YourVoice Panel

Mrs Bernice Law


Mrs Bernice Law

Independent Member


Independent Chair of YourVoice panel


Bernice Law has worked in public service in the North West, mainly in Local Authorities for almost forty years, working latterly as the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at the North West Development Agency. She was Chief Operating Officer for the Liverpool Capital of Culture in 2008. Her most recent role was Operations Director at Liverpool Vision, the Mayor of Liverpool’s economic Development Company.

Bernice has held a number of non executive positions at Merseytravel, Marketing Cheshire and the Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust.

Bernice is very active in the community, and is a school governor and has been a member of the Cheshire Advisory Committee which appointed Magistrates to the Cheshire bench.


Mr Andrew White


Mr Andrew White

Consumer Council for Water


Economic & Social Representative


Andrew White is Senior Policy Manager for the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater), the statutory body which represents the interests of Water and Sewerage customers in England and Wales.

He has more than 20 years’ experience of regulation and consumer representation within the UK Water Industry. During that time he has held positions with Ofwat, WaterVoice and CCWater and worked closely with United Utilities and other water companies to help secure significant service and performance improvements for customers. He has also led the work to represent the interest of the region’s customers at the last three price reviews.

Andrew has led CCWater’s national work on Fair Charging and Affordability since 2006. In that role he has helped gain recognition for the need for water affordability to be addressed and influenced the policy response. His recent work on the implementation of the Governments guidance on social tariffs has led to the introduction of schemes of offer reduced bills to low income customers across England and Wales.

Andrew now heads up CCWater’s social policy team which has responsibility for consumer protection, charges and tariffs, affordability, debt, customer vulnerability and business customers.


Richard Jarvis - YourVoice panel


Dr Richard Jarvis

Public Health England


Health Sector Representative


Dr Jarvis’s role is Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at Public Health England. As such, he prepares for and responds to incidents affecting the health of the public caused by infectious diseases and environmental hazards including chemicals, radiation and some physical hazards such as flooding, heatwaves and cold snaps.

Richard’s geographical patch is Cheshire and Merseyside and he has particular interests in waterborne illness, environmental hazards, the health effects of climate change and the health benefits of sustainable development.

His other roles have included: Head of the North West School of Public Health where he is responsible for the delivery of higher specialist training to 50 professionals wishing to become consultants in public health and he has previously held office as Chairman of the Public Health Medicine Committee of the British Medical Association, with both medical professional and trade union functions.

Richard is also Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Liverpool University, including teaching and examining on their Masters in Public Health course.


Damian Waters - YourVoice panel


Mr Damian Waters

Confederation of British Industry


Economic & Social Represenative


Damian Waters was appointed Regional Director of the CBI North West in January 2003 – prior that Damian was Assistant Director for the CBI North West and North Wales.

He studied Business and Finance at the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education and Lancashire Polytechnic between 1988 and 1991, obtaining first an HND and then a BA (Hons). He has worked as an accountant for an oil refining company and a production director for a manufacturing business in North Wales.

Damian is a member of the Nuclear Network North, the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation Advisory Board and a member of the Court of Governors of Lancaster University and The University of Manchester. For ten years he was Chair of Governors of Britain’s largest primary school. Damian is a Director of The Wild Media Foundation and a Trustee of The Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the People’s History Museum.


Alistair Maltby - YourVoice panel


Mr Alistair Maltby

The Rivers Trust


Environmental Representative


Alistair Maltby is Director for the North of England of The Rivers Trust, the national umbrella body for the rivers trust movement, and has been working on community-led river restoration for 18 years. A Chartered Environmentalist and Fellow of the Institute of Fisheries Management, Alistair has played a leading role in a number of innovative community-led approaches to river catchment management in the West country, London and Cumbria, and was a founding trustee of the Association of Rivers Trusts, which went on to become The Rivers Trust itself.  

Alistair works closely with Defra Water and Fisheries directorates on integrated approaches to water and catchment management. This includes development and implementation of the new policy framework on Catchment-based Approach, and the EU LIFE Integrated Project for delivery of the NW River Basin Management Plan.  

Alistair was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2007 to study climate change resilience in river catchments.


Dr Tayo Adebowale - YourVoice panel


Dr Tayo Adebowale

North West Floods and Coastal Committee (Environment Agency)


Environmental Representative


Dr Adebowale is a Chartered Environmentalist, and Chartered Water and Environmental Manager, with over 30 years of experience. She provides independent advice to a wide range of clients under the trading name of Cirkadia.  She is the Environment Agency Appointed Member for Sustainability, on the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

Tayo has over 9 years’ experience as a Non-Executive Director within the public sector (Natural England, and the Forestry Commission), assisting to shape environmental policy and strategy). She is also a member of the Design Council’s Cabe ‘Built Environment Expert (BEE)’ Panel.

Her portfolio includes environmental projects relating to strategy, policy, sustainable development and sustainable business management / green economy (including energy and resource efficiency), wastewater treatment, water quality and management, land management and regeneration, environmental impact assessments, academia, stakeholder dialogue and partnership building, and environmental auditing.


Allen Creedy - YourVoice panel


Mr Allen Creedy

Federation of Small Businesses


Economic & Social Represenative


Allen is the Chairman of Water, Energy, Environment and Policy Unit for the Federation of Small Businesses, the UK’s largest business member organisation with more than 200,000 business members.

Allen has more than 30 years’ experience of working at a senior level in local authorities, the European Commission and now as a consultant to the Water and Energy sectors.

Allen is a practicing chartered town planner and environmentalist. He represented the FSB members’ interests at the last price review and is involved in designing the codes or practice and framework for 2017 water market liberalisation and ensuring that the views of small businesses are taken into account by regulators and water companies.


Robert Light - YourVoice panel


Robert Light

Consumer Council for Water


Economic Social Representative


Robert took on the role of Northern Chair & Board Member for the Consumer Council for Water in July 2015 the statutory consumer body for water & sewerage customers in England & Wales.  

This followed three years as Deputy Chairman of Environment Agency and six years on the board in total.  During this time Robert led for the Agency Board on sustainability, water, business regulation, biodiversity and waste.  

Robert has also served as a non-executive Director on the Boards of the Audit Commission and Firebuy Ltd as well as the Leadership and Executive Board of the Local Government Association.  

Robert has 24 years’ experience in Local Government serving as a Kirklees Metropolitan Councillor during which time he has held numerous roles including Council Leader, Chair of the Leeds City Region, Chair of Cabinet and Chair of the Kirklees Strategic Partnership. He was also the Chairman of West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.  

Robert presently chairs the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Scrutiny Committee.


Keith Ashcroft - YourVoice panel


Keith Ashcroft

Environment Agency


Environmental Representative


Keith Ashcroft is a Deputy Director with the Environment Agency and their Area Manager for Cumbria and Lancashire. He is an experienced senior environmental leader - leading a multi-disciplinary team of 400 environmental professionals delivering wide ranging environmental protection, regulation and improvement in North West England. He has provided strategic leadership of major incident response and recovery including Cumbria and Lancashire floods in 2009 and 2015 as well as sponsorship of major flood risk infrastructure development including Cockermouth, Warrington and the £86m Lancashire Coastal Protection programme. He has extensive experience of environmental issues from environmental monitoring and planning to regulation of major industry including chemical, waste, onshore oil and gas and nuclear sectors.

He currently contributes to national leadership in issues including waste regulation, improving fisheries, biodiversity, land and water quality, nuclear new build and onshore oil and gas. He has a strong record of effective partnership development at senior level including chairing NW River Basin Liaison Panel, strategic overview of environmental risk and opportunity in major regeneration and growth programmes including Media City and Cumbria and Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnerships.

His international experience includes supporting governance and capacity development including work in South Africa, Nigeria and Madagascar as well as nuclear regulation in France an Belgium. Spare time is filled with walking, tennis, golf, cycling and (knees permitting) volleyball which he once played at National League and County level.


Barry Simmons - YourVoice panel


Barry Simons

NFU Environment & Land Use Adviser in the North West


Economic and Social representative


Barry brings over 15 years’ experience working in the environmental field to the YourVoice panel. As the Environment and Land Use Adviser Barry covers a wide range of topics that impact on farming businesses across the North West. These include issues such as planning, Nitrate Vulnerable Zones issues, access, flooding and climate change adaptation, water quality, agri-environment schemes, energy and renewables. 

Barry’s role is to ensure the farmers of the North West are represented and considered when working with organizations such as the Environment Agency, Natural England, National Grid and local authorities including in the national parks. Barry is responsible for promoting the good work that farmers are already delivering in the region and advocating best practice.  

Prior to joining the NFU Barry worked for four unitary local authorities, Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside and for the YHA in Cumbria. Barry has a particular interest in climate change adaptation. He also conceived and authored original planning policy on sustainable design and adaptation, and led a Scottish Government research project looking at the economics of climate risks. He is a qualified Advanced EMS auditor and BREEAM Communities master planning assessor.


Councillor Alan Smith (Labour) - YourVoice panel


Councillor Alan Smith (Labour)

Leader, Allerdale Borough Council


 Economic and Social Representative


Councillor Alan Smith was first elected to Allerdale Borough Council in 1995 and has represented the Cockermouth All Saints Ward ever since. As Council Leader, his portfolio includes strategic external partnerships, nuclear issues and corporate responsibility, as well as overseeing the Council’s policy and performance.

Born and bred in Cockermouth, Cllr Smith is passionate about West Cumbria. He worked in the steel industry for 36 years, first in the works office as a weighman and stocktaker, and later on the factory floor in the sleeper mill and rail bank. Cllr Smith was also an active trade union representative. Married to Christine, Cllr Smith has two children, four grandchildren and a Border Terrier called Bruno. He follows the fortunes of all the local sports clubs, especially football and rugby, and is also a keen supporter of Liverpool FC. 

Cllr Smith is also an elected member of Cockermouth Town Council and also sits on the committee of Highfield Residents Association

Dave Thompson MBEMr Dave Thompson MBE

Warrington Disability Partnership


Economic and Social representative




Dave has been a member of United Utilities YourVoice Group since early 2017, and he is also the chair of UU’s Customer Advisory Panel.

He is the founder and Chief Executive of the Warrington Disability Partnership, an internationally recognised user led organisation, employing nearly 50 staff and over 200 volunteers. The organisation provides 27 independent living services including two Independent Living Centres, Direct Payments Scheme, Shopmobility, Inclusive Sports, a number of Employment and Educational contracts, and an international aid project supplying recycled mobility and independent living equipment. For the past 27 years Dave and his team have organised the worlds largest voluntary led pan disability event, Disability Awareness Day, that is now celebrated worldwide.

Until April 2015 Dave worked as a senior manager in the NHS for 20 years, starting his career as a Disability Advisor and finishing as the Assistant Director of Inclusion. Dave’s responsibility was to lead on issues of equality & diversity, patient & public involvement and social inclusion.

In 2001 Dave received an MBE in recognition for his contributions to improving services for disabled people. In 2006 he was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant for Cheshire. Dave has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Chester University, and in 2013 received the ‘Entrepreneur of Excellence in Disability’ from the National Diversity Awards for his drive in developing Warrington Disability Partnership and its trading arm.

Dave has been a full-time wheelchair user since 1989, which was as a result of a spinal cord injury and a survivor of cancer since 1999”.


Steve CullenMr Steve Cullen

CEO, Warrington CAB


Economic and Social representative




Steve has worked in the voluntary sector for over twenty years and is currently the CEO of Warrington District CAB. In addition he has many years’ experience as a Trustee/Director of various Charities and local Companies. He was nominated to sit on the Warrington Partnership (currently Vice-Chair) and the Health and Wellbeing Board. He is also a member of the Central Neighbourhood board. He also attends a number of other strategic partnership boards to provide evidence based intelligence on behalf of the many thousands of CAB service users. His field of work is information and advice at all levels, and he has a particular interest in social inclusion and tackling health inequalities.

Steve has been an active member of a number of governance bodies with CAB; the Third Sector Policy Group, The Commissioning Sub Group, The Compact sub group, and the Assembly Planning Group which meet regularly with elected members and senior public sector officers.

Steve has always endeavoured to represent the wider third sector in our efforts to positively influence policy, practices and procedures and is always available to offer advice and support to individual Charities and Community organisations at operational and governance levels.

As Chairman, he regularly liaises and meets with Warrington Borough Councils Third Sector Team and reports back monthly to the CAB Network Hub.

Neil CumberlidgeMr Neil Cumberlidge

Independent Member


Economic and Social representative



Neil is a Director of business consultancy, Neil Cumberlidge Associates, providing a range of tailored services to public, private and voluntary sector organisations, including supporting strategic business planning, policy development, enabling partnership working, high-level relationship management, report writing, as well as programme and project management.

Neil has been a Trustee of Deafness Support Network since 2012, and of its social enterprise, Positive Hearing, since 2015. He was also chair of the Board of Groundwork, Cheshire, from 2013-2016, steering the organisation through a successful merger with a neighbouring Groundwork Trust to form Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside.

In 2015, Neil was appointed by the Secretary of State to the Lake District National Park Authority, in recognition of his environmental and business skills and experience.

Prior to this Neil held the position of Director of Strategy, Planning & Partnerships
with the Northwest Regional Development Agency, responsible for leading the development of a high level strategy for the region, the Agency's role in planning, transport and housing matters, as well as relations with sub-regional partnerships

Over his career to date, Neil has held a number of other high level roles including Deputy Regional Director: Environment with Government Office for the North West, Environment & Agriculture Desk Officer with the Cabinet Office and Head of Policy with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Neil has been asked by the YourVoice chair, Bernice Law, to act as report writer for the panel, preparing its report to Ofwat on the United Utilities PR19 business plan submission.