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MPs warn against ‘unappointable’ Ofcom candidates

September 15, 2021

By Colin Mann

Julian Knight, Chair of the UK parliament’s DCMS Committee has called for the government to rule out candidates previously deemed to be unappointable from applying again for the post of Chair of Ofcom, a clear reference to the potential renewed candidacy of former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre.

The re-running of the recruitment process to appoint a new Chair of the communications regulator is being challenged because its campaign information fails to state that candidates previously deemed unappointable should not re-apply – viewed as an industry standard when a campaign is being re-run.

The DCMS Committee, which scrutinises the spending, policies and administration of the government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has urged the Department to include this message in the recruitment documentation for potential applicants.

“The DCMS Committee has once again had to raise important concerns around the appointments process for the new Chair of Ofcom,” stated Knight. “The recruitment process is being re-run despite the absence of any adequate explanation being provided by government on the need to do so.”

“Where a previous candidate has been deemed to be unappointable for a post, they should be ruled out of re-applying. However, this crucial line is missing from the campaign information to recruit Ofcom’s next Chair. It would be extremely alarming if this was a deliberate omission rather than an oversight and we are seeking clarification,” he added.

Knight previously questioned the lack of clarity around the need to re-run the process to appoint a new Chair of Ofcom and expressed concern at an unnecessary delay.

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