The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has insisted that the Data Protection Act does not provide a "blanket cover" for senior officials who need to be named in the public interest.
The Care Quality Commission is meeting lawyers now as it decides whether to release the names of its own officials allegedly involved in a serious cover-up over its inquiry into deaths at a Cumbrian hospital.
Mr Graham said there "isn't an expectation of confidentiality (for senior officials) if something has gone badly wrong".
Parents of a baby girl, who died at one-day-old, have said they are "sickened" they were not told of earlier failings at Furness Hospital.
The health watchdog has named the individuals accused of allegedly covering up its failure to investigate at a Cumbria maternity unit.
Cynthia Bower has been named as one of the individuals allegedly involved in the hospital deaths inquiry 'cover-up'.