Who we are and what we do
1.1 Roles and Responsibilities
Information about the Role of the Commissioner
For further information on the Commissioner's role, activities and objectives, please see:
1.2 Organisational Structure
The Commissioner is a Corporation Sole; there is therefore no Board as one might find in other public bodies. As a Corporation Sole and the Accounting Officer, the Commissioner holds personal responsibility for directing and controlling the organisation but may authorise the exercise of her functions by any member of staff.
A nominated deputy may exercise the Commissioner’s statutory functions if the office is vacant or should the Commissioner at any time be unable to act for any reason.
The Commissioner is supported by a small team of staff who work on her behalf to deliver her priorities. You can find out more about the roles and responsibilities of the Commissioner’s Team here.
Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
The Commissioner has an Audit and Risk Assurance Committee to support her as Accounting Officer in monitoring and reviewing corporate governance, risk management and internal control systems.
The Committee consists of four independent members. Good practice requires the Commissioner to regularly review and rotate the cumulative diversity, skills, knowledge and experience of the Committee members.
Members of the Audit Committee are:
Steve Harford (Chair)
Steve Harford has over 40 years experience of working in both the public and private sectors in Wales. He has an MBA from Cardiff University, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and an affiliate member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Steve spent the last 18 years of his working career with Careers Wales from where he has recently retired from the role of Director of Corporate Services. During his time at Careers Wales he advised and led on the merger of the previous six local Careers Companies to form one all Wales organisation. He then worked with the Welsh Government to transfer the ownership of Careers Wales to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Welsh Government. Steve is a Director/Trustee of Carers Trust South East Wales and is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors. He previously spent eight years as a member of the Gwent Community Health Council. Since retiring Steve has been appointed as a member of the Greater Gwent (Torfaen) Pensions Fund Local Pension Board.
Claire is a Registered General Nurse with 38 years of experience, having retired as the Executive Director of Nursing & Quality in the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust in December 2019. She has extensive experience working across Health Boards and Trusts in NHS Wales in senior professional leadership and management roles, working across a wide range of clinical specialities and corporate functions, i.e. education, audit, research & development, patient experience, concerns, safeguarding, infection prevention & control, quality assurance and improvement. Starting her career specialising in Cardiac Nursing (WNB); with a Diploma in Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing Degree and Msc in Leadership for Health Services Improvement (Birmingham University). Claire is an active Executive Coach and Mentor (level 7) and NLP Practitioner. Claire is the Senior Responsible Officer for the digitisation of the nursing documentation programme in NHS Wales, an important programme of work to inform the development of the electronic patient record. Her personal journey over the last few years as a carer for a member of her family living with her, with Alzheimer`s disease, has led her to advocate for older people and carers. She is passionate about making the difference for older people and applying her experience as a member of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee with the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales
Phil Davy qualified as a town planner. He held posts in Gloucestershire, Reading and Devon, before becoming Chief Planning Officer with Islwyn Borough Council. He joined Caerphilly County Borough Council when the new local authority was formed in 1996. Phil was Head of Economic Development for 10 years, managing a service area that covered business development, tourism, and regeneration. Most recently he developed the implementation strategy for a £220m investment programme to improve Caerphilly Council’s housing stock of 11,000 homes to ensure the homes meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. Phil has a track record of successful development projects notably the Tredomen Business Park including Caerphilly Council’s corporate headquarters, the redevelopment of the former Oakdale Colliery site, and two secondary schools under the Private Finance Initiative. Phil has held a number of non-executive director roles with Careers Wales, Groundwork Caerphilly and Planning Aid Wales. After 43 years in local government service, Phil has retired from full-time employment. Phil is currently a Trustee with Torfaen Citizens Advice Bureau.
Julia has worked in the public finance sector for 35 years, firstly in an external audit capacity for 20 years and then moving into public sector accounting. Following completion of a BA (Hons) degree in Public Administration in 1983, she joined the National Audit Office (NAO) in London as part of the NAO graduate trainee scheme, studying for membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. She gained the CIPFA qualification in 1987, after transferring to the NAO (Wales) offices. During that period, she was involved mainly with the audit of financial accounts. Julia was appointed as the Deputy Chief Executive (Finance, Personnel and Corporate Services) of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) in January 2014, where she was responsible for financial planning, monitoring and reporting; financial controls; audit, all HR matters including development of HR policies, staff training and development, and also accommodation and related matters. As part of the Senior Management team, she was also involved in the strategic management of the Council. The GTCW was reconfigured, and became the Education Workforce Council in April 2015, and Julia continued as Deputy Chief Executive (Finance, HR and Corporate Services) until retiring from that post in December 2018.
David Powell FCPFA
David has extensive public sector experience gained in Unitary, County and District Councils in England and Wales. For over 10 years he was a Finance Director and has also led various service and corporate areas. From 2013 until leaving local government in 2019 he was at Powys County Council where his roles included Strategic Director of Resources, acting Chief Executive and deputy Chief Executive. Previously he also worked at Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council and Torfaen Council Borough Council where he was Assistant Director of Education. Knowledge of the issues facing older people was gained from working in social services departments and as a Board Member of a Charitable Organisation in the older people’s care sector. In addition, he has several years’ experience as a Non-Executive Director (NED) including being a former Chair of Two Rivers Housing Association in Gloucestershire where services for older people were a key priority. Throughout his career David has also sought to develop and raise awareness of local government finances and community services through representation on national Government panels and he is currently a Local Government Association (LGA) assessor for council service standards, finance and governance. A long-standing member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) he is also a former examiner and became a Fellow of the Institute in 2018.