Below are details of reports recently published under the OFT's ongoing programme of strategic research.
Commissioning and competition in the public sector
The study will look at commissioning across a range of public services including health, education, welfare and justice, to identify examples of best practice of competitive procurement and to consider the impact of related issues such as payment by results, the role of small and medium sized enterprises and the third sector, and delivery through the mutual model. Where possible, the OFT will also draw parallels with examples of competitive commissioning of private services and will make international comparisons.
The Markets and Households on Low Incomes report provides a review of how people on the lowest incomes are treated in a number of case study markets and identifies reasons for any disadvantages that they suffer compared with people on higher incomes. It considered a range of factors on both the demand and supply sides of these markets which might contribute to any disadvantage.
The report also considers whether people in low income groups have less access to certain 'enabling' products, such as bank accounts and the internet, which provide improved access to other products and whether they are, as a result, disadvantaged in other markets.
This work was undertaken by Europe Economics and the New Policy Institute for the Office of Fair Trading.
Download Markets and Households on Low Incomes (pdf 851kb)
Trading and marketing online (e.g. companies advertising online or selling goods and services online) is growing in scale and changing rapidly. It involves activities which have network effects potentially leading to concentration in some markets that act as gateways for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs1) trading online. This independent research paper from Plum Consulting and Keplar LLP aims to help build the OFT's understanding of the dynamics of online markets by:
In doing this, the research aims to provide context for the consideration of any potential complaints.
The focus is on SMEs and online markets. These findings are based on a literature review and on interviews with key industry participants and a small number of SMEs. This summary discusses findings by section of the value chain then by top-level theme.
See the Online Markets - discussion paper page.
The report details the findings of a websweep of the top 100 UK online retail websites plus the top clothing etailers to assess levels of compliance with key elements of the Distance Selling Regulations.
Key findings include:
Five of the simplest ways businesses can make their websites more compliant with distance selling regulations are by doing the following:
For more information go to www.oft.gov.uk/distanceselling
Press Notice Link
Download Online shopping website compliance with the DSRs Websweep Report 2012 (pdf 430kb)
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