Ofcom cleanout sees 50 per cent redundancy of regulator lawyers

Ofcom, the new super-regulator for the media and communications industry, has made half of the senior lawyers from the existing five regulators redundant.

The experienced and well-respected pair Sebastian Farr, head of legal at Oftel, and Eve Salomon, head of legal at the Radio Authority, are seeking new jobs. Salomon worked as interim secretary at Ofcom assisting the board with pre-merger preparations, but has not been offered a post-merger role.

As revealed in The Lawyer (17 November), Ofcom handed senior legal roles to Denton Wilde Sapte head of competition Polly Weitzman, who becomes head of competition, former HMV general counsel Graham Howell, who becomes Ofcom secretary, and Peter Susman QC of 2 Harcourt Buildings, who has been retained as an independent standing counsel.

Paul Ferguson, the head of legal services at the Broadcasting Standards Commission, has bagged a role as number two to Howell.

The senior counsel at the Independent Television Co-mmission was Trevor Barnes, an associate on secondment from Simmons & Simmons, whose position at Ofcom has not yet been finalised.

The Radiocommuni-cations Agency was staffed by lawyers from the Department of Trade and Industry.

An Ofcom spokesperson commented: “There’s clearly duplication of roles when you merge five organisations into one. Ofcom is leaner and our costs are lower than the combined total of the five existing regulators.”

He said that of Ofcom’s 880 employees, 750 came from the existing regulators, which employed 1,200 staff. Those not working at Ofcom have taken voluntary redundancy, been made redundant or have joined the civil service.