TISC PN18 0607



Telephone: 020 7219 5777/5779

PN 18 of Session 2006-07


The Work of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)

The Trade and Industry Committee today announced a short inquiry into the work of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a non-Ministerial government department. This is one of a sequence of inquiries which the Committee intends to conduct into the DTI's Executive Agencies, NDPBs and associated bodies.

The OFT's purpose is to act as the UK's competition and consumer protection authority. It describes its main tasks as:

  • encouraging businesses to comply with competition and consumer law and to improve their trading practices through self-regulation

  • acting decisively to stop hardcore or flagrant offenders

  • studying markets and recommending action where required

  • empowering consumers with the knowledge and skills to make informed choices and get the best value from markets, and helping them resolve problems with suppliers through Consumer Direct.

During the course of its inquiry the Committee will consider issues such as:

  • The remit of the OFT;

  • How the OFT prioritises its activities;

  • The OFT's performance and accountability;

  • The OFT's relationships with the other bodies involved in consumer protection and regulation of competition, such as sector regulators, Government deaprtments, the courts, the Competition Commission, the European Commission, Local Authority Trading Standards Services, businesses, and consumer organisations; and

  • Any further relevant matters.

The Committee would welcome written evidence on these or any related issues by Friday 20 April 2006. Details of oral evidence hearings will be announced shortly after that date.

If possible, written evidence should take the form of a short memorandum of no more than 4 pages with numbered paragraphs and should be submitted, as a MS Word document, by e mail to tradeindcom@parliament.uk with a single hard copy sent to the Clerk at the address above.

Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail.

For further information please contact the Committee Office on 020 7219 5777/ 5779.

20 March 2007