Bristow & Sutor is hailing the impact of the Independent Advisory Panel established to oversee its operations and challenge all aspects of the business to meet the highest standards of ethics and compliance.
Established in September 2018, the Panel is chaired by leading expert, Anthony Sharp, who is joined by four experts from the world of debt and money advice, credit management and regulatory compliance.
In addition to its wide-ranging mandate to scrutinise and advise on Bristow & Sutor’s operations, the Panel also serves as final stage adjudicator and independent review body for the company’s complaints process.
Early impacts from the Independent Advisory Panel’s work include enhancements to staff training, changes to some internal processes, changes to some of the ways of working of the company’s Enforcement Agents and greater professionalism in the telephone collection operation. Additional improvements around data enrichment, along with a data protection protocol with the advice sector have been identified.
Bristow & Sutor CEO, Andy Rose, said: “The input of the Panel has been invaluable. I like to think ethics and compliance has always been front and centre for us but there are always things we can do better. The Panel’s independent advice and challenge keeps us up to the mark”.
“I am proud that Anthony accepted our invitation to head the Panel and grateful for the input of the experts he identified to join him. Their continued challenge and recommendations will help us learn, evolve and adapt to the needs of the rapidly-changing enforcement environment. We take our responsibilities very seriously and are committed to the panel’s access and autonomy.”
Panel Chair, Anthony Sharp, said: “I commend Bristow & Sutor for opening themselves up to independent scrutiny and advice in this way. It’s quite rare for the enforcement industry. Our early engagement has been constructive and we look forward to bringing an outside perspective to bear.”
In its early months, in addition to regular meetings, members of the Panel have also observed Bristow & Sutor teams in action, accompanying enforcement agents on visits and listening in on call centre conversations.
The members of the Panel were identified directly by the Chair, rather than Bristow & Sutor and are:
Sam is Director and Founder of Money Advice Hub, a free debt advice community interest company based in the East of England. Sam has worked for a number of debt advice organisations in senior roles. She was Chair of the Institute of Money Advisers and Vice Chair of the Money Advice Liaison Group for a number of years. She is a St George's House, Windsor Castle Leadership Fellow. She brings experience of supporting people with serious financial difficulties and mental health issues. Sam is also an executive management consultant, Google Educator, and experienced tutor on topics such as debt regulation, mental health and vulnerability, compliance and governance.
Mark began his career in the enforcement world and worked in the credit and collections industry over 35 years as a senior collections leader in both the consumer and commercial fields. He has a passion for continuing professional development and has worked to create increased industry awareness and responsibility for supporting vulnerable customers. He has worked on matters relating to mental health and debt and currently provides performance coaching and mentoring support to individuals and companies looking to enhance their levels of communication and service delivery.
Anthony Sharp (Chair)
Anthony co-founded the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) in 1987 and was its Chair for 29 years. He is also Vice Chair of the Enforcement Law Review Group, which is a cross industry non-policy making body that aims to provide a forum which enables liaison and open discussion between all sides of the debt enforcement arena. He led MALG’s work to develop support and guidance for individuals with mental health and debt problems, working closely with the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He has been involved in the industry for over 45 years, both as a credit management practitioner and an independent consultant.
Jane has spent most of her working life in local government regulatory services and the civil service, most recently holding senior posts related to credit and debt in the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Conduct Authority. She runs her own business and is presently Head of Compliance for the Family Finance Group in Tredegar, South Wales.
Dionne Stocking (Secretary)
Dionne has worked in senior roles in the debt collection and advice sector for a number of years. Most recently she has served as Membership Co-ordinator of Money Advice Liaison Group and is Honorary Secretary of The Enforcement Law Review Group.