Public Service

David was a member of the House of Lords for 24 years until his retirement in October 2021. Most recently, he sat on the Select Committee for the Environment and Climate Change, charged with exploring cross-Government action on COP15 and progress on COP26.

Artificial Intelligence Committee

He is very pleased to have been a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, and to have been involved in the subsequent committee report, which concluded that the UK is in a strong position to be a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). This position, coupled with the wider adoption of AI, could deliver a major boost to the economy for years to come. The best way to do this is to put ethics at the centre of AI’s development.


The great need now is to ensure that technology doesn't outstrip our ability to prevent any single "gatekeeper" from accruing an excess of influence. Because in a plural democracy such as ours, significant media influence can all too easily translate into an unacceptable opportunity for abuse." (Edinburgh Television Festival, 2002)

David Puttnam

Democracy & Digital Technologies Committee

In 2019, he was appointed chair to the Democracy & Digital Technologies committee to investigate the impact of technologies on democracy. The report for the committee’s findings was published in June 2020. 

Climate Change Bill and Environment & Climate Change Committee

In 1998, he retired from film production to focus on his work in public policy as it related to education, and the environmental, creative and communications industries. He was appointed Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill in 2007, having performed the same role on the 2002 Communications Bill. He was Chairman of two Hansard Society Commission Reports on the relationship between Parliament and the Public and served as a non-executive director on a number of public companies.

Communications Bill & Select Committee

One of the lasting effects of the 2002 Communications Bill has been OFCOM’s increased powers as an effective regulator. In 2012, some years before he chaired the Digital Technology and Democracy committee, he commented on the media’s role in democracy :

“[Our standards] need to be all of a piece with a sustainable social agenda, they’re part of a collective social responsibility, the responsibility of the journalist, to deal with the world as it really is. This in turn must go hand in hand with responsibility of those governing society to face up to that world, and not to be tempted to misappropriate the causes of its ills.

Digital Champion

He was named Ireland’s Digital Champion in 2012, when he was tasked with encouraging the population to adopt digital and promoting e-skills in education.

From 2012 to 2017, he acted as Ireland’s first Digital Champion and contributed to the development and implementation of a new National Digital Strategy. The role involved grappling with some of the emerging problems created by the digital world, as well as taking advantage of the many benefits it brings.

During his tenure, the School’s Digital Champion Programme was set in motion. This elevates digital skills in the classroom and helps students to develop their creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills.