UK media regulator Ofcom has announced plans to reduce its staff numbers by one fifth. The 170 jobs will go in response to the coalition government’s Comprehensive Spending Review that requires it to make budget cuts of 30% by 2015.
Following a staff briefing, Ofcom management had opened a 90-day consultation period with staff being invited to take voluntary redundancy.
David Beevers, supervisory official with trade union BECTU, described the move as ill judged: “We believe that the call for these substantial post closures from Content and Standards is ill-judged. These staff help to generate income for the Exchequer through their work on broadcast licences. Other roles, such as HR and legal, are deemed to be out of scope so we’ll be questioning this rationale.”
The regulator is also closing its defined pension scheme.
Quangos – the ‘arm’s length bodies established to run government business – were a significant part of the spending review. In addition to Ofcom’s reduced role, largely affecting the regulation of the UK’s national broadcasters, fees will be imposed on the registration of satellite frequencies. Ofcom will also take on the regulation of the Post Office.
It is expected that further details of Ofcom’s future role will be outlined with the forthcoming publication of its annual plan.