Kevin Grix, LL.B (Hons), ACIArb, Head of The Furniture Ombudsman
Kevin was appointed in 2008 and is responsible for directing the activities of The Furniture Ombudsman, including its Alternative Dispute Resolution service.
Kevin read law at university for 3 years and graduated with honours, prior to studying to be a Barrister in London at the Inns of Court School of Law. He was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, after successfully passing his Bar exams and is also professionally qualified by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb). He represents the Ombudsman on the All Party Parliamentary Group for furniture at the Houses of Parliament and is a member of the Trading Standards Business Group.
Kevin has a keen interest in consumer affairs and through his work at the Ombudsman, has appeared on the television, radio and in the press to provide expert opinion on a range of issues that affect consumers. He also has a specialist understanding of consumer law and has written and presented a series of courses and seminars on this subject. Before his appointment at The Furniture Ombudsman he gained practical experience as a legal advisor to the public and in 2005 he was part of the team of advisors that set up the Hertfordshire University Law Clinic, a pro-bono legal advice centre serving the local community.
Jon Walters, BA (Hons), DCDA, ACIArb, Service Delivery Manager
Jon is primarily responsible for operational excellence, ensuring timely delivery and high quality standards in all aspects of the work of The Furniture Ombudsman.
Before his appointment, Jon worked with the Office of Fair Trading in a role that involved operational oversight of the national consumer advice service. He was also responsible for relationship management with domestic and international government departments, commercial companies, charities and other third sector organisations.
Jon specialises in consumer law and is also qualified by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb). He is a member of the Trading Standards Business Group and retains strong links within the consumer landscape.
Additionally, in line with the Ombudsman's aims of raising standards through advice and education, he is responsible for overseeing its training programme.
Dominique Le-Grand, LL.B (Hons), ACIArb, Senior Adjudicator
Dominique is a Senior Adjudicator at The Furniture Ombudsman and has extensive knowledge of legal and consumer issues. She is a law graduate of the University of Hertfordshire and is professionally qualified as an Associate of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (ACIArb).
Dominique is responsible for leading the Dispute Resolution Team and providing internal and external training on consumer law.
Since her appointment she has overseen the successful completion of several hundred furniture and home improvement disputes.
Judith Turner LL.B (Hons), ACIArb, Senior Adjudicator
Judith read Law at King's College London for 3 years before graduating with honours in 1998. She went on to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and a training contract before qualifying as a solicitor in 2001.
Judith was previously employed by a City Law firm, practising in Commercial Law. An experienced legal professional, Judith also specialises in Alternative Dispute Resolution and joined The Furniture Ombudsman as an Adjudicator in 2011. Since her appointment, Judith has written and presented training courses on Consumer Law and Compliance.
Jane Parsons, BA (Hons), ACIArb, Adjudicator
Jane is an experienced Adjudicator and trainer has been involved with consumer issues relating to the furniture industry for over ten years. Before being appointed as an Adjudicator for The Furniture Ombudsman in 2002, she gained extensive practical experience dealing with technical issues for a fabric and furniture wholesalers.
During her career with The Furniture Ombudsman she has overseen a vast array of complaints relating to furniture, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. She is academically qualified to post graduate level and spent a year studying in Colorado, USA whilst at University. In 2009 she successfully attained professional qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (ACIArb) in relation to her work in Alternative Dispute Resolution for The Furniture Ombudsman.
Natalie Williams, BA (Hons), ACIArb, Adjudicator & Outreach Executive
Natalie began her career at The Furniture Ombudsman in 2009. Since then she has spent time working in all areas of the organisation in order to gain experience in the administration of Alternative Dispute Resolution, project management and outreach work.
In February 2010 she was promoted to the Dispute Resolution Team having successfully completed a course of internal training and development. She is involved in a broad range of furniture and home improvement related disputes between retailers and consumers and has handled in excess of 500 cases.
In March 2013 Natalie was promoted to the position of Outreach Executive and is now managing The Furniture Ombudsman’s Communications Plan. Her role in this regard is co-ordinate and conduct research, outreach and communications with the Ombudsman’s stakeholders including businesses, consumers, government and third sector organisations. Natalie is also responsible for analysing and reporting statistics and trends and was involved in the writing of The Furniture Ombudsman's inaugural Annual Review.
A graduate of the University of Brighton, Natalie has a keen interest in social and economic geography and consumer affairs. Since 2011 her expertise in Alternative Dispute Resolution has been recognised through her qualifications from The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (ACIArb)..
Kelly Hartman, ACIArb, Dispute Resolution Associate
Kelly began her career with The Furniture Ombudsman as a trainee administrator in 2007. Since her appointment she been involved in all aspects of the Ombudsman's work and has gained invaluable experience of the dispute resolution service in particular.
In May 2011, following the successful completion of an in-house training programme, Kelly joined the Dispute Resolution Team in a supporting role to the Ombudsman's Adjudicators. In February 2012 she became professionally qualified by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and was appointed Dispute Resolution Associate. Kelly is primarily responsible for conciliating cases between consumers and retailers, helping both parties to reach a resolution wherever possible. Kelly also provides administration support to The Furniture Ombudsman Standards Board.
Jane Swaine, Administrative Support Unit Supervisor
Jane joined The Furniture Ombudsman in September 2004 having previously been employed in the pharmaceutical industry. She is responsible for supervising the Administrative Support Unit which is often the first port of call for consumers, retailers and the lawyers who use The Furniture Ombudsman’s services. Jane is responsible for ensuring that her team complies with the Ombudsman’s policies, practices and procedures and helps to ensure that the organisation delivers an effective and efficient service from the word ‘go’. She also represents The Furniture Ombudsman at events and seminars across the country.
Carol Lightowler, Administrative Support Unit Associate
Carol has worked at The Furniture Ombudsman since 2005 and plays a central role on the Administrative Support Unit. Prior to working at The Furniture Ombudsman, she spent many years working for the Furniture Industry Research Association where she gained extensive experience of the industry matters which affect consumers. Carol and her colleagues deal with many thousands of consumers, retailers and lawyers who contact The Furniture Ombudsman each year. She plays a key role supporting her colleagues and the management of the Ombudsman and is an expert when it comes to understanding and explaining how the Ombudsman service operates.