Grade confirmed as Ofcom chair despite MPs’ warning about lack of knowledge

Last Updated: April 2, 2022By Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not ideal: Lord Michael Grade’s understanding of the social media comes from his own children – he doesn’t use it himself. And remember, this is a man who failed to realise Jimmy Savile was committing many terrible crimes, while an executive at the BBC.

Former BBC chair and Channel 4 boss Lord Michael Grade has been confirmed as the new chair of Ofcom, despite apparent glaring gaps in his knowledge of the social media and online safety.

This is important because Ofcom will be responsible for policing online safety after the new Bill on that subject becomes law.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said Grade had been appointed by the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, to the £142,500-a-year role for four years from 1 May.

This was despite concerns raised by the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that it was concerned by Lord Grade’s admission this week that he does not use social media but is aware of how it works thanks to his children:

“His clear lack of depth when talking about social media and online safety gives us concerns,” said the committee in a report published on Friday, hours before the government confirmed his appointment.

“He appears to understand the importance of Ofcom’s new role in regulating the online space. It would be difficult to find a candidate with deep experience across the whole of Ofcom’s remit, and we hope that he will be well supported with the necessary advice to fulfil his role as chair.”

The committee, which did not have the power to block Grade’s appointment, was scathing about the DCMS hiring process… Conservative chair Julian Knight said: “This shambles of a process gives us great concern about the department’s ability to run effective and impartial public appointment competitions.”

In a statement issued after Grade’s confirmation, Knight said the rapid appointment of Grade and that of Orlando Fraser as chair of the Charity Commission on Friday showed the appointments process was “broken”. “The fact that the DCMS department has taken only a matter of hours to put aside our concerns highlights once again that there are serious underlying issues at play here,” he said.

The concerns about Grade’s ability to tackle online safety may be well-founded.

Bear in mind this comment on his appointment, from a reader on Facebook:

“What, the guy who let [Jimmy] Savile run riot when running [the] BBC? *That* Michael Grade?

Source: Michael Grade confirmed as Ofcom chair despite MPs’ warning | Ofcom | The Guardian

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One Comment

  1. Colin Glazebrook April 2, 2022 at 10:19 am - Reply

    What’s new? We have a chancellor who appears to know sod all about the financial situation of the people of this country.

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