This independent body oversees LINK’s work as the Co-ordinating Body that assesses the overall impact of bank branch closures on communities.
In 2022, LINK took on the role of the Co-ordinating Body that assesses the overall impact of bank branch closures on communities. LINK evaluates communities against Criteria agreed by the major UK banks and consumer groups in any location where bank branches are closing, or where a member of a community highlights a problem accessing cash. LINK can recommend new shared services in locations which meet a minimum threshold using these Criteria, which you can read more about here.
To ensure the Criteria are working in the interests of communities and consumers, an independent Panel has been established. The Panel oversees the work LINK does as the Co-ordinating Body, and will also publish opinions about the effectiveness of the Criteria including suggestions for improving them.
The Panel will publish an opinion following each meeting which will focus on whether the Criteria are serving consumers and communities effectively. These opinions are published on this page.
The Panel consists of independent members and representatives of consumer and business groups, who will meet three times a year.
Joanna Wallace - Independent Chair of the Panel
The first part of Joanna's professional career was in healthcare management and leadership. After working in management consultancy and in the USA, she held NHS Chief Executive posts from 1997 to 2005, when she became Chief Executive of a UK subsidiary of Astra Zeneca PLC. She made a career change in April 2013 becoming the Independent Case Examiner for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), a role she was reappointed to in 2019, and still holds. She has NED experience in higher and further education and was a member of the National Sentencing Advisory Panel within the Ministry of Justice. She has a BSc(Hons) in Architecture from UCL, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.
Martin McTague - Federation of Small Businesses
Prior to becoming National Chair in 2022, Martin served as National Vice Chair, Policy & Advocacy, and has been a volunteer with FSB for more than 20 years. As National Chair, Martin works closely with Government and opposition leaders, working to ensure that FSB members’ views are represented at the most senior levels. He has been running his own business for 35 years and currently owns and manages three businesses, offering public policy, engineering and IT consultancy services.
Sian Williams - Independent Member
Sian brings 15 years of experience of working alongside people experiencing financial and social exclusion to identify systemic failures and co-design policies and systems to increase inclusion. Her roles at Toynbee Hall, an East London social reform charity, and Switchback, a resettlement charity for young men leaving prison, have given her unique insight into how mainstream services fail to meet the needs of our most marginalised communities. Sian has made significant contributions to the national debate on access to cash, championing the need for great financial inclusion on a range of industry and independent bodies, including the Link Consumer Council, the Access to Cash Review Panel and the Cash Action Group.
Christopher Brooks - AgeUK
Chris is Head of Policy at Age UK, the leading national charity for older people. Chris heads up the organisation’s public policy work across a range of areas, managing a team of Policy Managers covering issues such as energy, housing, benefits, poverty, scams and equalities. He also leads Age UK’s work on financial services, including banking and pensions. Chris has worked at Age UK since May 2010, prior to which he worked at the awarding body City & Guilds and the financial services public affairs consultancy Lansons.
Scott Kennerley - AdviceNI
Scott is the Director of Financial and Postal Services at the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, the statutory body responsible for promoting the interests of consumers. He is responsible for the strategic leadership of his organisation’s financial and postal services policy work. Prior to joining the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, Scott managed the Debt Advice Service provided by Citizens Advice Northern Ireland and previously worked in the finance industry as a Mental Health Debt Advice Specialist and a Financial Advisor.