The action plan for online safety was published in July 2018 and was drawn up following engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, including online safety experts, Government agencies, NGOs, parents, young people and industry. The plan recognises the opportunities and benefits provided by the Internet but also the importance of co-ordinated action and wide engagement in dealing with online risks and harms. The plan contains 25 targeted actions which are assigned to six key Government Departments, including the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Implementation of the action plan is co-ordinated by a sponsor's group, chaired by the Department of Education and Skills. The first progress report on the implementation of the action plan was published on 5 February 2019 to coincide with Safer Internet day. That report outlines progress in the first six months of its implementation, from July to December 2018. During this period, 22 of the actions targeted for completion were achieved. A further progress report is being prepared by the Department of Education and Skills for the period January to June 2019. In terms of the Department, key actions assigned by the action plan are the establishment of the National Advisory Council for Online Safety, which I chair, and the regulation of harmful online content.
In early March, we announced that Government would address harmful content through the development of new legislation, an online safety and media regulation Bill, which will also transpose the revised audio visual media services directive. A public consultation on these proposals was concluded last month. This Bill will establish, for the first time, a clear expectation for online platforms to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their users, especially children, and provide for regulatory oversight by a robustly empowered online safety commissioner with significant enforcement powers. It shall also provide a mechanism on appeal to the only safety commissioner to require the take-down of harmful material.
We want to thank those who contributed to the consultation, including NGOs, industry players, experts and members of the public, and to note that these contributions will be published in the coming weeks. We are currently examining the issues raised and suggestions made to inform the development of this new legislation.