The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published draft guidance on its investigation procedures under the Competition Act 1998. The guidance has been updated to reflect the evolution of the OFT’s current practice. A key development is the inclusion of two new procedural initiatives. The first enables complainants to approach the OFT informally to discuss the merits of a potential complaint before submitting a formal written complaint. The OFT will then give an initial view on the likelihood of opening a formal investigation. Under the second initiative, the OFT proposes informing complainants within four months of receiving a complaint whether it has decided to open a formal investigation. The guidance also gives details of the OFT’s early settlement procedure, according to which a company under investigation will receive a lower penalty where it admits liability. The OFT has invited interested parties to respond to its consultation on the draft by 12 November 2010.