Consumer expert panel

We protect and promote the interests of those using and funding Britain's railways. Our consumer expert panel provides independent advice to help us fulfil our role as the railways' safety, economic consumer and competition regulator.

What's the role and purpose of the expert panel?

  • The independent panel will help us ensure our policies and decisions benefit from a sound understanding of consumers and are effective in delivering positive change for rail users.
  • The panel is advisory, helping us to deliver better outcomes for rail consumers by examining or assessing policy or regulation and advising us on consumer interests or issues.
  • The panel's wide range of experience and expertise will help us to understand the issues affecting consumers in other regulated sectors and the wider economy.
  • The panel will complement existing relationships with organisations representing consumers' interests.

How is the panel organised?

  • The panel will meet four times a year to review and discuss issues raised by us or proposed by the panel members.
  • Members are invited for a two year term. Membership may change to ensure a range of expertise relevant to our role and developments in Britain's railways.
  • Agendas and other papers will be available on this page.

What will the panel do?

The panel can review, challenge and advise on our business planning, regulatory policies, policy development, impact assessment and research agenda to help us develop clear and robust evidence of consumer outcomes in rail.

The panel members

The individual members of our panel bring a range of academic, advocacy, consumer research and commercial expertise to support the institutional members' expertise with rail and transport. Individual members currently include:

  • Professor Catherine Waddams, Professor of Regulation at the University of East Anglia and founding Director of the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy. Catherine is particularly interested in the distributional impact of regulatory reform and the role of consumer choice in making markets work well.
  • Rob Sheldon, Managing Director, Accent.  Rob has over 30 years experience in market research, primarily in the public and service sectors - transport, utilities, communications, finance, healthcare and education.
  • Nicola Munro was a Board member of Consumer Focus Scotland from 2008 and has led work on health, environment, transport, housing, planning, third sector, equality and anti-poverty programmes in the Scottish Government.
  • Simon Rustom is managing director of CC, helping companies to deliver high quality customer management and contact centre advice. Simon has worked closely with a number of the train operators, for example, in increasing customer satisfactions scores and improving customer information systems.
  • Professor Daniel Zizzo, Dean of Research and Innovation and Professor of Economics at Newcastle University, is an experimental and behavioural economist. Current research interests include bounded rationality, consumer behaviour and nudging in the presence of complexity.
  • Dr Paul Swift is a social policy research and development consultant with over 30 years’ experience working for a variety of universities, local authorities and national charities. He specializes in social inclusion for people living with cognitive impairments (such as learning disabilities and dementia) and those experiencing mental health problems. He has a particular interest in how public services can be made more accessible to these groups.

The panel also comprises institutional members that bring a range of sector specific expertise and research to understand the different needs and experiences of passengers that rely on Britain's railways:

  • Transport Focus and London TravelWatch are the independent voice of the passenger, ensuring passengers' views are heard by government and industry.
  • The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) advises government on the transport needs of disabled people, advocating for an accessible transport system.