Ofcom publishes its Plan of Work for 2024/2025 prioritising online safety

This article was co-authored by Trainee Solicitor Yanusika Srithar. 

On 15 December 2023, Ofcom, as the new online safety regulator, published its proposed “Plan of Work" for 2024/25” which sets out its key priorities and work programmes for the next financial year. Following the biggest changes to Ofcom’s duties in its 20-year history by the Online Safety Act 2023 (the Act) it is of no surprise that the Plan of Work reflects Ofcom’s mission to drive change in line with the aims and obligations of the Act, making online services safer for all.

In light of Ofcom’s newly obtained powers and duties having officially commenced, Ofcom, in seeking to implement and support stakeholders navigate the new regime, has published a host of information for industry numbers. This includes guidance on the new rules, summaries of Ofcom proposals and consultations, its expected regulatory approach and timelines for the upcoming changes.

Perhaps to be expected, such plans for these new duties and tasks imparted by the Act remain in focus and feature in Ofcom’s plans moving into 2024/2025.

Ofcom’s priority outcomes

The Plan of Work centres on four priority outcomes that Ofcom is aiming to meet over the 2024/2025 financial year:

  • Internet we can rely on - Ofcom will continue to prioritise the development of competitive markets to support investment in gigabit-capable broadband networks and fast mobile services. It will, for example, commence the next Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review into the new year as part of its strategy to promote competition and investment in fibre networks.

  • Media we trust and value - Ofcom will continue to support UK-based Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) media to ensure it remains available and prominent to the public across the nations, but also ensure that PSB is strengthened by way of a further review. It also intends to support the Media Bill reforms which seek to update the legislative framework for PSB and give Ofcom new powers to draft and enforce a Video-on-Demand Code to protect UK audiences from harmful material.

  • We live a safer life online - Ofcom’s aim is to bring transparency and accountability to online service providers, ensuring that they meet their new duties of care to their users under the Act.

  • Enabling wireless services in the wide economy - Ofcom intends to promote efficient use of spectrum and support growth across the economy, by for example, preparing to award spectrum in the 26GHz and 40GHz bands (mmWave spectrum) for mobile use and accelerating innovation in spectrum sharing.

Ofcom’s plans to ensure “we live a safer life online” in the next year

Ofcom’s proposed initiatives for supporting the delivery of “a safer life online”, offer insight into how Ofcom is managing its role for regulating and enforcing the Act’s provisions.

In doing so it refers to implementing the Act as swiftly as possible, consulting on the regulatory architecture and its obligation to publish draft guidance documents and codes of practice which detail the statutory duties arising under the Act.

Following the launch of the first of its four consultations which focused on illegal harm duties, the plans for the next year will include, in Spring 2024, its consultation on codes and guidance relating to the protection of children, with additional regulatory requirements relevant to the largest and most used services to follow in 2025.

To help improve the effectiveness of regulation, Ofcom will continue to build the evidence base around online harms and will continue to cooperate with UK regulators and overseas regulators, for example, through the Global Online Safety Regulators Network, which was co-founded by Ofcom and which Ofcom will chair in 2024.

With regards to video sharing platforms (VSPs) such as TikTok, Snapchat and Twitch, Ofcom will continue to use its full range of enforcement powers to promote compliance with the current regulation regime for VSPs. These will eventually be superseded by the Act’s regime, and that we can expect an updated strategy in this respect to be published in early 2024.

Ofcom will continue to work in addressing media literacy challenges, including how the design of services can impact on users’ ability to participate safely online, across the UK through its “Making Sense of Media” programme. Its efforts will be focussed on those most likely to be harmed by online content, such as children.


Ofcom’s proposed Plan of Work sheds light on the preliminary steps of the phased implementation of the Act, and gives insight to the regulator’s aim, and anticipated steps to be taken, in it seeking to be established as a credible and trusted online safety regulator.

Stakeholders are invited to provide their responses to the consultation by 9 February 2024, following which, the final plan will be published in March 2024.

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