Our Consumer Expert Panel provides independent advice to help us fulfil our vision of making the rail industry better for current and future consumers.
What's the role and purpose of the panel?
The panel will meet four times per year and play a key role in bringing a consumer perspective to our policy and regulatory decisions. By using their experience of other regulated sectors the panel advise and challenge us to deliver better outcomes for rail and road users.
What has the panel influenced?
The current panel has discussed a wide range of topics with colleagues from across all areas of ORR since its inception in 2017. These topics include:
- Providing feedback on ORR publications, including the annual rail consumer report and GB Rail’s financial reports.
- Providing insight to how ORR developed its new Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) guidance for train and station operators, as well as a review of Car Parks and the introduction of the Rail Ombudsman.
- Providing thoughts on how ORR should revise and/or communicate its policies on economic enforcement, crowding and health & safety risks.
- Providing roads colleagues with advice on how to measure performance and manage disruption on the UK road network and measuring performance on England’s strategic roads.
Additional work covered by a sub-set of the panel includes:
- Analysis of Network Rail’s CP6 stakeholder engagement plans in preparation for control period 6 (CP6).
- Conduct a critical review of complaint handling in regulated consumer sectors where there is an ombudsman scheme.
- Meeting with Highways England at their National Traffic Operations Centre to understand more about Highways England’s approach to customer service.
The panel members Collapse accordion Open accordion
The individual members of our panel bring a range of academic, advocacy, consumer research and commercial expertise to support the institutional members' expertise with rail and transport. Individual members currently include:
Anne Heal - Anne's involvement in consumer issues started at BT where she was the director of regulatory affairs. After spending more than 20 years in telecoms at BT and Openreach, she then chaired Thames Water's Customer Challenge Group and is a lay member of the General Dental Council. Anne is an experienced non-executive director who currently holds positions at Elexon and MOSL, where she is Chair. Anne is a member of the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FCA and of the Enforcement Decision Making Committee at the Bank of England. Anne has previously chaired the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, is currently Chair of Volunteering Matters and is a trustee of a number of other charities.
Carol Brennan - Carol is an Honorary Reader in Consumer Policy and former Director of the Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Carol became a member of the Office of Rail and Road Consumer Expert Panel in 2017. Carol is also a member of the Civil Aviation Authority Consumer Panel. She chairs the Qualifications and Awards Board for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. Between 2015 and 2019, Carol was Chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Consumer Panel. During 2019/2020, she chaired a team of experts on consumer education and produced a policy options paper for the European Commission. Carol’s research interests include consumer policy, complaint management, dispute resolution, consumer empowerment and customer experience, and she has an extensive record of publications. She has produced reports on organisational complaint handling in regulated sectors with an Ombudsman, the outcome of complaints, using complaints to transform services and consumer representation. Carol draws on her research to influence new developments in strategy, policy and practice.
Ray Kemp - is an independent adviser who specializes in the public understanding and communication of risk. Based in the UK near Cambridge, Ray works internationally. He is a Non -Executive Director and member of an advisory committee for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and a member of two Scientific Advisory Panels for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). He has previously been Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, and also Adjunct Professor of Risk and Sustainability at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. He is a Past President of the Society for Risk Analysis, Europe, and previously held the position of Honorary Visiting Professor of Risk Communication at the University of Surrey, Guildford, in the UK. I Ray has been a Panel Member since 2017 and has played an active role advising on public and stakeholder engagement across the full range of the ORR’s regulatory responsibilities.
Trisha McAuley OBE - Trisha is an experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director, with experience in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Her background is in consumer affairs. For over twenty years she was a senior executive in UK and Scottish consumer organisations. She is widely recognised as a national consumer expert and was awarded an OBE for services to consumer affairs in 2015.
Trisha’s other current roles include: Scotland Board Member for Transport Focus; Independent Chair of the Market Arrangements Code Panel which has governance oversight of the market codes in the non-household water market in England; Independent Chair of the Connections and Use of Systems Panel and Grid Code Review Panel, both of which are electricity network market governance codes; Independent Chair of the RIIO2 User Groups for National Grid Electricity Transmission and National Gas Transmission; Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland Discipline Board; Member of the Civil Aviation Authority Consumer Panel. Trisha is also a Board Director of Energy Action Scotland and a Member of the Scottish Government’s Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group.
Diane McCrea MBE - has direct experience of developing and delivering strategies and policies that reflect changing needs and aspirations in a range of diverse environments, including water, food, transport, housing, customer service and communications, and publishing. She has extensive knowledge of evidence based policy, service delivery and improvements for consumers, customers, and the wider public in Wales, the UK, Europe and internationally. She has held a variety of non-executive positions in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
She is currently the Chair of Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales a charity dedicated to promoting sustainable development in Wales. Diane’s previous positions include Chair of Natural Resources Wales, Deputy Chair of the Consumer Council for Water for England and Wales, Chair of Shelter Cymru and Board Member of Transport Focus.
Helen Parker - has 30 years’ experience working on consumer issues, first in executive roles and now as a non-executive. She was a member of the senior leadership team of Which? for more than a decade. Her roles included Editorial Director, Policy Director and finally Deputy CEO. Helen now has a number of non-executive roles with a focus on consumer protection and empowerment. She is Deputy Chair of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which protects consumers when financial services companies fail, and a Committee member of Healthwatch England, the independent national champion for users of health and social care services. She is a member of Aegon’s Independent Governance Committee, whose role is to challenge the company on the quality and value for money offered to its two million workplace pension customers, and of the independent Challenge Group set up by energy regulator, Ofgem, to challenge both the regulator’s policy and the energy networks’ business plans for the next five year price control period.
Marie Pye - has been involved in the public sector for over 30 years in issues ranging from equality diversity and inclusion through to regulation. She is currently a member of the Independent Disciplinary Panel for the Bar Standards Board and a member of the Planning Advisory Committee for the London Legacy Development Corporation. Previously Marie was a member and then Chair of the TfL Independent Disability Advisory Group, Chair of the Defra Disability Advisory Group and a member of their Equality Advisory Group and a member of the Women and Local Government Commission. She has also worked in the charitable sector, for the Disability Rights Commission, for a major university and for the Premier League. She has also undertaken consultancy roles in a range of sectors including transport, finance, arts and sport.
James Walker - James is the founder of Resolver.co.uk, a free online complaints service that James grew to help over 18 million consumers a year to resolve their disputes. He has advised the Government on consumer issues and is a non executive Director for Consumer Scotland. A winner of Social Entrepreneur of the year, James is a non-executive for a number off start-ups. His focus is on helping businesses deliver market-leading customer service, while helping consumers understand and exercise their consumer rights. James has written four national newspaper columns.
Andrew Williams - Andrew is an economist and government affairs advocate. Over the last 17 years, he has been a regulator, as well as leading regulatory teams for 5 companies, across financial services, aviation and utilities sectors. He has led 14 multi-year regulatory reviews, including price controls and antitrust investigations. Andrew has engaged with governments and regulators in the UK, EU, US, Australia and Singapore; and has led public policy campaigns, including the economic case for runway expansion in London. Currently, Andrew is an advisor to the UK Government on regulation, as a Board Member of the Regulatory Policy Committee.
The panel also comprises institutional members that bring a range of sector specific expertise and research to understand the different needs and experiences of passengers that rely on Britain's railways: