Ofcom must improve its handling of consumer switching, silent calls and broadband speeds, according to a report into the communications regulator’s performance.

The National Audit Office (NAO) also said the regulator needed to demonstrate “sharper objectives” to prove it was providing value for money for the taxpayer.

The NAO told Ofcom “improvements are needed” to allow easier switching between service providers, urging it to better understand the UK’s relatively low rate.

Consumers also experienced lower broadband speeds than many other countries, with Ofcom’s own research in May finding that average speeds here were 45% lower than advertised.

And “persistent issues” remained regarding silent calls, despite increases in the maximum fines Ofcom was able to impose.

The NAO did find Ofcom was doing “more with less” and annual expenditure was now 27% lower than its predecessor bodies.

And it said there had been “many positive outcomes” in the communications market, including lower prices and improved choice and quality.

However, the report found it was impossible to tell if Ofcom was delivering value for money because it was failing to set out its aims for consumers and if it had achieved them.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “Ofcom has reduced its overall expenditure each year since its creation and we have seen many positive indicators in communications markets.

“In order to demonstrate that it is delivering value for money, however, Ofcom should demonstrate sharper objectives and metrics to better link its costs with the outcomes it achieves.”