Our regulatory approach, our current priorities and FY2020/21 Business Plan and Budget

27 March 2020

The global Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented. At the PSA, we are acutely aware that this crisis has presented significant challenge and strain on people, families, organisations and businesses.

We are conscious that we need to act as proportionately and pragmatically as ever at this time. And we seek to do this in all that we do. We are in dialogue with many of you about how we can support you in delivering good services to consumers.

Compliance, however, remains critical given the effect that non-compliant activities can have on consumers. We will continue to investigate and enforce according to our prioritisation principles. Indeed, consumers need assurance that where providers disregard their responsibilities, especially those resulting in significant consumer harm, we will act quickly and decisively.

Our current priorities

We remain committed to delivering our core regulatory functions as best we can. Our contact centre remains open, our compliance and industry support function is operating effectively and we will continue our investigations and enforcement activity. 

However, we are aware that resources may be stretched at the moment. With this in mind, and in line with the practice of fellow regulators including Ofcom, we have been assessing our current policy priorities. We have decided to:

1) Extend our Review of our Code of Practice programme by 3 months: Our policy priority is developing our next Code of Practice. We are actively seeking input from stakeholders through various stakeholder activities ahead of our formal consultation process to help inform the development of the new Code. We want to ensure that all stakeholders have ample opportunity to engage with us in the development of the new Code. This includes the following:

  • Our Code Discussion Document is currently open for feedback. We are providing you with an extra 12 weeks to respond to it. The new deadline for responses is 02 July 2020. If you are able to submit your response in advance of the new deadline, this will help our consideration. However, this is not a consultation on detailed proposals, so subject to consideration of feedback we receive there will be a further opportunity to provide input later in the process if you cannot do so at this time.

  • Following our decision to cancel the forum, we are hosting a series of 5 webinars to seek your input into our early development work, which many of you have already signed up to. We will also be engaging with many of you directly and through further virtual workshops in the coming months. Details will follow soon.

    It is likely this will have an impact on the published milestones for the review of our Code of Practice. We are still considering what the likely impact of this will be but, in light of this extension, we are now anticipating publishing our consultation document in early 2021. After that we plan to issue our Statement in late Summer 2021. Our intention remains that the new Code would still take effect by the end of 2021.

2) Suspend our statement on refunds guidance. Following our consultation on new refunds guidance in January, we have decided to suspend this workstream.

3) Put on hold a consultation on revised DDRAC guidance. We have been developing revised Due Diligence, Risk Assessment and Control (DDRAC) guidance to clarify our expectations. However, given that we currently have existing adequate DDRAC guidance in place, we have decided to place this workstream on hold.

 

Business plan and budget

We are pleased to announce that our business plan and budget for FY2020/21 has been approved by Ofcom, following public consultation. Our budget for FY2020/21 remains flat in real terms, resulting in an adjusted levy requirement on the networks of 0.36%. We have managed to reduce our budget by 21% in real terms over the last 5 years and we have maintained the amount to be funded by levy at £1.8m for the fourth year in a row.

Although the business plan was formulated prior to the current crisis, it is still wholly relevant in terms of the regulatory approach we need to take in the next twelve months – including developing a new Code of Practice. 

However, we will keep our business plan under constant assessment, recognising that we may need to reprioritise the delivery and timing of some of our planned activity.  We will of course keep you fully informed of any changes.

On a practical note

As we previously announced, we are now all remote working for the foreseeable future. We are therefore unable to accept postal correspondence during this period. Where possible, we ask that any communication to us is electronic in the first instance.