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EAB Overview: August 2017

The EAB met in July and had presentations from BT and Openreach, as well as the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator 2 (OTA2).

Presentations

BT presented to us on its plans to establish a BT Compliance Body, as set out in its March 2017 notification to Ofcom. BT’s intention is to transition the EAB’s work to this body and the Openreach Board Audit Risk & Compliance Committee (OBARCC). We are already reporting quarterly to the OBARCC, to ensure members are informed of current issues, and we are now reviewing what we should report to the BT Compliance Body once it is established. We will continue our work with rigour until we receive formal notification that BT and Ofcom have agreed that the EAB can be disbanded.

Rod Smith and David Halliday of the OTA2 shared with us their views on the current performance of Openreach, particularly for Ethernet, and industry progress in reviewing the Ethernet Service Level Agreement / Guarantee (SLA/G) regime. We discussed the ongoing work of the OTA2 and EAO to review Openreach Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are of particular interest to industry and noted that Copper/Fibre Provision Early Life Failures (ELFs) were the subject of the latest review. We agreed with Rod and David that this work was valuable and should continue after the EAB’s disbanding and will work to ensure this is the case.

Undertakings training

Earlier this year, we asked Group Internal Audit to undertake a review of the end to end processes in place to compile mandatory training figures, specifically those reported by the EAB. Group Internal Audit validated that 98.4% of all people who are in scope for the mandatory Undertakings training (based on the in-scope parameters applied by BT) had actually completed their training and we reported this figure in our 2017 annual report. The audit did, however, identify a number of control weaknesses in the assignment of training. We will discuss the actions taken to remedy these with BT at our November 2017 meeting, when we are also due to receive a presentation on work BT is doing to assess how it might measure the effectiveness of its mandatory training.

Delivery of systems milestones

BT reported to us that it continues to progress migrations in line with its forecasts.

Breaches

In our July meeting, we came to a final conclusion on one breach case, which we had provisionally reviewed in April and reported in our annual report. Having received the formal notification from BT, we confirmed that this was a non-trivial breach.

 

Description

Status

Remedy

A BT compliance review of Openreach systems identified a number of non-compliant user accesses

Non-Trivial

BT reports that all non-appropriate user profiles have been removed from all systems. The BT User Access Audit Tool (UAAT) will monitor access to all relevant Openreach systems going forward.

Discretion cases

We discussed two potential breach cases and agreed to grant our discretion not to investigate either of them further at this time.

The first concerned a network component over which a query had arisen that it may need to be re-classified as an Operational Support System and therefore might require physical separation under the Undertakings. We noted that there were technical controls in place which meant that there was no negative impact on CPs from physical separation not being in place and agreed that it would be disproportionate to investigate this sufficiently to determine whether the component should be re-classified.

The second concerned the EAO moving to Openreach, as one of the actions BT was taking to implement areas of its new Commitments early. The EAO had sought Ofcom’s view prior to the move taking place, and Ofcom had confirmed it was content, on the basis that the EAO would continue to prioritise its work for the EAB. We therefore agreed to grant our discretion for the change in the Director, EAO’s reporting line. The EAO will continue to attend industry events on the EAB’s behalf and to monitor BT’s compliance with the Undertakings, including investigation of complaints and quick checks. In background, it will now start to prepare monitoring plans for the Commitments to ensure there is no gap in monitoring when the Undertakings are removed.

Product Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

BT published KPIs showing the output performance of its regulated wholesale products. The KPI charts for each product portfolio compare service performance for BT’s business units to that for other CPs.

Glossary

EAB – Equality of Access Board
EAO - Equality of Access Office
ELFs - Early Life Failures
KPIs - Key Performance Indicators
OBARCC - Openreach Board Audit Risk & Compliance Committee, composed of independent Openreach board members and responsible for monitoring Openreach’s compliance with BT’s new Commitments, as well as its audit, risk and other compliance activities
OTA2 - Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator 2
SLA/G - Service Level Agreement/Guarantee - the standards to which Openreach provides its products and payment terms should it fail to reach those standards