Bectu responds to Ofcom Chair appointment

5 April 2022

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has appointed TV executive and businessman Lord Michael Grade as the new chairman of UK media regulator Ofcom for four years from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2026.

Lord Grade has previously described the BBC licence fee as “regressive” and has spoken in favour of the privatisation of Channel 4.

Appearing before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee for ‘pre-appointment scrutiny’ last week, Lord Grade asserted his commitment to impartiality in the role, commenting: “Ofcom’s enviable reputation as a regulator is based on their processes, their adjudications – their decisions are based on evidence and research.

“And therefore you leave your opinions at the door when you arrive at Ofcom.

“After a lifetime of broadcasting at the highest levels I have views, as anybody does, but you leave those behind when you get to Ofcom.”

Responding to the confirmation of Lord Grade as Chair of Ofcom, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“We welcome the appointment of a Chair for Ofcom after considerable delays to this important public appointment that will help shape the future of the UK’s broadcasting sector.

“We have heard Lord Grade’s commitment to leave his strong opinions aside and carry out this role with the impartiality it demands, particularly surrounding debates about the future of Channel 4 and the BBC’s funding model.

“The UK broadcasting and media landscape is rapidly evolving and it is critical that we see strong, independent leadership from the new Chair. If his tenure is to be a success it is imperative that, alongside experience and knowledge of the broadcasting sector that Lord Grade brings to the role, we see a real commitment to improving diversity in the sector and addressing the chronic skills shortage.”