§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what preparations are being made by Oftel in respect of his responsibilities under the Competition Act 1998; what increase in staff is required; and what action is being taken to co-ordinate policy with the Director General of Fair Trading. 
§ Mr. Wills
[holding answer 22 March 1999]: Oftel is a member of the Concurrency Working Party, which is chaired by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and is working to ensure that a consistent approach is being taken by all regulators. A guideline "Concurrent Application to Regulated Industries", which deals with how regulators work with the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) and with each other, has been produced by the Concurrency Working Party and issued by the DGFT. Oftel has also published draft guidelines on how the Competition Act will be applied in the telecommunications sector, and the final version is to be published in May. A compliance forum for the industry is to take place at the end of April 1999. In February, the DTI issued a consultation document, "Concurrency: consultation on the possible need and scope for regulations".
Oftel has put in place a structured training programme to ensure that staff are prepared for the coming into force of the Act, and is also participating in the training programme organised by the OFT. The issue of whether additional staff are required is reviewed regularly. Oftel has not yet bid for more staff.