OFT Transparency Statement
On 27 May 2010 we published our transparency statement. The statement sets out our commitments to those involved and interested in our work in terms of how we will engage and what information we will provide throughout the life of a case or project.
Summarised below are certain changes we have made since May 2010 to our investigation procedures in cases under the Competition Act 1998, to the extent that these amend the processes detailed in our transparency statement. The transparency statement should be read in conjunction with these amendments.
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The OFT transparency statement (2010)
The OFT's transparency commitments, as set out in our transparency statement (pdf 267kb), came into force on 1 July 2010.
In summary, the statement outlines our commitment to:
- consistently provide parties with information at the start of an enforcement action, including OFT investigation team contact details and timescale information
- regularly update parties on case status and timescales, including, where appropriate, providing draft information requests in advance of issuing them formally and sharing provisional thinking
- provide better information on our website relating to project and case work (where they are in the public domain)
- provide summaries of our completed work on our website together with more performance data in our Annual Report, and
- strive to maintain our values and attitudes which are in line with the principles of good administration.
We ask those who work with us to hold us to account if we fail to meet expectations. We will aim to put things right or as far as possible explain why we cannot meet our commitment. If you wish to raise any issues in relation to our transparency, visit our Complaint procedures against the OFT page.
To read the Summary of Responses to our consultation please go to the transparency consultation page.
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Updated Competition Act 1998 investigation processes since publication of the OFT transparency statement (October 2012)
At the time our transparency statement was published we had recently started a project to produce procedural guidelines for Competition Act investigations. That procedural guidance was first published in May 2011, and updated in October 2012.
The procedural guidance, as updated, sets out certain procedures that we will follow in Competition Act cases, which differ from those described in our transparency statement. As a result, in relation to Competition Act cases, the transparency statement should read in conjunction with that updated Competition Act procedural guidance
Among other changes, the Competition Act procedural guidance provides in particular that:
- Once a formal Competition Act investigation is opened and the parties informed of this, we will generally publish on our website a case opening notice containing basic details of the case, including the administrative timetable for the case.
- This procedure updates, for Competition Act cases, the position described in paragraphs 3.43 - 3.44 of the transparency statement.
- Case opening notices for our current Competition Act cases can be found on our OFT Current Cases page.
- We will offer parties 'state of play' meetings with the case team to ensure they are aware of the stage the investigation has reached (including the likely timing of next steps), and, generally, to share our provisional thinking on a case.
- Formal complainants have the opportunity to become involved at key stages of our investigation.
- Parties to formally opened Competition Act investigation may apply to the OFT's Procedural Adjudicator for determination of a procedural complaint, where they have made a complaint to the Senior Responsible Officer and are dissatisfied with the decision taken by the Senior Responsible Officer in that regard.
- Only certain categories of procedural dispute fall within the Procedural Adjudicator's remit. Details on those categories and on how to apply to the Procedural Adjudicator for a review of a procedural decision are available on our Procedural Adjudicator trial page. For disputes in Competition Act cases falling outside the Procedural Adjudicator's remit, the options to pursue the complaint set out in our transparency statement continue to apply.
- The diagram below explains how the Procedural Adjudicator process amends and interrelates to the complaint handling processes set out in the transparency statement.
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Full information on our revised Competition Act procedures can be found on our Competition Act 1998 Procedures Guidance page.
Further details of the Procedural Adjudicator trial are available on our Procedural Adjudicator trial page.
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The OFT's senior transparency champion is: Paul Latham, Director of Communications (020 7211 8602 firstname.lastname@example.org).