Ofcom to axe 170 staff as budget is cut by £30m

Ofcom is being forced to shed up to 170 staff, nearly one in five employees, and slash its spending by £30m as part of swingeing cuts to meet the public sector deficit.

Ed Richards: Ofcom chief executive
Ed Richards: Ofcom chief executive

Staff at the media regulator were told of the proposals today by chief executive Ed Richards, who said the organisation needed to "re-focus" because of spending constraints.

The proposal means 170 of Ofcom's 870 staff members will exit. Staff have now entered a 90-day consultation period.

Ofcom has offices in London, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A spokesman for Ofcom said the cuts were across the organisation, though Richard's role as chief executive will not be impacted.

Ofcom currently employs a range of professions, including advisors, administrators, call-centre handlers, and back-office workers. Its current funding cap of £143m will be reduced to £112.7m by 2015 as part of the government-prompted cuts.

It says the reduction will deliver 28.2% real terms savings.

The job and budget cuts follow last week's announcement by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport outlining plans to strip Ofcom of a number of powers as part of the government's efficiency drive, including returning the policy-setting role to the secretary of state.

Richards said: "These are difficult times for everyone in the public sector and it is right that Ofcom plays its part meeting the challenge facing the public finances.

"We also need to re-focus in the light of changing markets and technological developments, and of course in respect of the budgetary constraints. This is why we have taken the initiative and today set out detailed proposals for both reducing expenditure and achieving greater strategic focus and organisational effectiveness.

"I am absolutely confident that Ofcom will emerge leaner, stronger, and fully able to build on its excellent track record of delivering benefits for citizens and consumers."

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