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UK’s PRS regulator PSA disbanded into Ofcom, a victim of its own success

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The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA), the organisation that regulates premium rate services (PRS) in the UK is to hand its responsibilities over to telecoms regulator Ofcom by late 2023, the organisation has revealed.

Subject to further The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) approval, from that point the PSA will cease to operate as an independent body.

The PSA says that it anticipates Ofcom will assume responsibility for regulation in the second half of 2023, with PSA staff transferring to Ofcom. Ofcom will look to retain the key components of Code 15 to continue effective regulation in the consumer interest. PSA regulation and Code 15 will remain in place until the transfer.

The Chairman, David Edmonds says: “The work of the PSA in recent years has reduced risks to consumer to historically low levels. We introduced in April this year a new set of regulations which further protect consumers. And the industry – both phone companies and service providers – is increasingly conscious of its own responsibility to ensure dubious services are not operated. Complaints to the PSA are down by over 90%. We are also conscious of market trends and as a result the Board decided that future regulation of an industry increasingly dominated by larger players would be better served by an organisation with the capacity and breadth of Ofcom rather than a free-standing body. We already work closely with Ofcom who designate the PSA to deliver the day-to-day regulation of the market, by approving our Code of Practice. We look forward to working with them on this transition.”

This proposed transfer of regulatory responsibilities has been approved by the Ofcom board. The DCMS has also agreed for in-depth discussions to continue, meaning a programme of work will begin to effect this change. This will include a statutory process and related consultation later this year, and be subject to final approval from the DCMS.

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