Section 17: Membership etc. of the Consumer Panel
56.This section provides for the appointment of the chairman and other members to the Consumer Panel. The power to make all these appointments is conferred on OFCOM, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State. In appointing persons to be members of the Consumer Panel OFCOM must ensure that for each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland there is a different member of the Panel capable of representing the interests and opinions of persons living in those parts of the United Kingdom. Also, OFCOM must seek to ensure that the Panel they appoint will be able to represent the interests of the categories of persons listed in subsection (4), which includes persons living in rural areas, persons living in urban areas, small businesses, the disadvantaged, and the elderly. The Panel have a duty, when carrying out their functions, to have regard to the interests of those persons as well as the interests of persons from different parts of the United Kingdom.
57.All appointments to the Panel will be for a fixed period with provision for re-appointment. Members may be removed from the Panel by notice given by OFCOM, but, again, only with the approval of the Secretary of State. Being a member or employee of OFCOM disqualifies a person from becoming a Panel member.
58.Subsection (9) provides that OFCOM may pay to the chairman and to other members of the Consumer Panel such remuneration and allowances as OFCOM consider appropriate.