Ofcom - Chair

Body: The Office of Communications (OFCOM)
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Regulation
Location: London
Skills required: Regulation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The appointee will receive appropriate remuneration.
Time Requirements: 3 days a week


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Lord (Terry) Burns selected as Government’s preferred candidate for Chair of Ofcom from 1 January 2018.

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    29/09/2017 at 11:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

About Ofcom

Ofcom is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, telecommunications, wireless communications, radio and postal services. Ofcom is accountable to Parliament but is independent of both Government and those it regulates.

Ofcom operates at the cutting-edge of the digital communications industries in the UK, with a duty to further the interests of citizens and consumers, encouraging and enforcing competition.  It has responsibility for overseeing television and radio broadcasting throughout the United Kingdom including regulating the BBC under its new Charter; it is responsible for the universal service obligation in the postal and telecommunications sectors, ensuring the effective use of spectrum and that a wide range of electronic communications services are available (such as broadband and mobile telephony). Ofcom’s operating budget for the financial year (1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018) is projected to be £121.7 million. Its Annual Plan and Annual Report can be found here.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will be appointing a Chair to replace the current Chair of Ofcom, Dame Patricia Hodgson, who is due to step down at the end of December 2017.

The appointment will be made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointment process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Candidates should be aware that the preferred candidate for the post of Chair will be required to appear before a Parliamentary Select Committee prior to appointment.  

Role of the Board

The Ofcom Board comprises up to twelve Directors (currently six Non-Executive Directors including the Chair and Deputy Chair and three Executive Directors; it is expected that non-executive directors for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be appointed during 2017/2018). The Executive runs the organisation and answers to the Board, while the work of both Board and Executive is informed by the contribution of a number of advisory bodies.

The Office of Communications Act (2002) establishes that Ofcom is synonymous with its Board, and is the main statutory instrument of regulation that gives effect to the regulatory requirements set out in the Communications Act 2003, the Postal Services Act 2011 and the regulatory aspects of the BBC Charter and Agreement.

The Board generally delegates its responsibilities to the Chief Executive and her management team (other than those matters specifically reserved to the Board).  The Board oversees the discharge of those responsibilities, adheres to the principles of good corporate governance and ensures Ofcom’s commitment to carrying out its duties with independence and impartiality. The Board also approves Ofcom’s budget.

The Board acts on a collective basis and operates on the principles of collective responsibility, support and respect. It takes decisions after considering recommendations made to it by the Ofcom Executive, which has operational responsibility and answers to the Board. The work of both the Board and Executive is informed by the contribution of a number of advisory bodies.

The Board meets monthly (except August). Meetings are currently held on a Tuesday normally from 9.00am to 2pm. There are also a number of Board sub-committees on which members are expected to sit.

The Ofcom Board meetings are formally recorded: agendas and notes/minutes of meetings are published regularly on Ofcom’s website. Meetings are usually held at Ofcom’s London offices. Board members, including the Chair, are expected to attend occasional meetings/functions in the devolved Nations.


Person Specification

Role Specification

The Chair will be expected to:

  • Provide leadership to the Board during a period of both change and growth in its membership, bringing together the diverse perspectives and experiences of other Board members to oversee the discharge of Ofcom’s statutory functions, and in particular the operational delivery of the conclusions of the Digital Communications Review and a regulatory framework for the BBC; and
  • Be the most senior representative of Ofcom to its various stakeholders, including its licensees, other regulated entities, the United Kingdom Government and Parliament and the devolved National Governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (working with the relevant Nations’ Board members).


Key Selection Criteria

Candidates will need to demonstrate:

  • the ability to lead the Board of a major national body using sound judgement and decision-making to ensure successful delivery in a highly complex organisation;
  • a strong intellect and the ability to understand the business and economic principles underpinning the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal sectors in the digital environment – it is also desirable, but not essential, for candidates to be already conversant with these particular industries;
  • an appreciation of the needs of UK consumers and citizens and the competitive and consumer dynamics of these fast changing sectors; and
  • the ability to operate with the highest levels of Government as well as to command respect from senior stakeholders in industry.


Personal attributes:

  • In providing leadership to the Board, the Chair will be committed to forging an inclusive and effective board culture, working collegiately with Board members, the effective chairing of meetings, inducting new Board members, ensuring an appropriate structure of board committees is in place and the timely flow of high-quality supporting information to them, and building a positive relationship and an appropriate division of responsibilities with the Chief Executive; and
  • Candidates must demonstrate personal integrity of a high order, and must have stature and authority. They must have demonstrable understanding of Ofcom’s need to make independent judgements under pressure and no conflicts arising from any commercial or political interests.


Additional Information

Term of office

This is a 4 year appointment. The successful candidate must be prepared to commit up to three days per week, and have regards to this when managing any other commitments or roles they may hold. In addition to chairing meetings of the Board, the Chair will be expected to act as the most senior representative of Ofcom to its various stakeholders and to chair the Nominations Committee, serve on the Remuneration Committee and attend the Risk and Audit Committee. Each of the short-listed candidates will have an opportunity to meet Sharon White, the Chief Executive, and Baroness Noakes, the Deputy Chair.


All reasonable and properly documented expenses incurred in performing the duties of these roles will be reimbursed in accordance with Ofcom’s expenses policy.

Further information and Queries

If you would like to speak to someone about the appointment process, please contact Kerry Allison at DCMS, on 020 7211 2813 (email address: kerry.allison@culture.gov.uk). If you would like an informal, confidential discussion about this appointment, please contact our advising consultants at GatenbySanderson, Mark Turner on 020 7426 3983 or Duncan Ewart on 0113 205 6092.

How to Apply

Applicants are invited to submit:

  • A detailed CV (no more than 3 pages) – this should provide details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any publications or awards;
  • A covering letter (no more than 2 pages) – setting out how you meet the criteria – please make sure you refer to the contents of this document;
  • OCPA monitoring form; and
  • Declaration of conflicts of interest form.


The OCPA form will be kept separate from your application and Conflicts of Interest form, and will not be seen by the selection panel in order to meet the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Applications should be submitted through GatenbySanderson’s website via: https://www.gatenbysanderson.com/job/chair-at-ofcom

Should you need any help completing the application please contact Duncan Ewart on 0113 205 6092.

The closing date is 15 September 2017.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates are expected to be held in October 2017.

Conflicts of Interest Form
OCPA Complaints Procedure (2016)
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