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Ofcom appoints regulator Bowe to head consumer panel

LONDON - Media regulator Ofcom has appointed Colette Bowe from Thames Water as chair of its consumer panel as it gears up to assume its powers at the end of the year.

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The deputy chairman of Thames Water Utilities will chair the 10 person group, which is tasked with representing the interests of consumers to the Ofcom panel.

Bowe's previous experience in regulatory affairs includes stints as chief executive of the Personal Investment Authority and director of retail regulation at the Securities and Investment Board. She is also the current chair of the Council of Telecoms Ombudsman Service, the alternative dispute resolution service for the telecoms industry, but will relinquish this role on joining Ofcom.

She said that the panel would seek to inform Ofcom's decision-making by representing the interests of consumers and small business: "The consumer panel will be a critical friend to the Ofcom board. It will raise issues of consumer interest, including those affecting rural consumers, the elderly, people with disabilities and those who are on low incomes or otherwise disadvantaged," she said.

The consumer panel will comprise a deputy chairman and a further eight members representing sub-sections of consumers - including a member representing each of the four nations making up the UK.

Ofcom was established by the Communications Act 2003, and assumes the responsibilities of the five existing media regulators - the Broadcasting Standards Commission, Oftel, the Radio Authority and the Radiocommunications Agency.

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