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Executive Team

Advisory Panel

Audit & Risk Assurance Committee

Organisational Chart

 

About me and my team

My name is Nick Bennett and as Public Services Ombudsman for Wales I have legal powers to look into complaints about public services and independent care providers in Wales. I also investigate complaints that members of local government bodies have broken their authority’s code of conduct. I am independent of all government bodies.

I have a team of people who help me to consider and investigate complaints. The service that we provide is impartial and free of charge.

Executive Team

Nick Bennett

Appointed Public Services Ombudsman for Wales in August 2014, Nick was previously Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru. Brought up on Anglesey, he attended Aberystwyth University taking a degree in Politics and an MBA. Between 1995 and 1999 he worked in Brussels, lobbying for Welsh regional policy interests.  Nick was Special Adviser to the Welsh Deputy First Minister between 2000 and 2002.

A former member of the All Wales Convention, the “Williams Commission” or Public Services Commission for Wales and the Welsh Language Board, he is a former Chair of the Ombudsman Association and a Director of the IOI World Board European Region. In January 2021 the Senedd voted to extend his term as Ombudsman to March 2022.

Nick Bennett Declaration of Interest

Chris Vinestock

Chris was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2014. With a degree in economics and finance, and an MBA from Cardiff University, Chris is a qualified accountant.  Before joining the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales he worked for Cardiff and Swansea Councils in a number of senior roles covering accountancy, audit, engineering, highways and transportation.

Prior to his appointment he was Head of Service for Highways & Transportation in Swansea.  Chris chairs the Human Resources Group of the Ombudsman Association and has worked closely with the Association to develop service standards for Ombudsman schemes across the UK.

Chris Vinestock Declaration of Interest

 Katrin Shaw

Katrin was brought up in Cardigan in West Wales, attended Sheffield Hallam University where she gained a BA in law.  She was admitted as a Solicitor in 1996 and worked as a local government lawyer before she joined the Ombudsman’s office as an Investigator in 2001. Since then, Katrin has held managerial roles in the office and is now the PSOW’s Chief Legal Adviser & Director of Investigations.

Katrin was Chair of the Ombudsman Association’s Legal Interest Group from 2016 until 2019 and is a member of the UK’s Administrative Justice Council.

She was appointed as Acting Standards Commissioner by the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards in October 2020 and volunteers for Neath Port Talbot Age Connects.

Katrin Shaw Declaration of Interest

Advisory Panel

The Advisory Panel is a non‑statutory forum whose main role is to provide support and advice to the Ombudsman in providing leadership and good governance of the office of the PSOW. The Advisory Panel also brings an external perspective to assist in the development of policy and practice.

The Advisory Panel provides specific advice and support to the Ombudsman on:

  • vision, values and purposes;
  • strategic direction and planning; and
  • operational performance, accountability & delivery.

The Advisory Panel is an advisory only body to the Ombudsman, and does not make decisions in its own right. The Advisory Panel Review of the Year 2020-21 can be found here.

Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee supports the Ombudsman by reviewing the comprehensiveness and reliability of assurances on governance, risk management, the control environment and the integrity of financial statements and the annual report.

The 2020-21 Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Annual Review can be found here.

 

Advisory Panel / Audit & Risk Assurance Committee Members

Advisory Panel Terms of Reference

Audit and Risk Assurance Committee – Terms of Reference

Policy on Declarations of Interests by Advisory Panel and Audit & Risk Assurance Committee Members

Ian Williams

Advisory Panel Member / Audit & Risk Assurance Committee Member

Ian was the Group Chief Executive of Hendre until he retired in July 2017. Ian is a Chartered Surveyor and a Fellow of the Institute of Housing. He worked for almost 40 years in the Housing Association movement in South Wales and developed Hendre into one of the largest traditional housing associations in Wales providing Housing Care and support to around 20,000 people, employing over 1,250 staff.

Ian has served in numerous non-executive roles including Chair of Community Housing Cymru and Chair of the Welsh Housing Partnership.

Ian Williams Declaration of Interest

Trevor Coxon

Advisory Panel Member / Audit & Risk Assurance Committee Member

Trevor recently retired from his position of Head of Corporate & Customer Services and Monitoring Officer with Wrexham County Borough Council having been in post there since July 2003. He is a fully qualified solicitor and additionally managed the customer services section responsible for maintaining the Council’s corporate complaints procedure and Member Code of Conduct administration.

He has served all his career in local government either as an employed solicitor or latterly in senior management roles. Before moving to Wrexham in 2003, he was the Deputy and Assistant Chief Executive at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in Leek, Staffordshire.

Trevor Coxon Declaration of Interest

Carys Evans

Advisory Panel Member 

Carys was Head of Insight and Data at S4C until 2019, utilising a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques to analyse audience trends and changing needs.  She has also worked in the past for WJEC, ITV Wales and the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Carys has served as a Board Member for Wales Consumer Council from 2000 to 2008 and for Audiences Wales between 2006 and 2015.

Carys Evans Declaration of Interest

Joanest Varney-Jackson

Audit & Risk Assurance Committee Member

A graduate of UCW Aberystwyth, Joanest was admitted as a solicitor in 1982.  Originally from Pembrokeshire, a somewhat nomadic lifestyle followed from a career in the legal departments of various local authorities in Wales and England.  In 1992 she returned to Wales from the London Borough of Harrow.  In 2000 Joanest joined the newly established National Assembly for Wales working primarily in legislative drafting and scrutiny until retiring in 2017.

Joanest Varney-Jackson Declaration of Interest

Jane Martin CBE

Advisory Panel Member

Dr Jane Martin joined the Advisory Board of PSOW in September 2019. Until January 2017 she was Local Government Ombudsman and Chair of the Commission for Local Administration in England. She was the first Executive Director of the Centre for Public Scrutiny. Now a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life and a non-executive member of the Board of the Office for Legal Complaints for England and Wales, she was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2017 for services to administrative justice and transparency in local government.

Jane Martin Declaration of Interest

John McSherry

Audit & Risk Assurance Committee Member

John worked for the Admiral Group Limited for 27 years in a variety of roles including leading Motor Claims departments and handling catastrophic bodily injury claims.  He has represented Admiral on external committees such as the MIB technical committee and ABI property claims committee. He was Head of Household claims and Claims Ancillary products until leaving in March 2019. John holds a BSc (Open) degree including Business Management, Personal Finance and Economics and is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII) and a member of the CII’s Swansea Council. He is currently Operations Manager for Avantia Home Protect.

John McSherry Declaration of Interest

Mike Usher

Advisory Panel Member / Audit & Risk Assurance Committee Member

Mike Usher retired in 2020 from Audit Wales, where he was a member of the Executive Leadership Team and the strategic lead for the Auditor General’s financial and value for money external audit work across central government and NHS Wales. He was also the Director of Investigative Studies, responsible for examining concerns about public services raised by Senedd members, MPs and the public. Prior to joining Audit Wales on its creation in 2005, Mike was a Director of Audit at the National Audit Office, based in Cardiff.

Mike is an experienced non-executive director with particular expertise in corporate governance, risk management, financial strategy and the proper conduct of public business. He previously served as a Trustee of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, where he also chaired the Audit Committee. Mike is currently a co-opted Board member of Newport City Homes, and he also serves on the Audit & Risk Committee of Christ’s Hospital School in Sussex.

Mike Usher Declaration of Interest