The Commissioner for Public Appointments

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Update 26 June 2014

The appointment of Dr David Wolfe QC, as the first Chair of the Recognition Panel established by the Royal Charter on self-regulation of the press, was announced today. The Recognition Panel’s function is to recognise press industry self regulators in accordance with the Charter.

David Wolfe is a barrister (QC) at Matrix Chambers. As a public lawyer, David has specialised in “judicial review” challenges to the decisions of, among others, government, regulators (including environmental and professional regulators), local authorities, schools and health bodies for over 20 years.

Until April 2013, David was also a Commissioner (non-executive director) at the Legal Services Commission and a Board Member of the Legal Services Board, the body which oversees approved regulators in the legal services sector and ensures that legal regulation is carried out in the public interest.

David was appointed following a fair and open competition and will now join the Appointments Committee to oversee the appointment of the other members of the Board of the Recognition Panel.

Dame Anne Pringle, Chair of the Appointments Committee, said:

“We are delighted to appoint David Wolfe to this important and challenging role. David is a person of great integrity with a reputation for independence of thought and action. The Appointments Committee believes he has the skills and qualities necessary to establish this important new organisation which will provide independent verification of self regulatory arrangements.

“We look forward to working with David to appoint the other members of the Board and we are also launching that competition today. “

David Wolfe said:

“A large part of my legal career has been spent defending the principle of fair decision-making. I am delighted to have been appointed to help establish independent oversight of an effective system of press self-regulation. That will help to secure the public interest in a free and vibrant press which acts in accordance with the lessons learned through the Leveson Inquiry.

“My first step is to work with the Appointments Committee to appoint a high calibre, diverse Board to work with me to carry out the important functions set out in the Royal Charter.

“The Board is being appointed by a process which is unique in its independence from Government, Parliament and other influences. Once appointed, we will have a freedom from outside pressure not seen before in a public body.”

The Appointments Committee and David Wolfe have also today launched the competition to appoint members of the Board of the Recognition Panel; further details can be found at: www.recognitionpanelappointments.com

Notes

1. Following the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press (which reported on 29 November 2012), a Royal Charter on the self regulation of the press was granted by the Privy Council on 30 October 2013. The Royal Charter establishes a Recognition Panel with functions and duties relating to the recognition of press industry self regulators in accordance with the terms of the Charter. The Charter also confers certain duties on the Commissioner for Public Appointments relating to the appointment of the Chair and Members of the Board of the Recognition Panel.

2. The Appointments Committee was appointed by Sir David Normington, the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Royal Charter  requires the Appointments Committee to be chaired by a Public Appointments Assessor. Dame Anne Pringle, former British Ambassador to Moscow and a current Public Appointment Assessor, chairs the Committee. The other members of the Committee are Dr Chitra Bharucha, former Vice Chair of the BBC Trust and former member of the General Medical Council, Andrew Flanagan, former Chief Executive of the Scottish Media Group and current Civil Service Commissioner and Elizabeth France, former Information Commissioner and current Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints.

3. Under the terms of the Royal Charter David Wolfe has been appointed for an initial term of five years. David Wolfe will receive a non-pensionable payment of £500 per day whilst he undertakes his first duty to select the other members of the Board alongside the Appointments Committee. The Charter provides for the Recognition Panel to be funded by the Exchequer during its first three years of operation.

Contacts

1. For more information please go to www.pressrecognitionpanel.org.uk
2. More information about the work of the Commissioner for Public Appointments or the Appointments Committee can be found at publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk
3. Media enquiries should go to Maggie O’Boyle on 07880 740627.