Gambling Commission appoints new Commissioners
On 31 October 2023, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (“DCMS”) announced the Secretary of State had appointed seven new independent Commissioners to the Gambling Commission, taking effect from 11 September 2023. Charles Counsell, Helen Dodds, Sheree Howard and Claudia Mortimore have been appointed for terms of five years. Lloydette Bai-Marrow, Helen Phillips and David Rossington have been appointed for terms of four years. Together with the existing Commissioners and Chair, Marcus Boyle, they form the Gambling Commission’s Board of Commissioners (the “Board”).
Earlier this year, DCMS advertised to fill six Commissioner vacancies, to include three appointees with expert experience in one of: consumer protection and insight; data science and digital innovation; and law enforcement. In the end, seven Commissioners were appointed rather than the advertised six.
The Gambling Commission’s job advert made clear that the Commissioners will have responsibility for:
- Ensuring that the Gambling Commission fulfils its statutory objectives and duties;
- Ensuring that any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with;
- Setting the overarching strategy for the organisation and making strategically significant decisions;
- Setting organisational risk appetite and ensuring a framework for effective identification and mitigation of top risks;
- Ensuring that the Board receives and reviews regular information and data concerning the management of the Gambling Commission;
- Setting the overarching stakeholder engagement strategy;
- Demonstrating high standards of corporate governance at all times.
Meanwhile, the job advert outlined the following essential criteria:
- An understanding of the policy and/or legislative environment within which a regulator such as the Gambling Commission operates;
- Evidence of working as part of a team towards a shared goal, including ability to make a strong personal contribution;
- The ability to analyse complex material and take well-reasoned decisions;
- A commitment to improving opportunities for people throughout the UK and access to people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Various desirable criteria were also set out, including corporate experience in a regulated sector, regulatory experience and experience supporting organisational change (amongst others).
Seven new Commissioners
Both DCMS and the Gambling Commission have published biographies for the new Commissioners and we welcome the strong focus on equality, diversity and inclusion in addition to other relevant experience. We also welcome the appointments, particularly the diverse backgrounds including in commerce and other regulated industries (including law!), and hope that the Commissioners will support and build on the Gambling Commission’s recent efforts to improve relations with industry, acknowledging that better relationships lead to better and quicker regulatory outcomes.
Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive summary, an overview of each Commissioner’s biography is detailed below:
- Lloydette Bai-Marrow is an anti-corruption expert and economic crime lawyer. She is the Founding Partner of Parametric Global Consulting, the Chair of the Board of Spotlight on Corruption and sits on the Legal Panel for Whistleblowers UK. She is also a trustee for the Unite Foundation, and a Member of the Conduct Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Lloydette is also a Co-Founder and Director of the Black Women in Leadership Network.
- Charles Counsell OBE was the Chief Executive Officer of The Pensions Regulator from April 2019 to March 2023. Before this, he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Money Advice Service and Executive Director of Automatic Enrolment at The Pensions Regulator.
- Helen Dodds OStJ is an international lawyer, consultant and board member. She is currently a board member of the Human Tissue Authority, a director and trustee of the St John’s Eye Hospital Group, a director of LegalUK, and an Honorary Senior Fellow of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. Previously, she was a board member of the London Court of International Arbitration.
- Sheree Howard has over 25 years’ experience of the UK financial services industry with knowledge of the process of regulation and a focus on risk management, audit and controls. She is currently the Executive Director of Risk and Compliance at the Financial Conduct Authority, and is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. She has also held senior positions in banking in areas of risk and compliance including at the Royal Bank of Scotland and Direct Line Group.
- Claudia Mortimore has over 25 years’ experience of criminal law and regulation. After accumulating 10 years of experience as a barrister, she prosecuted drugs, tax and money-laundering offences for the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office and fraudulent trading offences for the Department of Business. She has also held senior positions in the Enforcement Division of the Financial Reporting Council.
- Helen Phillips is an experienced executive and non-executive, with a career underpinning the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Helen is currently appointed in a non-executive capacity as the Chair of NHS Professionals Ltd and Chair of the Chartered Insurance Institute. She is also concluding a nine-year term as Chair of Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Helen has also held various other positions within social work, education and environmental organisations.
- David Rossington CB is a former senior civil expert. He has worked for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as Finance Director and acting Director General. He has also worked for other Government departments including what is now the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Remuneration and Governance Code
The DCMS’ website confirms that Commissioners are remunerated at £14,160 per year (£295 per day) plus expenses, and that the seven appointments were duly made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments (“the Governance Code”). The Governance Code requires the declaration of any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years (e.g. holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation or candidature for election); none of the appointees declared any significant political activity.