Online Safety Act - Super-Complaints Consultation

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology written statement – made at on 16 November 2023.

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Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology

The government is working at pace to ensure that the new online safety regulatory framework set out in the Online Safety Act is fully operational as quickly as possible. Today we are launching the first consultation related to the Act on the eligible entity criteria and procedure to be used for the super-complaints regime.

Super-complaints will play an essential role within the framework as they will allow for complaints about systemic issues to be assessed by the regulator. They will ensure that Ofcom is made aware of systemic issues users are facing which it may not be aware of otherwise.

To support the implementation of the super-complaints regime, the Secretary of State has the power to make regulations setting out the criteria a body must meet in order to be eligible to submit a super-complaint to Ofcom (the “eligible entity” criteria). The Secretary of State is further required to make provisions about procedural matters related to super-complaints. This can include requirements such as the form and manner of such a complaint, steps that OFCOM must take in relation to it, and time limits for each step.

In developing these regulations, the government’s view is that the eligible entity criteria should allow systemic issues to be raised effectively, while ensuring that super-complaints are high-quality and evidence-based. This approach will focus Ofcom’s resource on genuine problems. Similarly, we are seeking to create a super-complaints procedure which is clear, fair and effective.

In order to ensure that the regulations are informed by the expertise of civil society organisations and the wider public, a full consultation has been launched today and will run for eight weeks. We welcome responses to any, or all, of the proposed questions.

The consultation will use the Qualtrics survey tool. For those unable to access the tool, a PDF copy of the survey is attached.

A copy of the consultation document will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and published on GOV.UK.

Copy of consultation and survey (pdf, 343.9KB)