David Hickson's Silent Calls Victim Blog

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Monday, 25 January 2010

Response to BIS Consultation on increase to maximum penalty for Silent Calls

My response to the consultation is now submitted and published here.

I aim to point out that the maximum level of the potential financial penalty has little to do with Ofcom's failure to discharge its duty to citizens and what was demanded of it by parliament when the penalty was increased previously -

"We expect you to use your powers to eradicate the nuisance of Silent Calls".

I point out the following:
  • Ofcom has not been using its powers properly.
  • Ofcom's policy is for a limited tolerance of Silent Calls.
  • Ofcom pretends to hold powers of regulation which do not exist.
  • The BIS Department should not have proceeded with meeting Ofcom's request for an increase to the maximum penalty without looking closely at Ofcom's policy and the way it was being implemented.
  • Parliament will be urged to reject a BIS proposal to grant Ofcom's request if it comes forward with no further assurances about changes to the present Ofcom policy.
I repeat a previously declined request to engage in detailed discussions about the issue. The purpose of these would be to expand as necessary on the content of my response and to discuss what may need to be done to ensure that a BIS proposal could be put before parliament in a way that could be found acceptable.

As the proposition in the consultation is expressed as being tougher on Silent Callers it is unlikely to be rejected. There are inevitably very few who are aware of the actual nature of Ofcom's powers and the way in which these are being misused.

The body of my response contains no reference to the fact that the proposal being addressed came from a former employee of Ofcom, who had taken the constitutionally questionable role of an temporary ennobled Minister in the Department.

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