Two more years for Chris Graham?

I think one mark of a true information rights nerd is whether they read minutes of meetings at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which are published, with a generally admirable commitment to transparency, on their website.

While browsing some recent minutes (of the Management Board meeting of 22 July) I noticed something interesting, which I wasn’t aware of (and haven’t seen anyone else pick up on?). Under a heading of “Major issues affecting the ICO” is

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed the Government’s intention to recommend to HM The Queen that Christopher Graham is reappointed as Information Commissioner [IC] for a period of two years following his current tenure ending in June next year.

The IC is a Crown appointment and his or her tenure is set at five years (paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 5 of the Data Protection Act 1998) but, by virtue of paragraph 2(5) he or she may be reappointed, provided he or she is not over 65, or has not already served for fifteen years. The reappointment of Christopher Graham (born 1950) will (if it happens) take him to that retirement age of of 65.

This is hardly shock news: all three of Graham’s predecessors as IC (formerly “Data Protection Registrar”) were reappointed after their initial terms of office, and he has, on most objective analyses, performed well in office: he got rid of the appalling backlog of Freedom of Information cases he inherited, and has been an effective stern-faced enforcer of data protection breaches. What he hasn’t done, yet, is see the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation – the updating of the creaking 18-year-old current European data protection regime. But, given the apparently interminable wrangling about that instrument, one wonders whether an extra two years, starting in June 2014, will even help him achieve that.

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Filed under Data Protection, Freedom of Information, Information Commissioner

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