We are the champions: new team ready to work for water customers in London and the South East

A NEW team of consumer advocates is ready for the challenge of championing the interests of water customers in London and the South East.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has appointed six local consumer advocates to work closely with the region’s water companies and to ensure they are acting in the best interests of water customers.

Caroline Warner, Laura Willoughby MBE, Penny Shepherd MBE, Rachel Onikosi and Ingrid Strawson will join existing member Helen Charlton, who has been reappointed for a second term.

The group will represent the interests of customers of Affinity Water, Portsmouth Water, Southern Water, South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water and Thames Water.

Sir Tony Redmond, London and South East Chair for CCWater, said: “Our local consumer advocates play a crucial role in holding water companies to account and ensuring they deliver the services customers expect.

“They are looking forward to the challenge of providing a strong and effective voice for customers throughout London and the South East.”

Local consumer advocates press water companies to make sure they are delivering value for money and improving their customer service by tackling the causes of customers’ complaints.

Meet the team:

Caroline Warner is a former marketing director with experience managing international brand portfolios in consumer goods companies. She is currently Board Director of Fairchildes Academy Community Trust, School Governor at Fairchildes Primary School, a volunteer parent reader at her daughter’s school and graduate researcher at Sussex University.

Laura Willoughby MBE is a consumer campaigner and has been a local councillor in Islington for 12 years. She is Chief Executive of the National Campaign for the Arts, Move Your Money and The Food Chain.

Penny Shepherd MBE is a lay member for the Regulation Board, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries; Chair of External Sustainability Panel, Lafarge Tarmac and Trustee and Investment Committee Chair, Local Trust/Big Local. Her previous roles include Chief Executive of UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association; Chief Executive of London Sustainability Exchange and a former member of London Sustainable Development Commission.

Rachel Onikosi is an elected councillor in the London Borough of Lewisham and sitting magistrate on a South East London bench.  She has previously worked for the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills on consumer policy and has past investigations experience with a UK enforcement body.

Ingrid Strawson is a retired IBM business executive with an interest in maximising the business benefits of new technology. She has represented IBM on UK government committees relating to IT standards, procurement and the Private Finance Initiative. She is also the former Managing Director of a start-up business selling eco-friendly solar powered torches and chargers. Ingrid is a board member of the Gambia Women’s Initiative and a member of the Royal Yachting Association Participation and Membership Committee.

Helen Charlton is an existing local consumer advocate for CCWater. She is a solicitor with particular experience in the EU, competition and utilities regulation in the private sector. Helen is a past member of the Electricity Consumers’ Council for London, and the National Consumer Council for Postal Services (Postwatch).