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Government announces preferred Information Commissioner candidate

John Edwards is the government’s preferred candidate for Information Commissioner, Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has announced.

Mr Edwards is currently New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner, having been appointed in February 2014, and will bring with him a wealth of data regulatory experience.

He chaired the Global Privacy Assembly, then known as the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners from 2014-2017 and has chaired and hosted several international conferences.

Prior to his role as New Zealand’s Information Commissioner, he practiced law in the country for more than 20 years, where he specialised in information law, representing a wide range of public and private sector clients.

He has also held a number of independent statutory appointments, including as watchdog for those in compulsory mental health care and intellectual disability services.

Mr Edwards will now appear before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny on 9 September 2021.

Under the Data Protection Act, the Information Commissioner is appointed by Her Majesty by Letters Patent.

This is on the basis of fair and open competition and on the recommendation from Ministers (the Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport) through the Prime Minister.

Ministers were assisted in their decision-making by an Advisory Assessment Panel, which included a departmental official and a senior independent panel member approved by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

The appointment process was run in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments.

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