Please see below for biographies of participants and presenters at IMA Conference 2021, arranged alphabetically by surname:
- Michael Agboh-Davison (IMA Money Advice Specialist)
Michael has worked in debt advice since 2004. He began as a debt adviser at Consumer Credit Counselling Service and from 2013-18 he was Debt Advice Policy Coordinator for StepChange. From 2018-20 he worked as debt caseworker at Bradford Citizens Advice and benefits adviser at Chapeltown Citizens Advice. Michael was the IMA’s joint representative for Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire from 2017-19, and has co-organised the region’s Money Advice Group since 2018.
Michael is currently studying for an MA in Social Welfare Law, Policy & Advice Practice, with a dissertation investigating workplace problems and trade union activity in the debt advice sector.
- Gemma Byrne
Gemma is a Senior Policy Researcher at Citizens Advice working on debt, money and consumer policy issues. She has been at Citizens Advice for 4 years and in that time has worked on issues including access to post and addresses for homeless people, domestic abuse, telecoms, the private rented sector, buy now pay later and online gambling. Before joining Citizens Advice, Gemma worked at a number of different charities and think tanks, including the Institute for Government and the Mental Health Foundation
- Lorraine Charlton
Lorraine has thirty years’ experience as a money advice specialist and trainer in the not for profit sector. She’s been with Citizens Advice for almost sixteen years as a Debt Expert in their Expert Advice Team (formerly Specialist Support).
Lorraine has a particular interest in insolvency law. She’s a subject matter expert in insolvency for the Money Advice Trust Wiser Adviser training programme and is co-author of the WiserAdviser Insolvency E Learning, the Insolvency Options Workshop and DRO Intermediaries Workshop. She also wrote the face to face course Debt Relief Orders In Practice.
In 2021 Lorraine collaborated with the Money Advice Trust to create their new Breathing Space E learning. She regularly publishes debt related articles in Adviser online. She also represents Citizens Advice on the IVA Standing Committee and at DRO Competent Authority meetings.
- Jess Cook
Jess has over ten years’ experience in regulated industries, across finance and energy. Having previously led the Consumer Vulnerability programme for a Distribution Network Operator (DNO), she now leads National Energy Action’s work programme ‘People Living in Water Poverty and Fuel Poverty’.
A passionate advocate for supporting customers in vulnerable situations, Jess works to understand the similarities and differences between both fuel and water poverty, raising awareness of the challenges water poor households face, and aligning the policy and practical actions required to deliver benefits through cross-industry collaboration to customers with affordability issues.
- Matt Copeland
Matthew is a policy manager with 10 years’ experience working in the energy sector. Previously having worked across the energy supply chain as a consultant for E.ON, he now works for charity National Energy Action, where he looks to influence policy, regulation and markets to better serve the needs of fuel poor, low income and vulnerable households.
He has a focus on ensuring that fuel poor and vulnerable households are treated consistently supported in the energy market, driving positive changes such as an expanded Warm Home Discount scheme and ensuring that the energy price cap works in the interests of low income energy consumers.
- Raminta Diliso
Raminta leads on GamCare’s Gambling Related Financial Harm programme, which raises awareness of gambling related debt and financial hardship, as well as developing best practices and resources that enable organisations to help their vulnerable customers. She works directly with the financial and debt advice sectors as well as gambling and gambling support sectors to get companies thinking about gambling harms in a proactive way and ensure that consumers in the UK receive information and support as early as possible. Prior to joining GamCare, Raminta spent seven years at the Money and Pensions Service and the Money Advice Service building strategic partnerships to help organisations develop their financial wellbeing propositions.
- Marina Gallagher
Marina has worked in the world of free debt advice since 1991, in a variety of roles. She is currently a freelance debt advice trainer and consultant and a volunteer in her local advice agency, where her role is to support debt advisers with their casework.
She has a particular interest in insolvency and co-wrote the Debt Relief Order Toolkit. She also co-wrote and delivers training on Debt Relief Orders and the other formal insolvency options and is a member of the Insolvency Service Discussion Forum.
- Emma Gibbons
Emma started my journey with Payplan almost 10 years ago after working in the financial sector for a number of years. She joined as a personal finance manager and completed all aspects of the client journey , particularly focussed on maximising income , reducing expenditure and taking all of their circumstances into account to ensure the best outcome. From this her passion for assisting vulnerable clients grew and how best to help, through really listening to their difficult situations , accessing support services, whilst managing the financial impact at the same time. From this she became a Client support specialist and assisted her colleagues and the business in best practice and meeting the FCA regulations. From this the vulnerable client team was born and Emma headed up the team to deliver a bespoke service in terms of treatment and support. She has recently become vulnerability lead to further develop the vulnerability strategy .
- Gail Mackie
Gail is the Advice Manager for the tax charities, TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People. She joined the charities in 2019 and maintains overall responsibility for ensuring the highest level of quality and consistency in the advice we provide to those who need our help. Gail’s previous experience includes audit, accountancy and tax for high net worth individuals. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2013 and then went on to complete her Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and Society of Trust and Estate Practitioner (STEP) exams.
- Zoe Medlock
Zoe is an expert in consumer vulnerability strategy and implementation.
With over ten years’ experience in the sector, Zoe now works with the Money Advice Trust team to help firms improve their approach to customer vulnerability. This includes assessing firms against the FCA’s evolving expectations and delivering colleague training. Prior to joining the Money Advice Trust Team Zoe was most recently responsible for developing and delivering Barclays’ vulnerability strategy.
Zoe specialises in mental health and, as well as working with the Money Advice Trust, she also supports the Money and Mental Health Institute to assess firms against their Mental Health Accessible Standard. In 2020 Zoe developed the Trust’s Mental Health training.
Prior to working in the corporate sector, Zoe was the Financial Inclusion Policy Officer at Toynbee Hall where she focussed on topics including high-cost credit, the credit union sector and financial education.
- Tom Messere
Tom Messere started advice work as a Citizens Advice volunteer with specific training in the eccentricities of both money advice and benefits advice, moving into a dual role with a housing association. Since then, he has worked in welfare rights teams, for cancer charities and is now a freelance trainer, writer and consultant at www.bigbookofbenefits.com, with the Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health now in its 20th year . He is also a member of the national committee of NAWRA
- Alan Murdie
Alan Murdie LL.B, Barrister is chairman of Nucleus Legal Advice, an independent community advice centre in London and director of a linked consultancy Council Tax Legal Services. He has been involved in local tax and debt issues since 1989 and instigated many test cases on the legislation and its impact on individual taxpayers. He was co-founder of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust in 1996 and is a consulting editor with Lexis-Nexis on local government law. Since 1998 has been editor of the Guide to the Council Tax published by the Child Poverty Action Group. He also contributes to CPAG’s Fuel Rights Handbook and writes and broadcasts extensively on personal debt and finance topics and enforcement law.
- Emma Quirke
Emma has worked at Leeds Trinity University since 2005 as a Student Adviser, providing general welfare advice to students but mainly focusing on Money Advice. She also manages the university hardship funds. One of the main parts of her role is helping applicants and students with their student finance applications, eligibility queries and delayed funding problems and advising on benefit entitlement and eligibility. She’s been a member of NASMA (National Association of Student Money Advisers) for about 16 years. She have been regional chair for the North East Region for about 5 years and England Policy Board member for 1 year. As England Policy Board member she represents NASMA’s views at SLC stakeholder groups.