This page contains short biographies of the Consumer Focus Board. To observe the highest standards of objectivity, integrity and transparency each Board member declares any interests relevant to their work with Consumer Focus and these are included below.
Christine Farnish became Chair of Consumer Focus in late 2010, having served on the Board and chaired the Audit and Risk Committee since 2007.
Christine’s varied career has spanned both public and private sectors. She recently stepped down as Managing Director Public Policy for Barclays Group. Prior to that she was Chief Executive, National Association of Pension Funds; Consumer Director, FSA; Consumer Director, OFTEL; and also held senior roles in Local Government.
Christine currently also Chairs the Family and Parenting Institute and serves as a Civil Service Commissioner. She is on the Boards of ABTA and Aggregate Industries.
She formerly served on the Boards of the Office of Fair Trading, ING Direct, the Advertising Standards Authority and Papworth NHS Trust. Christine Farnish – Declaration of Interest – June 2012 (PDF 123KB)
Stephen Locke is a consultant specialising in consumer policy and regulation. Former roles include Director of Advertising and Sponsorship at the Independent Television Commission and Director of Research and Policy at Which? He was a Board Member of the National Consumer Council; a Board member of Phonepay Plus (formerly ICSTIS); an Independent Board Member of the Payments Council; and an Independent Board Member and trustee of the Internet Watch Foundation. He is also a Member of the Professional Standards Board of the Chartered Insurance Institute and a Member of the Consumer Financial Education Body. Stephen Locke – Declaration of Interest – Feb 2012 (PDF 100KB)
Sharon is a Board member of the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) and housing association The Hyde Group. She is a member of the Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund Expert Panel and Consumer Challenge Group for monopoly price controls. She is a member of the Ofwat Customer Advisory Panel and Future Regulation Advisory Panel. Previous roles include Member of the Council of energywatch, Chair of Sutton Borough Citizens Advice Bureaux and member of the London and Southern Committee for the Consumer Council for Water. Sharon Darcy – Declaration of Interest – Feb 12 (PDF 116KB)
Vivienne Sugar was appointed as the Chair of Consumer Focus Wales in January 2008. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing having previously been Director of Housing at both Cardiff and Newport. In 2005 she was appointed as Wales Advisor to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and also became a Vice President of Swansea University. Vivienne was Chief Executive of the City and County of Swansea between 1995 and 2003 and Chair of the Welsh Consumer Council between 2003 and 2008. Vivienne is a also a Consultant to Government and Local Government, and a member of the Council of the Property Ombudsman. Vivienne Sugar – Declaration of Interest – Feb 2012 (PDF 98KB)
Douglas was appointed the Chair of the Scottish Consumer Council in May 2006 and Chair of Consumer Focus Scotland in January 2008. He held the post of Chief Executive of Ross and Cromarty District Council, Central Regional Council, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and Fife Council. He is also Depute Chair of the Accounts Commission of Scotland and was awarded the CBE in 2000.
Rick Hill was appointed as Chair of Consumer Focus Post and member of the Consumer Focus Board in October 2008. In January 2009 he was appointed as Chairman of the Consumer Council (Northern Ireland). In December 2008 he was appointed Chair of the Northern Ireland Screen Commission, having been interim Chair since Jan 2008. He is a former Minister of Garnerville Presbyterian Church, Belfast. He was previously a member of the BBC Audience Council for Northern Ireland and BBC Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland. Rick Hill – Declaration of Interest – Feb 2012 (PDF 98KB)
Co-opted and non Voting Board member
Jonathan is a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel and of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. He is also a special advisor on consumer competition and regulatory issues to Finsbury International Policy and Regulatory Advisors.
Jonathan had a wide-ranging career in Government, primarily at the Treasury and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), where he was an executive member of the board from 2006-2010, responsible for policy and delivery across most of OFT’s competition and consumer interests.
Since the mid 1990s he has been closely involved in energy, utility regulation and competition and consumer policy at both the Treasury and the OFT. Jonathan May – Declaration of Interest – Jan 13 (PDF 39KB)
Independent member of the Audit & Risk Committee
Alison worked for many years at the most senior level of business specialising in commercial strategy and change leadership. Much of her experience was with the Royal Mail Group, where she qualified as an accountant and MBA, and led international operations, and mergers and acquisitions.
More recently, as a qualified Chartered Director, Alison’s focus has been on pursuing a Non-Executive career, blending strong strategic, financial and commercial skills, with professional expertise in corporate governance, risk management and Board accountability. Alison White – Declaration of Interest – May 2012 (PDF 81KB)