The Challenge Group panel

The Challenge Group panel comprises the following people:

Dan Rogerson

Dan Rogerson, Chair

Dan served as MP for North Cornwall from 2005 to 2015 and was minister for water, forestry, rural affairs and resource management in the coalition government from 2013-2015. While in parliament he chaired various all party groups and was a member of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee for eight years. As minister he took the Water Act 2014 through parliament and introduced the charge on single use plastic bags in England. Dan represented the UK at the inaugural United Nations Environment Assembly and at the EU Environment Council. He is a trustee/director of a 36 school MAT where he chairs the Audit and Risk Committee, a NED of an underfloor heating company and Chair of Water Resources West.

Sarah Cardy

Sarah is the CEO of Age UK Wiltshire, managing a range of services for older people. Previous to being with Age UK Sarah worked for many years at Citizens Advice as a CEO of Wiltshire Citizens Advice and more recently as a Business Change Manager at National Citizens Advice. This experience brings a wealth of knowledge about the challenges many customers face accessing services and financial pressures for many of our customers. Sarah has also been the Chair of a Housing Association, school governor and a previous member of Wessex CCG, as well as being a local councillor.

Richard Cresswell

Richard is the chair of Wessex Water's Catchment Panel which scrutinises the company's environmental performance. From 2000-2014 he was the director of the Environment Agency for the South West of England. A Zoology graduate from Imperial College, London, with a research doctorate in Applied Hydrobiology from University of Wales, Cardiff, he had an early career with Thames, Yorkshire and Welsh Water authorities. He became the National Rivers Authority's area manager for Northumbria in 1993, and regional general manager for Northumbria and Yorkshire in 1995. He is currently chair of the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership, a trustee of Regen South West, and Chair of Homemaker South West (preventing homelessness and promoting independence). Richard received an MBE in July 2000 for services to the environment.

Jeremy Hawkins

Jeremy Hawkins is a chartered civil engineer with over 30 years' experience in the UK and international water industry. He was involved with the privatisation of the industry in England and Wales in the 1980s and has been involved in regulatory performance reporting and assurance since then. He was an independent reporter to Ofwat on Dwr Cymru Welsh Water's performance for nine years. He spent six years as a senior regulatory manager at Thames Water responsible for regulatory risk and compliance, performance reporting and information governance. He is an independent consultant to several water and sewerage companies and customer challenge groups, providing technical assurance and advising on information reporting and governance. He is the report writer and assurance advisor to the Wessex Water Partnership.

Elaine Kempson

Elaine has 30 years of experience in research and policy analysis into consumer behaviour and the provision of both government and commercial financial services. Her core areas of work are financial wellbeing and capability, over-indebtedness, financial inclusion and consumer protection. She has advised Wessex Water for more than 10 years on affordability and vulnerability. She is a visiting professor at OsloMet University and Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol. Elaine is currently a member of the policy committee of the Child Poverty Action Group. Until recently she was a non-executive director of both the Money and Pension Service and Lending Standards Board, while also being a trustee of the Standard Life Foundation. She was an adviser for six years on consumer protection to the Central Bank of Ireland and was previously a non-executive director of the Financial Ombudsman Service and a member of the UK Financial Inclusion Taskforce. In 2007, Elaine was awarded a CBE for her services to the Financial Services Industry.

Joy Mhonda

Joy is a social researcher at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) where she is the Director of the Communities, Work and Income unit. Joy’s research cuts across different policy areas, including the labour market, welfare and taxation, transport and infrastructure and energy and the environment. Joy works with clients, including policy makers to help them to translate research findings into actionable solutions. Joy is a mixed methods researcher and has expertise in designing and delivering quantitative and qualitative studies, evidence reviews and evaluations. Joy is passionate about ensuring that research is inclusive, and all sections of society have an equal opportunity to participate. She is Quality Director on the Inclusive Transport Strategy Evaluation on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Water Stewardship Research on behalf of the British Standards Institute (BSI). In her previous role, Joy’s clients included independent consumer watchdogs like CCW and Transport Focus .

Declan Smyth

Declan is a policy manager at the Consumer Council for Water (CCW). He has liaison responsibilities for Wessex Water and Portsmouth Water and contributes to national CCW work on the environment and social policy. Declan’s career has afforded him opportunities to support and advocate for members of the public in a wide variety of ways. He started his career as an auditor and chartered accountant with the National Audit Office – auditing bodies such as the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to achieve value for money for taxpayers and hold the government to account. He then worked as a social worker, advocating for adults with severe and enduring mental illness and supporting them to overcome societal barriers preventing them from living and thriving in the community. Following this, Declan moved into social policy, first working at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to improve social housing standards through the Social Housing (Regulation) Act before moving to CCW in 2022.

Kevin Ward

Kevin is a water company account manager for the Environment Agency (EA). He is the single point of contact for Wessex Water and has oversight of the full range of environmental disciplines relevant to the company: water quality, water resources, flood risk management, price review/AMP and environmental performance. With over twenty years of experience with the Agency in a large range of subjects Kevin's previous role was as advisor to EA directors on water, land and biodiversity issues. Previous to this Kevin worked as an Environmental Consultant in London after graduating in Environmental Science from the University of Plymouth.

Suzanne Wigmore

Suzanne has been the Chief Executive Officer of Wiltshire Citizens Advice (WCA) since September 2017. WCA supports around 15,000 clients with around 45,000 issues every year. These include housing, welfare benefits and debt, including water and other utilities. She has worked in local and central government since 1990, working for a local authority as a Benefit Manager, in homelessness policy and as part of the DWP Financial Inclusion Taskforce. She has always been the Welfare Reform lead of a group of housing associations and has several non-executive director roles in the housing and social finance sectors. Suzanne is currently a director of Swindon and Wiltshire LEP. She has an MA in Housing Policy from the University of the West of England. In her rare spare time, she plays the cello and during winter can sometimes be found on one of the south west’s racecourses.