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Panel members

Rick Hill MBE (Chair and Member for Northern Ireland)

Following degrees in Applied Maths and Church History, Rick worked as a parish minister for 17 years. He left church work in 2007 to develop a portfolio career.

Rick is an independent member of the Strategic Panel for Non-Domestic Water. He has previously been Deputy Chair of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, Chair of Northern Ireland Screen Commission, Chair of The General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, Chair of Consumer Focus Post and member of the Consumer Focus UK Board, a member of the BBC Audience Council for Northern Ireland and BBC Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland. In 2014, he was made MBE for services to Broadcast Media.

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Kay Allen OBE

Kay has worked for B&Q, BSkyB and Royal Mail. She has been a Commissioner on the Disability Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She also served as a NED on the Department for Work and Pensions PDCS Board.

In 2010 she was asked by Downing St to look at Responsible Business Practice of small business as part of the Big Society Team. As a result she created the on line digital platform ‘Trading for Good’ which is now owned by Business in the Community.

She has run her own successful bespoke consultancy for 10 years specialising in Responsible Business and Diversity and Inclusion. A qualified performance coach Kay helps others to succeed. Kay is a Fellow of St Georges House Windsor, A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2010, she was awarded an OBE for services to Equality.

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Amanda Britain (Member for Scotland)

Amanda has experience spanning research, public services, and organisational change in Scotland.  In all roles, she has championed the interests of people who are socially or economically excluded. 

Until recently, Amanda worked with Scottish Government’s Digital Health & Care directorate leading Covid-19 response programmes – providing iPads to care home residents and setting up Digital Lifelines Scotland to provide devices and support for people at risk of drug related harm. 

Amanda is Chair of Iriss, a charitable company that builds the capacity and capability of the social services workforce in Scotland, and a member of Alzheimer Scotland’s Human Rights and Public Policy Committee. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing, was a member of the Scotland Board from 2012-2018 and was elected Chair from 2017-2018.

In parallel, Amanda has chaired the Peter Gibson Memorial Fund, which in September 2016 published 'Championing Consumers, a history of consumer advocacy in Scotland 1974-2014.'

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Helen Froud

Helen is a a former Deputy Chief Executive of the Western Isles Council and was previously Director of Corporate Services at Worcestershire County Council. She also worked in consulting for KPMG. She was MD of her own consultancy firm until 2013, when she retrained to be a Salvation Army Officer. Since then she has run Salvation Army centres in Aberdeen and Inverness; and is now Assistant Director (Research) for The Salvation Army UK and Ireland.

Helen was previously a Non-Executive Director on the former Health Protection Agency Board, and on the Board of the National Records of Scotland. She is also a former Trustee of One Parent Families Scotland. She sits on the SSE Networks Stakeholder Advisory Panel.

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Clifford Harkness

Clifford began his career as a telecommunication and electronics technician with Queen’s University Belfast working on television production and audio resources - including linguistic research. This role led him, to the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum’s Department of Non-Material Culture where he supported curatorial staff in the development of oral, aural and linguistic sound recording and audio archiving. Clifford became Head of Archival Collections before the establishment of National Museums Northern Ireland, where he was Head of Collections Management, until early retirement in 2016.

He has an enduring interest in the impact of science and technology on everyday lives and the collection, preservation, and access to multi-media archives. He was a founding member of the then N. Ireland Film Council, the Ulster Oral History Society, and the N. Ireland Reminiscence Network.

He is a former member of the BBC Audience Council and BBC Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland. He currently acts as a museum ‘Accreditation Mentor’ for the Somme Museum and is a member of ‘The Stories Network’,  hostd by  the Healing Through Remembering Organisation, for those gathering and sharing personal narratives related to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland.

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Dr Siân Phipps (Member for Wales)

Siân spent four years championing the interests of water consumers through her non-executive role with the Consumer Council for Water, regularly challenging the performance of water companies in Wales. As a Patient and Community Leader at Velindre Cancer Centre, Siân is also a voice for people who use health and care services and is currently a lay member with NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Previously in her career, Siân worked for cross-party committees in the Senedd/Welsh Parliament and in the House of Commons, where her role was to advise Members in scrutinising government policies, legislation and finance.

Siân has worked in communications and public affairs for a range of public organisations including BBC Wales, the Arts Council of Wales and the Environment Agency, and has a PhD in public attitudes to environmental risk from the University of Leeds. Siân is a Welsh learner, originally from Cardiff, where she currently lives.

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Richard Spencer (Member for England)

Richard has 30 years’ experience in consumer and SME mobile and fixed telecoms markets in the UK and abroad, most of which was spent at BT. His career has encompassed pricing, strategy, policy, business ethics and regulation. His final role was as Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, playing a key role in architecting and monitoring the company’s programmes designed to have a positive impact on society and the environment.

Richard is the Senior Independent Director of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and is trustee for a charity in Colchester which provides support to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. He also serves on the Leadership Board of Reference of a local church in Colchester.

Richard holds an MBA, and degrees in History and Theology, and has trained as an executive coach.

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Dr Michael Wardlow

Michael was most recently the Chief Commissioner for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, a public appointment he held from March 2012 to February 2020. Before joining the Commission he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education a post he held from 1995. 

Michael is currently Chair of the NI Police Fund and Chair of Translink NI. Prior to this, following 7 years in commerce, the majority of his work experience, both paid and in a voluntary capacity, was in the area of peace building and reconciliation, interests which have presented opportunities for him to work in over 40 countries.

In addition to being a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, Michael is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute.  Michael is also a Visiting Scholar in George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

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Rick Williams 

Rick is the Managing Director of Freeney Williams Ltd, a disability and diversity consultancy. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and an Associate of both Business Disability International and the Business Disability Forum.

Rick is an experienced consultant and trainer with expertise in all areas of disability and their impact on individuals and organisations.

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