The Communications Act 2003 places a duty on Ofcom to secure the availability of Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes for domestic and small business customers. In accordance with General Condition 14.5, all communications providers are required to participate in an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme. In a consultation document published in May 2012, Ofcom set out their view that some aspects of the schemes were leading to inconsistent outcomes for consumers, contrary to the requirements of the 2003 Act. In particular, these were due to discrepancies between the two available schemes: Ombudsman Services Communications (OS) and Communication and Internet Services Adjudication Schemes (CISAS).

Ofcom have decided to address this issue by modifying the conditions for their approval of the schemes. This involves the introduction of a new condition of approval, which requires that the Schemes adopt a common set of ‘Decision Making Principles’, including the development by each of guidelines on awarding compensation.

For more information please go to: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/adr-review- 12/statement/statement.pdf