In October 2010 he was invited to head an independent commission to consider "how the Intellectual Property framework supports growth and innovation" by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The resulting report was published in May 2011. The government declared its intention to implement the review's findings, which include a more flexible approach to copyright, in August 2011.
He attended Burnley Grammar School on Byron Street in Burnley and Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge where he read English with French. He married Elizabeth Crago in 1972. They divorced in 1991 and have a son (born 1975) and a daughter (born 1977). In 1993 he married Adele Blakebrough, CEO of the Social Business Trust and they have two daughters (born in January 1997 and May 1998).