The CAA Consumer Panel is a non-statutory body established to act as a 'critical friend' to the CAA. It provides expert advice to make sure that the consumer interest remains central to CAA policy development and decisions. The Panel focuses on the interests of current and potential aviation consumers, and citizen issues, such as noise from flight paths, do not fall under our remit.
The key activities of the Panel are to:
- Help the CAA to understand fully, and take account of, the interests of consumers in its policy development and decisions.
- Use existing CAA research, request the CAA undertakes new targeted research, and to gather intelligence, to understand the aviation consumer experience.
- Provide the CAA with feedback from a consumer perspective on the effectiveness of its policies and practices.
Civil Aviation Authority
The Panel welcomes correspondence from consumers about their experience of the aviation sector, including the work of the CAA. However, while we may use feedback from consumers to inform our thinking and our advice to the CAA, we are not a complaints handling or consumer advice service and are unable to enter into correspondence with individuals.
If you need advice and assistance, including if you are not satisfied with a complaint you have made to an airline or an airport, please contact the CAA’s Passenger Advice and Complaints Team.
CAA Consumer Panel members
The CAA Consumer Panel membership brings together strategic thinking and outstanding analytical aptitude and the ability to apply these in a practical way to improve the experience for commercial air passengers.
Rt Hon Jenny Willott OBE, Chair
Jenny was appointed to the Panel in January 2018. Jenny was Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central for ten years, serving as Consumer Affairs Minister, with responsibilities including consumer policy, competition policy and employment law, Women and Equalities Minister and as a Government Whip. She is now the Director of Enterprise and Innovation at St Mary's University, Twickenham, and a Non-Executive Director for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Prior to entering Parliament she worked in the voluntary sector, including as Chief Executive of Victim Support South Wales and Head of Advocacy for UNICEF UK.
Carol is an Honorary Reader in Consumer Policy and former Director of the Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Carol is a member of the Office of Rail and Road Consumer Expert Panel. She is Chair of the Qualifications and Awards Board for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. Carol is also a member of the working group on Consumers in Vulnerable Circumstances at Consumer Scotland. Between 2015 and 2019, Carol was Chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Consumer Panel. She recently chaired a team of experts on consumer education for the European Commission. Carol's research interests include consumer policy, complaint management, dispute resolution, consumer empowerment and customer experience. Carol draws on her research to influence new developments in strategy, policy and practice.
Helen Dolphin MBE
Helen is a committed campaigner on improving transport for disabled people. After becoming disabled in her early twenties Helen trained as a journalist and worked for ITV Anglia News as a news reporter. She followed this by taking up the role of Director of Policy and Campaigns for a national disabled charity. Helen now works as an independent mobility specialist advising government, public, commercial and professional bodies on how to improve accessibility. Helen is a member of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), Joint Chair of the Heathrow Access Advisory Group, a Member of the British Science Associations Equality and Diversity group and Chair of her local mobility assessment centre East Anglia Driveability (EAD).
Jennifer is a Deputy Director at the Office of Road and Rail, with responsibility for the ORR’s Periodic Review of Network Rail. She has worked on economic regulation, competition policy and consumer protection within sector regulators and industry in roles spanning the rail, aviation, water, financial services, telecoms and broadcasting sectors. She was previously Head of Stakeholder Engagement & Policy at Thames Water, leading work on the business planning process for the industry price review. She has also been involved in the setting of charges at airports across Europe as Head of Airport Regulation and Policy at easyJet. Jennifer served for six years as a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel . She previously worked in strategy and competition policy at Ofcom.
Rick Hill MBE
Rick has had a varied career in both the voluntary sector, film/tv industry and media regulation. Chairman of Northern Ireland Screen Commission 2008-2013, he took the lead role in developing digital content, supporting new programme and delivery formats in the film/tv sector. Rick has also worked in Consumer advocacy. He was Chairman of the General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, a member of Consumer Focus UK Board and Chairman of the Scottish Government Consumer and Competition Working Group. Deputy Chairperson of the Independent Press Standards Organisation until 2020 and he is currently the Communications Consumer Panel Chairperson and the Northern Ireland Member. Rick also chairs the Telecoms Industry Forum and the UK Communications Consumer Forum.
Walter Merricks CBE
Walter's career over the past 20 years has involved work with ombudsman and complaint services, competition and consumer protection systems and regulatory bodies in the retail financial services, gambling, surveying and legal services, press, telecoms, energy, copyright licensing and ATOL protection sectors. He was the inaugural Financial Ombudsman and worked with the Financial Services Consumer Panel between 1999 and 2009. He recently served for six years on the board of the Gambling Commission, and now chairs the boards of IMPRESS (the Independent Monitor for the Press), and of JUSTICE, the law reform charity.
Following a short period lecturing in law at the University of Leicester, Jacqueline Minor joined the European civil service, first at the Court of Justice and subsequently at the European Commission. After more than 20 years' working on Internal Market issues, including a period as Director responsible for Consumer Policy, she served as Head of the Commission's Representation in the UK from 2013 until retirement in 2017. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Brighton, an Honorary Senior Fellow of Regent's University, London and a Governor of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.
David is a chartered accountant and an economist. He was appointed a specialist panel member at the Competition and Markets Authority in 2017 and since 2016 has run his own consulting practice focusing on economics, regulation and disputes in the communications sector. David was a director of competition and regulatory finance at Ofcom where he had responsibility for, among other things, price controls. After leaving Ofcom he established and led KPMG's global economics and regulation practice.
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 Board Member for Consumer Scotland, Collaboration Network and the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman. A winner of Social Entrepreneur of the year, James is a non-executive for a number of start-ups including Rightly and JamDoughnut. His focus is on helping businesses deliver market-leading customer service, while helping consumers understand and exercise their consumer rights. James also has three national weekly consumer columns.
Vaughan is a consumer protection and regulatory lawyer with expertise in industry-based ADR and in regulatory compliance and enforcement. He has recently joined the Financial Conduct Authority as a Lead Associate Counsel, and previously worked for a number of years at the energy regulator Ofgem where he was a senior lawyer in the enforcement team. He was previously Principal Investigator at the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in his native Australia. Vaughan has also spent time in the community sector, having been Secretary of the Public Transport Users Association in Melbourne and representing that organisation on a number of advisory and advocacy bodies including the working party that established Victoria’s Public Transport Ombudsman. He is a supervising lawyer at the Waterloo Legal Advice Service and sits as a magistrate on the South East London bench.
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