Ofcom merges with postal body in quango shake-up


Ofcom merges with postal body in quango shake-up

Alex Scroxton

The government is to merge independent communications regulator Ofcom with its postal service counterpart Postcomm as part of the quango cull announced today.

Ofcom is also to lose powers relating to policy setting, which are to be returned to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and will no longer control decisions related to independent ownership of television franchises, such as ITV and Channel 5, but all its core communications functions will remain.

It will, however, now be allowed to charge fees for satellite filings when made to the International Telecommunications Union.

Speculation had surrounded the future of Ofcom since before the election, and many had anticipated the quango would be cut altogether in today's announcement.

The coalition today published the Postal Services Bill which will provide for the transfer of Postcomm's functions to Ofcom, maintaining its focus on securing a "universal postal service".

In a joint statement, Ofcom and Postcomm said they "looked forward to working together to ensure a smooth transfer of regulatory responsibility, and both are confident this will result in the delivery of an effective price control which will offer regulatory certainty to all stakeholders."

Seperately, two other technology-focused quangos, the Technology Strategy Board and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), have escaped the noose, although NESTA is to become an independent charity.

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