Communications Act 2003 Explanatory Notes

Section 379: Adaptation of role of OFT in special public interest regime

824.Under the special public interest regime of the EA 2002, where the Secretary of State has intervened in a merger under this regime, the OFT is obliged to prepare a report for the Secretary of State under section 61 of that Act. This section amends section 61 EA 2002 to adapt the role of the OFT in relation to mergers under the special public interest regime where a media public interest consideration has been specified in a special intervention notice.

825.Subsection (2) makes amendments to section 61(3)(b) EA 2002 to provide that the OFT’s duty to provide the Secretary of State with a summary of relevant representations received in relation to public interest considerations mentioned in the special intervention notice does not extend to representations about media public interest considerations. This is to avoid duplication, as OFCOM will have this duty (see section 380) where a media public interest consideration, which is specified in section 58 at the time, has been mentioned in the special intervention notice. The amendments made by this section refer only to considerations specified in sections 58(2A), (2B) and (2C) at the time of the notice, because the special public interest regime has no equivalent to the provisions in the standard public interest regime by which the Secretary of State can intervene on the basis of a new public interest consideration which has not been specified in section 58 (see section 42(3) EA 2002).

826.Subsection (4) adds a new section 61(4A) EA 2002 to ensure that the OFT nonetheless has the power to include such a summary of representations. Such a power might be used, for example, if the OFT received representations after OFCOM had delivered its report, in order to ensure that representations were drawn to the Secretary of State’s attention.

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