DCMS Committee approves appointment of John Edwards as next Information Commissioner
10 September 2021
MPs have confirmed the appointment of John Edwards as the new Information Commissioner following his appearance before the DCMS Committee.
In a Report published today, MPs flag concerns about delays in arranging the Pre-Appointment hearing with two dates cancelled, understood by the Committee to be due to delays in central government confirming the decision made by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The DCMS Committee has expressed its concern about a growing trend by the administration to interfere in appointment processes that could in future limit the number of candidates willing to apply for such roles.
DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said:
“We welcome the appointment of John Edwards as Information Commissioner. He clearly understands the challenges facing the UK in a fast-moving digital landscape and the role the ICO will play. His experience as New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner and openness to working with other countries will be valuable in taking a robust approach on areas such as data protection.
“We noted his support for the decision by the current Information Commissioner to carry out raids in the investigation into how footage from the office of the former Health Secretary Matt Hancock ended up in the public domain.
“However, this appointment process has been subject to a number of delays and we consider it a failure of Government that this hearing did not take place in July. We will be raising our broader concerns about the pre-appointment process with Ministers in due course.
“The Government did not offer a veto to the Committee on the appointment of the candidate for Information Commissioner. But to the credit of John Edwards, he told us that if we didn’t consider him a fit appointment, he would not accept the role.”
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