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PhonepayPlus publishes Levy and revised Business Plan and Budget for 2016/17 following consultation

14 March 2016

PhonepayPlus Budget is £3.995m, a reduction of £500,000 (11%) in real terms compared with the forecast for 2015/16.
Adjusted levy for 2016/17 will be 0.63%.
Funding model to be reviewed in 2016/17 in light of PRS industry feedback.

PhonepayPlus today publishes its Business Plan and Budget for 2015/16, following consultation with industry and formal approval by Ofcom.

The Business Plan and Budget for 2016/17 sets out PhonepayPlus’ ambition to work with industry for a healthy, innovative market while ensuring proper levels of consumer protection are maintained. These plans are set out in the full document and its executive summary.

The levy and a levy funding model review in 2016/17
The adjusted levy has been set at 0.63%. The revised levy will apply from 1 April 2016. The adjusted income is the amount PhonepayPlus is required to levy once the costs of regulation are offset by other income such as fines.

The regulator proposes to review its current levy-based funding model and to explore through constructive engagement with industry whether an alternative approach would better deliver agreed funding criteria. In particular, the review would seek to identify a funding model that emphasized the independence of PhonepayPlus’ operating costs from the level of fines and administration charges applied through regulation. Further information on how the levy is calculated can be found in the Business Plan and Budget documents.

Efficiency savings
The final Business Plan and Budget reflects on feedback and includes further budget savings which have reduced the scale and scope of some planning, but do not compromise PhonepayPlus’ capability to deliver its required regulatory functions.

Prior to the consultation, cost savings of £226,000 had been identified through relocating to cheaper offices, planned improvements to IT and business systems allowing reduced costs, and organisational development work.

The regulator has now identified further savings of £274,000. These include further reductions in IT systems and people costs, a reduced level of budgeted external legal advice, a new approach to consumer engagement and halting the PhoneBrain film competition, and a reduction in the policy budget.

The total real-term savings of £500,000 make a total budget of £3.995m for 2016/17 (£4.444m in 2015/16). This brings the overall real-term reduction to 11%.

The Registration Scheme
The registration fee will remain unchanged at £155 + VAT and exemptions will remain the same.

Registration is mandatory for most providers operating in the premium rate market and sits alongside the Code of Practice. The benefits of the Registration Scheme to the industry and PhonepayPlus include: providing transparency of the market, assistance in Due Diligence Risk Assessment and Control, easy access for consumers to customer care arrangements.

We will continue to support both charities and new entrants (in their first year of operation) in bringing innovation to the market with an exemption from Registration Scheme charges.

Key Links
Statement by PhonepayPlus and responses received following its consultation published in December 2015
The Business Plan and Budget following consultation
Registration Frequently Asked Questions
Arrangements as to the payment, adjustment and auditing of the levy are set out in Annex 1 to the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice
Arrangements as to registration and the registration fee, including exemptions, are set out in paragraph 3.4 of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice