Consultation with all interested stakeholders is essential to the success of the Office. The Office has sought to build a 'regulatory compact' where all significant decisions are the subject of consultation with interested parties, especially end-users.
A wide cross section of customer representatives give generously of their time to serve on the OTTER Customer Consultative Committee. They respond to many requests for consideration of major, and at times highly technical and complex, consultation papers.
Customers are intended to be the ultimate beneficiaries of industry restructuring and reform and, through these committees, are direct participants in the reform process. The issues are challenging and the Office strives to explore, develop and explain the technical and economic issues that underlie many of the regulatory decisions.
The Office continually seeks to improve the consultative process to ensure that 'ordinary' customers are appropriately represented and that the highly technical nature of the issues, on which committees are being asked to provide comment, are simplified as much as possible.
In August 2003, the Regulator published the Regulator's Policy on the Treatment of Confidential Submissions. The policy sets out how the Regulator deals with claims that submissions, made in the course of consultation, contain material which should be treated as confidential.