Developing a strategy for access to advice and support on Social Welfare Law in England and Wales
Email Tel. 020 7833 7423

Commissioners


Colin Low

Colin Low (Lord Low of Dalston, CBE), blind since the age of three, with a background in law and disability theory and experience of serving on the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, has been a lifelong campaigner for the rights of blind and disabled people. He is a Vice-President of the Royal National Institute of Blind People; is President of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment; and has undertaken important roles in a wide range of other organisations, including the Disability Rights Commission.

Amanda Finlay

Amanda Finlay CBE was formerly a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Justice, responsible for legal aid and legal services strategy. Now retired, she is a member of the Civil Justice Council, and of the CJC Working Group on Self Represented Litigants, a Council member of Justice, a trustee of LawWorks and of LawforLife, and a public governor of Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

Bob Chapman

Bob works part-time as a management consultant, mainly in the legal sector, and is a member of the Welsh Committee of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council and a Member of the Board of Consumer Focus Wales. Following 25 years in advice work at Citizens Advice Bureaux and local authority Welfare Rights Units he joined the Legal Services Commission for where he became the acting Wales Director. Bob is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management, the Chair of the Trustee Board of the Swansea Neath Port Talbot Citizens Advice Bureau, a Trustee and Company Secretary of the Bevan Foundation.

Mark Gamsu

Mark is a visiting professor at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is a Trustee of Citizens Advice and is on the board of a number of voluntary organisations in Sheffield including Sheffield Mental Health CAB.
When working for the Department of Health he led on the national work on Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and before that was responsible for the departments regional work in Yorkshire and Humber on Health Inequalities - mainly with local authorities. He also established the nationally recognised Altogether Better Health Champion Programme and continues to be an advisor to it.

Vandna Gohil

Vandna began her career as a community outreach worker at Coventry Law Centre and then worked as Senior Welfare Rights Worker at Leicester City Council. She became Deputy Director of Voluntary Action Leicester in 1988 and then moved to the National Lottery Community Fund where she was UK Policy and Development Manager. She then became Learning and Development Manager at Futurebuilders before being appointed the first Director of Voice4Change England in 2007. In 2012 she became Programme Manager for Voluntary Action Leicestershire.

David Hagg

David is Chief Executive of Stroud District Council. His public service includes experience at metropolitan boroughs, shire districts and counties in the North East and North West of England. David has served on regional legal service bodies and the District Council Chief Executive’s Network.

Steve Hynes

Steve is the director of the Legal Action Group (LAG). Before joining LAG, Steve was the director of the Law Centres Federation. He started his advice and legal services career as a manager of a Citizens Advice Bureau in Manchester, before moving on to become a manager of a large, independent legal advice centre. He spent six years as co-ordinator of Rochdale Law Centre, where he also undertook casework, mainly in employment and discrimination law. He is author of various publications including ‘Austerity Justice’ (2012).

Pam Kenworthy

Pam has been a solicitor since 1982. In addition to specialising in disability discrimination cases, she leads the Howells CLA Telephone Community Helpline funded by the Legal Services Commission. In 2010 Pam was named Best Woman Solicitor Managing a Legal Aid Practice by the Association of Women Solicitors. She is a member of Employment Lawyers Association, Discrimination Law Association, Stonewall, Lawyers for Liberty.

Vicky Ling

Vicky Ling has been involved in the legal advice sector since the early 1980s, and has worked in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. She has experience in consumer, welfare benefits and debt advice, and has managed a CAB and a Law Centre. She was a Liaison Manager at the Legal Aid Board in the early days of ‘franchising’. Vicky is an independent consultant working with firms of solicitors in private practice and not for profit agencies. She writes and lectures on practice management, particularly legal aid.

Susan Steed

Susan works part time at the New Economics Foundation, where she worked with Advice UK on commissioning for outcomes to legal aid; involved working with Coventry Advice Network convened by the Law Centre. Susan is also working towards a PhD at University of Bristol (Centre for Marketing and Public Organisation), looking at how well Bristol CAB operate the triage system.