The New Consumer Scotland Agency: Investigation is coming
Head of Public Affairs (Nations and Regions) Which?
Director, Sarah O'Neill Consulting
Sarah is an independent legal and consumer policy consultant. She is a non-practising solicitor, with more than 20 years’ experience of working on consumer issues and access to justice. She was formerly Legal Officer at the Scottish Consumer Council and was Director of Policy at Consumer Focus Scotland from 2008-2012. She is a part-time Lecturer in Dispute Resolution within the Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre at Queen Margaret University. She is also a chairperson member of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).
Sarah holds an MBA and is an accredited mediator. She is currently a member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board. She was a member of the Expert Panel on Redress which advised the Working Group on Consumer and Competition Policy for Scotland.
Director of Public Policy, Scottish Legal Complaints Commission
Dr Sophie Flemig is the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission’s Director of Public Policy and combines her work on legal regulation with a wide range of experience from the private, public and third sectors. Previously, she led the University of Edinburgh Business School’s multidisciplinary Centre for Service Excellence as its Assistant Director. New approaches to regulation have been at the forefront of her research and engagement work, in particular including co-production and improvement goals across health and social care and the charitable sector. Sophie is also an expert in service design and management methodologies.
Prior to her academic career, Sophie worked as a management and digital consultant across Europe and North America, specialising in change management, learning and development, and internal marketing, in particular in financial services. Over the course of her career, she has advised global Fortune 100 companies, governments and third sector organisations. Sophie also has strong experience in non-executive roles, having been appointed by Scottish Ministers as a Member of the Accounts Commission for Scotland and as a Member of the Board of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. At the Accounts Commission, the spending watchdog for local government in Scotland, Sophie has sponsored key audits on health and social care Integration and self-directed support and is supporting Audit Scotland staff in developing a knowledge base on community empowerment. In her OSCR role, Sophie is chairing the digital task force and is contributing her insights on innovate regulatory strategies and her expertise in service design with user-centric focus.
She holds a BA (Hon) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and an M.Phil in Comparative Government from the University of Oxford (Brasenose College) as well as a PhD in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of Toronto, while currently completing her LLB with the University of London.
Chair, Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS)
Sandra Harkness was appointed Chair of the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) in February 2018, following 2 years as Vice Chair. She is a Trading Standards Manager and Chartered Trading Standards Practitioner with Dumfries and Galloway Council, having worked there since 1991 after graduating with a BSc from Glasgow University. Starting as a Trainee Trading Standards Officer, Sandra obtained the Diploma in Trading Standards after 4 years of intensive on-the-job training. She then completed additional qualifications in Animal Health and Intellectual Property as well as returning to Glasgow University recently to obtain a Masters in Managing Health and Wellbeing. Sandra has gained both an operational and strategic understanding of trading standards, learned how to cope with the challenges of working within a local authority and enjoyed working with a number of partners during some significant changes in the consumer landscape.
Member for Scotland - Communications Consumer Panel, Chair - Peter Gibson Memorial Fund
Amanda has experience spanning research, public services, and organisational change in Scotland and is passionate about the importance a good secure home makes to people's health, wellbeing and life chances. She currently supports Scotland’s national Technology Enabled Care Programme, is an advisor with Life Changes Trust, and an associate with Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
In 2012, she joined the Board of the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland, and in 2016 was elected Chair. She is Vice Chair of Iriss, a charitable company that aims to build 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 has a strong interest in consumer issues - and chaired the Peter Gibson Memorial Fund, which in September 2016 published Championing Consumers, a history of consumer advocacy in Scotland 1974-2014.
Sheila Scobie is Director, Nations at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), responsible for the CMA outreach and activity for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regions. As the CMA grows its presence in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a significant part of Sheila’s role is to manage the expansion of these offices, particularly as each of the Devolved Nations teams look to move to the relevant Government Hubs.
Sheila joined the CMA from a role as Deputy Portfolio Lead in the Scotland Office, managing relationships with Scottish civic society and delivering an engagement programme for UK Government ministers. She has been a civil servant for the past fourteen years, leading policy teams within the Scotland Office, Cabinet Office and Scottish Government. Before this, Sheila had a career in government research institutes in the environmental and defence sciences.
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Great to see gender balance on the panels and speaker list.