The future of phone-paid services regulation
The Phone-paid Services Authority, the organisation which regulates premium rate services, and Ofcom have announced today that regulatory responsibility will transfer to Ofcom in late 2023, subject to further DCMS approval. From that point, the PSA would cease to operate as an independent body.
The Chairman, David Edmonds said:
“The work of the PSA in recent years has reduced risks to consumer to historically low levels. We introduced in April this year a new set of regulations which further protect consumers. And the industry – both phone companies and service providers - is increasingly conscious of its own responsibility to ensure dubious services are not operated. Complaints to the PSA are down by over 90%. We are also conscious of market trends and as a result the Board decided that future regulation of an industry increasingly dominated by larger players would be better served by an organisation with the capacity and breadth of Ofcom rather than a free-standing body. We already work closely with Ofcom who designate the PSA to deliver the day-to-day regulation of the market, by approving our Code of Practice. We look forward to working with them on this transition.”
This proposed transfer of regulatory responsibilities has been approved by the Ofcom board. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have also agreed for in-depth discussions to continue, meaning a programme of work will begin to effect this change. This will include a statutory process and related consultation later this year, and be subject to final approval from DCMS.
We anticipate that Ofcom will assume responsibility for regulation in the second half of 2023, with PSA staff transferring to Ofcom. Ofcom will look to retain the key components of Code 15 to continue effective regulation in the consumer interest.
PSA regulation and Code 15 will remain in place until the transfer. We will provide further progress updates throughout the period.