The SME Liaison Panel is an independent and transparent advisory body to the BBRS, and it forms part of a two way feed-back loop between the BBRS and SMEs. This is to encourage discussions around, and understanding of, key issues and changes to policy and practice that may be of relevance in the context of the BBRS’ operations.
The SME Panel will advise the BBRS, but will not be involved in decision-making or in case assessment.
The key objectives of the SME Panel are to:
- consider emerging trends, issues and areas of concern regarding access to finance and treatment of SMEs
- make recommendations to the BBRS on identified issues (including thematic issues) and areas of concern to address potential issues and challenges early and effectively and with a view to providing appropriate support to SMEs
- ensure that there is an on-going dialogue between the BBRS, SMEs and other stakeholders
- provide on-going independent assessment of how identified issues and concerns are being addressed
- provide a two-way feedback loop between SMEs and the BBRS to encourage dialogue on, and understanding of, key issues and changes to policy and practice that may be of relevance in the context of the operation of the Scheme, including with a view to improving customer service and meeting the needs of stakeholders
- facilitate learning from previous significant complaints to inform the handling of future complaints
- act as a consultative body on certain matters determined by the BBRS’ Board and, always, in relation to those matters set out in the Terms of Reference
Chair of the SME Liaison Panel
Antony Townsend has been appointed as the Chair of the BBRS’ SME Liaison Panel. He is a former Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner, responsible for resolving complaints from organisations and individuals with complaints against financial services regulators. His previous roles have involved extensive handling of complaints from SMEs in difficult circumstances, and he also has leadership experience in finance, healthcare and professional services regulation.
He will play a key role in building trust, gathering intelligence and providing an independent voice for the small business community regarding the operation and development of the BBRS.
Unless otherwise agreed between the BBRS and each of the panel members, the SME Panel will meet four times a year. Additional meetings, including joint meetings with the corresponding Bank Liaison Panel, may also take place.
The SME Panel members have been nominated by the Chair of the SME Liaison Panel and approved by the BBRS’ Board.
Partner, Collyer Bristow LLP
Serial entrepreneur and currently Executive Chairman and Co-founder, Finboot (Enterprise Blockchain), and Deputy Chairman, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Mark Bishop, campaigner for consumer/SME interests in financial services and Head of Strategy and Public Affairs, Transparency Task Force
Director of Policy, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking
Chairperson, SME Alliance
Economist and Chair, Economics, Taxation and Financial Affairs Committee, Federation of Small Businesses
Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution, MBM Commercial LLP
Director, Chrouch Consulting and Chair of National Policy for BME Business, Federation of Small Businesses
Director, The Mind Tribe UK (mental health and wellbeing training and consultancy services)