Commissioner and senior staff profiles

The Commission

 

Mick King
Michael King

Michael King
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman & Chair of the Commission

Michael King joined us in 2004 and served as Deputy Ombudsman, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer before becoming the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in 2017. He has been responsible for introducing our public advice service and our groundbreaking jurisdiction for private sector adult care complaints.

He was previously the Chief Trading Standards Officer for Northumberland County Council, having spent fifteen years in consumer and public protection roles in the North East of England. He has, in addition, served as a voluntary trustee for Alnwick Citizen’s Advice Bureau, as an external examiner in forensic investigation and consumer law for Teesside University, and as an independent council member of a private sector ombudsman scheme.

Rob Behrens
Rob Behrens

 

Rob Behrens
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Ex Officio member

Rob Behrens is Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the UK, Visiting Professor at UCL Institute of Education, Chair of the ENOHE, the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education, and Board Member of UCAS, the university admissions service. He was Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive of OIAHE, the ombudsman service for higher education students in England and Wales, for two terms between 2008 and 2016. Rob was a member of the Bar Standards Board between 2012 and 2017 and Complaints Commissioner to the Bar Standards Board between 2006 and 2008.

Previously, Rob worked in higher education and then had a civil service career, including working on the South African transformation from apartheid, other international development, and three years as Secretary to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the body giving independent advice on standards to the Prime Minister. Rob was educated at state school in Manchester, and at Nottingham and Exeter universities. He was made a CBE for ‘services to higher education’ in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List. Rob’s Being an Ombudsman in Higher Education – A Comparative Study was published by ENOHE in June 2017.

Sir Jon Shortridge head and shoulders
Sir Jon Shortridge

 

Sir Jon Shortridge KCB
Advisory member of the Commission and Chair of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee

Sir Jon Shortridge was Permanent Secretary in Wales from 1999 to 2008. He came out of retirement briefly in 2009 to become the interim Permanent Secretary of the Department of Innovation Universities and Skills, and subsequently of the Department of Business Innovation and Skills.

Amongst his current non-executive roles he is: Chancellor and Chair of Glyndwr University; Chair of Volunteering Matters; a board member of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and chair of the Ombudsman’s audit committee; an advisory member of the Commission for Local Administration in England and chair of its audit committee; a member of the audit and scrutiny committee of Oxford University; and a member of the audit committee of the Royal Society. He was a member of the UK Statistics Authority from 2010 to 2012.

Sir Jon was appointed as Chair of the Audit Committee (now called the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee) in December 2012.

David Liggins head and shoulders
David Liggins

 

David Liggins
Advisory member of the Commission and Chair of the Remuneration Committee

David Liggins spent the early part of his career as an academic, teaching economics for seven years at University of Birmingham. He then spent four years as deputy chief executive at West Midlands County Council.

Following that, he spent the next 11 years, at PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a partner, working on public sector audits and management consultancy, mainly for central government and local authorities.

Since then he has run his own community regeneration consultancy and a company helping new ventures to start up and find funding.

During the last 20 years, he has been chair and/or non-executive director of three local charities, two public/private sector partnerships (funding, building and managing primary care centres for the NHS), six private companies, six NHS bodies and three community groups. He has served on many committees for these bodies, notably remuneration and audit, and has attended extensive training in finance, risk management, governance and change.

David was appointed as Chair of the Remuneration Committee in December 2012 and joined the Commission as an advisory member in April 2014.

Carol Brady head and shoulders
Carol Brady

 

Carol Brady MBE
Advisory member of the Commission

Carol Brady has more than 20 years' experience working in the field of regulation and consumer protection and particularly in delivering consumer services. She began her career with trading standards and has worked in the former Department for Trade and Industry, to set up the Consumer Direct helpline in the UK.

Carol has also worked for the Office of Fair Trading and Local Better Regulation Office, being responsible for improving the performance of regulation and the relationship between regulators and business. Carol is also the Chair of the Board of the Trading Standards Institute.

Carol is a non-executive board member for the Ministry of Justice's Claims Management Regulation Unit and a Guardian of the Birmingham Assay Office.

Carol joined the Commission as an advisory member in July 2014.

Executive Team

Nigel Ellis
Nigel Ellis

 

Nigel Ellis
Chief Executive Officer

Nigel Ellis was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2017, after previously being our Director of Operations and Head of Investigation. Previously he was in charge of National Inspection and Assessment at the Care Quality Commission, leading 150 staff in specialist teams of inspectors, investigators and professional advisors. 

Before this he was Head of Investigations at the NHS regulator, the Healthcare Commission, leading high profile investigations into systemic failures including: high mortality rates at Mid Staffs NHS Trust, outbreaks of hospital infections at Maidstone and Stoke Mandeville, abuse of people with learning disabilities at Cornwall Partnership Trust, maternal deaths at Northwick Park Hospital, and the failure of services to Peter Connolly (‘Baby P’) in Haringey. Nigel has worked in different roles in the voluntary sector, including Director at the MS Society, parliamentary lobbyist, and consumer rights researcher.

Paul Conroy
Paul Conroy

 

Paul Conroy
Director of Intake & Assessment

Paul Conroy joined us in 2000 and previously served as an Investigator and Assistant Ombudsman before leading a significant transformation project as the Head of Assessment. He also led the piloting of the Government’s schools complaints service across fourteen local authority areas in 2010 – 2012.    

Previously Paul worked at the Legal Services Commission, as well as working as a Welfare Adviser and manager of several advice centres providing information and support to members of the public.

Jayne Spence
Jayne Spence

 

Jayne Spence
Head of Policy & Communications

Jayne Spence joined us in March 2017 to head up the policy and communications team. Prior to that she spent nearly ten years leading corporate communications in an executive agency of Defra, supporting operational delivery to over 100,000 customers and more than 2,000 staff. She played a pivotal role representing the Rural Payments Agency in Defra’s ambitious transformation project to create a single communications team for all members of the group. Jayne spent more than twenty years leading marketing and communications, in various roles, for the Royal Agricultural Society of England and Haymarket Events. Her focus included shows, exhibitions, outreach and the organisation’s venue near Coventry. Jayne is a member-nominated trustee for a pension fund.

Karen Sykes
Karen Sykes

 

Karen Sykes
Director of Investigation

Karen Sykes joined us in 2005 and served as an Assistant Ombudsman before becoming Director of Investigation in April 2017. Karen has been responsible for managing an investigation team through a period of significant change as well as work to enhance business efficiency, knowledge management and the impact of our casework. In her current role she is responsible for leading, managing and co-ordinating the Investigation function.

She was previously a Policy Manager at the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly with a focus on economy and skills, policy and scrutiny of the Regional Development Agency. Karen has also had a number of local government roles in Yorkshire and the North-East working in economic development, planning, transport, environmental services, social care and housing.

 

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