The work of the Information Commissioner: appointment of a new Commissioner - Justice Committee Contents

Annex B

Job description, person specification and terms for the role of Information Commissioner

(As formulated for the selection process undertaken by the Ministry of Justice)

Job Description

The Information Commissioner is responsible for:

  • the fulfilment of all the statutory responsibilities conferred upon the Commissioner
  • providing leadership and strategic direction for the Commissioner's office
  • building and maintaining excellent personal and organisational relationships with key stakeholders, including Ministers, Parliament, the media, public interest groups, business and international equivalents
  • contributing to debates on the development of policy, nationally and internationally, on data protection and freedom of information issues, and
  • acting as Accounting Officer for the Commissioner's office.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

This is a demanding, politically sensitive and high profile post. The successful candidate must demonstrate the following:


  • Successful track record of credible and strategic leadership
  • Substantial record of management, ideally within a statutory framework
  • Sound and strong financial and performance management skills
  • Ability to work with others to achieve change smoothly and effectively


  • Evidence of the ability to influence effectively with staff, colleagues, stakeholders and across the public and private sectors
  • Track record of excellent public speaking and media relations.


  • Intellectual capability to move easily between significant detail and the bigger picture
  • Demonstrated ability to influence policy
  • Breadth of strategic vision


  • Evidence of independence and impartiality gained at board-level or equivalent
  • Excellent judgement, including the ability to identify and manage risk

Experience and Personal Qualities

  • Evidence of operating successfully in a legal or quasi-legal environment
  • Evidence of demonstrating resilience and adaptability in taking on challenges in a complex environment
  • Demonstrated ability to make personal impact and achieve personal credibility
  • Flexibility, adaptability and resilience under pressure

Desirable Criteria

  • An awareness of and interest in information issues
  • An interest in developments in information technology
  • An understanding of Whitehall and the wider public sector
  • An understanding of the key legislation
  • Ability to master the requirements of central government financial and staff management policies and protocols
  • Legal qualification and experience

Terms of Appointment


The Information Commissioner and most of his staff are based in Wilmslow, Cheshire, with small satellite offices in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. The location of the main office is currently under review and the new Commissioner will need to determine, in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, whether it will be in the best interests of the office to relocate.

Though based in Wilmslow, the role of the Information Commissioner requires frequent travel around the UK and abroad.

The organisation of the Information Commissioner's office is a matter for the Commissioner, but a Management Board, which includes non-executive Directors and an Executive team, assist the current Commissioner. The Commissioner works with the Management Board to set priorities and ensure their achievement and leads the Executive team to ensure that the office is run as a modern effective, efficient, influential and responsible organisation.


The remuneration to be offered for this full-time post is £140,000 per annum. The post is pensionable.

Length of the appointment

The appointment will be for a five year term.

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Prepared 9 February 2009