Press release

Government confirms preferred candidate to be the UK’s next Information Commissioner

Elizabeth Denham has been confirmed as the Government's preferred candidate to be the UK’s next Information Commissioner.

Elizabeth Denham

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has confirmed Elizabeth Denham as the Government’s preferred candidate to become the UK’s next Information Commissioner.

Subject to a pre-scrutiny hearing by the Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee and final approval from Her Majesty The Queen, Ms Denham will take over from current incumbent Christopher Graham in summer 2016.

Ms Denham is currently the Information and Privacy Commissioner in British Columbia, Canada, and was selected for the role following an open and transparent recruitment process, overseen by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. She will serve a term of five years.

John Whittingdale MP, Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, said:

I am delighted to put forward Elizabeth Denham as the UK’s next Information Commissioner. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role having been British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner for the past six years.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister for data protection, said:

The work of the Information Commissioner is vital for public and business alike. I’m pleased that we are recommending Elizabeth Denham to take on this role. She has a track record of working with business and other stakeholders, as well as a proactive approach to enforcing data protection law.

Information Commissioner designate Elizabeth Denham said:

I am honoured to be nominated for the position of Information Commissioner for the UK. I believe the rapid pace of technological change we face will continue to accelerate and present challenges to information rights – we must ensure access to information while maintaining high standards of data protection. The Information Commissioner’s Office has a global reputation for practical, innovative and responsive regulation. I look forward to contributing to this work.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights. The Department for Media, Culture and Sport is the ICO’s sponsoring department within Government. Further information about the ICO and its work can be found online at


Media enquiries only - DCMS News and Communications team - 020 7211 2210.

Notes for editors

  1. Christopher Graham has been the incumbent Information Commissioner since June 2009, when he was appointment on a five year term, extended for a further two years. The terms of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 mean he cannot be reappointed.

  2. About Elizabeth Denham: Elizabeth Denham has held senior leadership positions in the field of information rights in Canada over the last 12 years. Since 2010 she has been the Commissioner at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, Canada, where she is responsible for enforcing the Canadian Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), and the Lobbyists Registration Act (LRA). Previously (2007-10) she was the Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada in Ottawa; having been a Director at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (2003-7).

Published 22 March 2016