Page 2: The Office of Fair Trading
In the UK, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has the job of ensuring that markets are competitive, that firms conduct their business fairly, and that consumers' wishes and interests are properly considered.
The OFT is an independent organisation. Its powers come from consumer and competition legislation, including the Competition Act 1998. It is currently headed by the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) and has a permanent staff of officials. The Director General is appointed by the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry (Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP) and takes overall responsibility for creating a climate of competition in the UK. The OFT is accountable under the law for its actions and always endeavours to be open, fair and transparent in its decisions. However, under the Enterprise Act 2002 these arrangements change, and the powers of the DGFT will be transferred to the OFT Board, of which the DGFT will become the first Chairman.