February 7th, 2010 by Roger Darlington
Roger Darlington is a portfolio worker, specialising in consumer affairs and the communications industry:
- He is the independent Chair of the Customer Challenge Group at South East Water which supplies drinking water to 2.1 million customers in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire, a position he has held since April 2012.
- He is the Chair of the Digital Consumer Expert Group, a body which advises Government on switchover of television and radio, a position he has held since July 2011.
- He is a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Online Centres Foundation, which co-ordinates the work of 3,800 online training centres in England, a position he has held since February 2012.
- He is the Acting Chair of the Policy Stakeholder Committee of Nominet, the body which operates the .uk domain name system for the Internet, a position he has held since September 2010.
- He is a Non-Executive Member on the 4G/TV Coexistence Oversight Board of at800, the body responsible for the mitigation measures for interference of 4G mobile services on digital terrestrial television, a position he has held since October 2012.
- He is the Chair of the Post Offices Advisory Group of Consumer Focus, which brings together stakeholders with an interest in the future of post offices, a position he has held since February 2009.
- He writes a bimonthly column on Internet issues for Connect, the communications sector of the trade union Prospect.
Roger Darlington is half English and half Italian; his wife is half Welsh and half Czech; and he enjoys travelling to new countries and experiencing new cultures.
In 1971, he obtained a First Class Honours Degree in Management Sciences from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology where his final year options were Organisational Behaviour and Industrial Relations. He spent a year (1969-70) as sabbatical President of the Students’ Union.
Following graduation, he spent six years working for the Labour Party/Labour Government as a Research Assistant/Special Adviser to Rt Hon Merlyn Rees MP in the latter’s capacity as Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland (House of Commons 1972-74), Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland Office 1974-76) and Home Secretary (Home Office 1976-78). He fought the two General Elections of 1974 as a Labour candidate.
For 24 years, he was a National Official with what was the Post Office Engineering Union (1978-85), then became the National Communications Union (1985-95), and is now the Communication Workers Union (1995-2002).
For the first six years, he was a Research Officer in the Research Department concentrating mainly on technological and regulatory issues. He was then promoted to the main negotiating grade of Assistant Secretary and, over the next six years, held a variety of negotiating posts. Next followed five years with responsibility for policy and international matters.
Then, in January 1995, the creation of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) – a merger of the former National Communications Union and the former Union of Communication Workers – saw him return to the Research Department as Head of Research. The Department briefs Officers and Executive on all postal, telecommunications, and related matters. As well as managing the Department, he took special responsibility for strategic, technological and regulatory issues in both the postal and telecommunications industries. He took early retirement from the CWU in March 2002.
- He was the first independent Chair of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a body established by British Internet service providers to combat illegal content, especially child abuse images, on the UK Internet. He held this position from January 2000 to December 2005, serving the maximum six year term of office.
- He was Chairman of the Greater London Region and a Council Member of Postwatch, the watchdog for postal consumers. He held this position from April 2006 to September 2008 when the organisation was merged with two other consumer groups.
- He was a Member of the Board of Consumer Focus, which brought together the work of Postwatch, Energywatch and the National Consumer Council. He held this position from January 2008 to January 2012 when his term expired.
- He was the Member for England on the Communications Consumer Panel – formerly the Ofcom Consumer Panel – which is the statutory consumer body for broadcasting and telecommunications issues. He held this position for a record eight and a half years from February 2004 to July 2012.
Roger Darlington’s many private interests include reading (especially modern history), writing (especially short stories), the cinema (almost all genres), music (particularly classical), aviation (especially Second World War), and the social and economic aspects of information technology. He has written a biography – published in English and Czech – of his wife’s father, who was a Second World War night intruder ace. He is an intense user of the Internet and maintains his own web site and two weblogs (one personal and one professional).