;

           (d)           the supply of directories capable of being used in connection with the

use of an electronic communications network or electronic

communications service;

           (e)           the financial and other terms on which such services or facilities are

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provided or made available, or on which such apparatus or such a

directory is supplied;

           (f)           standards of service, quality and safety for such services, facilities,

apparatus and directories;

           (g)           the handling of complaints made by persons who are consumers in the

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markets for such services, facilities, apparatus or directories to the

persons who provide the services or make the facilities available, or

who are suppliers of the apparatus or directories;

           (h)           the resolution of disputes between such consumers and the persons

who provide such services or make such facilities available, or who are

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suppliers of such apparatus or directories;

           (i)           the provision of remedies and redress in respect of matters that form

the subject-matter of such complaints or disputes;

           (j)           the information about service standards and the rights of consumers

that is made available by persons who provide or make available such

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services or facilities, or who are suppliers of such apparatus or

directories;

           (k)           any other matter appearing to the Panel to be necessary for securing

effective protection for persons who are consumers in the markets for

any such services, facilities, apparatus or directories.

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     (4)    Those services and facilities are—

           (a)           electronic communications services;

           (b)           associated facilities;

           (c)           directory enquiry facilities;

           (d)           a service consisting in the supply of information for use in responding

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to directory enquiries or of an electronic programme guide; and

           (e)           every service or facility not falling within any of the preceding

paragraphs which is provided or made available to members of the

public—

                  (i)                 by means of an electronic communications network; and

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Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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                  (ii)                in pursuance of agreements entered into between the person by

whom the service or facility is provided or made available and

each of those members of the public.

     (5)    The matters about which the Consumer Panel are to be able to give advice do

not include matters that concern the contents of anything which is or may be

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broadcast or otherwise transmitted by means of electronic communications

networks.

     (6)    The arrangements made by OFCOM under this section must also secure that

the Consumer Panel are able, in addition to giving advice on the matters

mentioned in subsection (3), to do each of the following—

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           (a)           at the request of OFCOM, to carry out research for OFCOM in relation

to any of the matters in relation to which OFCOM have functions under

section 13;

           (b)           to make arrangements for the carrying out of research into such other

matters appearing to the Panel to be relevant to the carrying out of the

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Panel’s functions as they think fit;

           (c)           to give advice to OFCOM in relation to any matter referred to the Panel

by OFCOM for advice;

           (d)           to publish such information as the Panel think fit about the advice they

give, about the carrying out of the Panel’s other functions and about the

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results of research carried out by them or on their behalf.

     (7)    It shall be the duty of OFCOM, in the carrying out of their functions, to

consider and, to such extent as they think appropriate, to have regard to—

           (a)           any advice given to OFCOM by the Consumer Panel; and

           (b)           any results notified to OFCOM of any research undertaken by that

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Panel.

     (8)    It shall also be the duty of OFCOM (subject to subsection (9))—

           (a)           to provide the Consumer Panel with all such information as, having

regard, in particular, to the need to preserve commercial

confidentiality, OFCOM consider appropriate to disclose to the Panel

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for the purpose of enabling the Panel to carry out their functions; and

           (b)           to provide the Panel with all such further information as the Panel may

require.

     (9)    OFCOM is not required to provide information by virtue of subsection (8)(b)

if, having regard to—

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           (a)           the need to preserve commercial confidentiality, and

           (b)           any other matters that appear to OFCOM to be relevant,

            it is reasonable for OFCOM to refuse to disclose it to the Panel.

     (10)   It shall be the duty of OFCOM, in the case of any advice or opinion received

from and published by the Panel which OFCOM propose to disregard in whole

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or in part, or with which OFCOM disagree in whole or in part—

           (a)           to ensure that the Panel know OFCOM’s reasons for disregarding or

disagreeing with the advice or opinion; and

           (b)           to ensure that those reasons are or have been published in such manner

as OFCOM consider appropriate for bringing them to the attention of

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persons who are aware of the Panel’s advice or opinion.

     (11)   In this section—

                    “domestic and small business consumer” means a person who—

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

    18

 

                  (a)                 is a consumer in the market for services or facilities mentioned

in subsection (4) or for apparatus designed or adapted for use in

connection with any such services or facilities; but

                  (b)                 is neither—

                      (i)                     a communications provider or a person who makes

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associated facilities available; nor

                      (ii)                    a person who is a consumer in the market in respect of an

undertaking carried on by him for which more than ten

individuals work (whether as employees or volunteers or

otherwise);

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                    “electronic programme guide” means a service which consists of—

                  (a)                 the listing or promotion, or both the listing and the promotion,

of some or all of the programmes included in any one or more

programme services the providers of which are or include

persons other than the provider of the guide; and

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                  (b)                 a facility for obtaining access, in whole or in part, to the

programme service or services listed or promoted in the guide.

 16    Membership etc. of the Consumer Panel

     (1)    The members of the Consumer Panel shall be appointed by OFCOM and shall

comprise a chairman and such other members as OFCOM may determine.

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     (2)    The approval of the Secretary of State is required for the appointment of a

person to be the chairman or to be another member of the Panel.

     (3)    In appointing persons to be members of the Consumer Panel, OFCOM must

secure that, for each of the following parts of the United Kingdom—

           (a)           England,

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           (b)           Scotland,

           (c)           Wales, and

           (d)           Northern Ireland,

            there is a different member of the Panel capable of representing the interests

and opinions of persons living in that part of the United Kingdom.

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     (4)    In appointing persons to be members of the Consumer Panel, OFCOM must

secure, so far as practicable, that the Panel are able to give informed advice

about matters referable to each of the following—

           (a)           the interests of persons living in rural areas;

           (b)           the interests of persons living in urban areas;

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           (c)           the interests of small businesses;

           (d)           the interests of disadvantaged persons, persons with low incomes and

persons with disabilities; and

           (e)           the interests of the elderly.

     (5)    The validity of any proceedings of the Consumer Panel shall not be affected by

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any failure by OFCOM to comply with subsection (3) or (4).

     (6)    It shall be the duty of the Consumer Panel, in carrying out their functions, to

have regard to the following interests—

           (a)           the interests of persons from the different parts of the United Kingdom;

and

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           (b)           the interests specified in subsection (4).

 

 

Communications Bill
Part 1 — Functions of OFCOM

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     (7)    A person shall be disqualified from being the chairman or a member of the

Consumer Panel if he is a member or employee of OFCOM.

     (8)    The chairman and every member of the Consumer Panel—

           (a)           shall be appointed for a fixed period specified in the terms of his

appointment but shall be eligible for re-appointment at the end of that

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period; and

           (b)           may at any time be removed from the Panel by a notice given by

OFCOM with the approval of the Secretary of State.

     (9)    OFCOM may pay to the chairman and to any other member of the Consumer

Panel such remuneration and allowances as OFCOM consider appropriate.

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 17    Committees and other procedure of the Consumer Panel

     (1)    The Consumer Panel may make such arrangements as they think fit for

committees established by the Panel to give advice to them about matters

relating to the carrying out of the Panel’s functions.

     (2)    The Consumer Panel may make such other arrangements for regulating their

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own procedure, and for regulating the procedure of the committees

established by them, as they think fit.

     (3)    Those arrangements may include arrangements as to quorums and as to the

making of decisions by a majority.

     (4)    The committees established by the Panel may include committees the

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membership of which includes persons (including persons constituting a

majority of the committee) who are not members of the Panel.

     (5)    The membership of every committee established by the Consumer Panel must

contain at least one person who is a member of the Panel.

     (6)    Where a person who is not a member of the Consumer Panel is a member of a

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committee established by the Panel, OFCOM may pay to that person such

remuneration and expenses as OFCOM may determine.

 18    Power to amend remit of Consumer Panel

     (1)    The Secretary of State may by order modify subsection (3) of section 15 so as to

add to the matters about which the Consumer Panel are required to be able to

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give advice.

     (2)    Before making an order under this section the Secretary of State must consult

OFCOM and such other persons as he thinks fit.

     (3)    No order is to be made containing provision authorised by this section unless

a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a

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resolution of each House.

     (4)    The power to amend or revoke an order under this section does not include

power to provide for a matter to cease to be a matter about which the

Consumer Panel are required to be able to give advice.

 

 

 
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