Ofcom's appointment of Dame Melanie Dawes as Chief Executive gained swift Government approval. She takes up her new position in early March.
Dawes has been Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government since 2015, and has held senior roles across the Civil Service, working in partnership across the public and private sectors.
She started her career as an economist and spent 15 years at the Treasury, including as Europe Director. She was Director General of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat at the Cabinet Office between 2011 and 2015, and prior to that she served on the Board of HMRC as Head of Business Tax.
In addition to her current Permanent Secretary role, Dawes chairs the Civil Service People Board, leading workforce strategies across all government departments. She is also Civil Service champion for diversity and inclusion.
She has held non-executive roles including with the consumer body Which? and is a trustee of the Patchwork Foundation, which promotes the participation of under-represented young people in democracy.
Lord Burns, Ofcom’s Chairman, said: “The Secretary of State has approved Ofcom’s appointment of Dame Melanie Dawes. The Government’s statement that it is minded to appoint Ofcom as the regulator for online harms is a vote of confidence."
Dawes said: “Ofcom plays a crucial role in ensuring that people and businesses across the UK get the best from their communications services. It’s a privilege to be appointed as Chief Executive at a time of significant change in the sectors Ofcom regulates.”
The programme to establish online harms as part of Ofcom’s remit is likely to take time to put in place.
Given the extension of Ofcom’s role, the Secretary of State has also said that the Government will consider carefully the full impacts of this potential change, both for Ofcom and to inform broader work on the regulatory landscape.
DCMS Secretary of State Nicky Morgan added: “Melanie's experience leading organisations through change will be vital as the Government today announces it is minded to appoint the organisation as regulator for new online harms laws."