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Seeking Professional Independent Assessor


Seeking Professional Independent Assessor

Natalie Ceeney shares a job posting for an independent assessor who will report to the Cash Action Group.

Although cash use is declining in the UK, there remain 5m – 10m people who depend on cash. In order to ensure that these people – and small businesses – can get access to and deposit the cash that they need, the largest UK banks have agreed a voluntary scheme whereby any time that there is a bank branch closure, the needs of that community will be independently reviewed by LINK, and that if cash needs would not be met, LINK will ask the banks to ensure that appropriate provision is put in place. Separately, a new company, which will be wholly owned by the banks (called the Banking Hub Company) is being established to take forward the LINK recommendations by creating shared services in those locations, such as Banking Hubs. The government is also introducing legislation which looks set to formalise these arrangements as requirements on firms, which are likely to be in place by early 2023.

In making these assessments of need, LINK will operate to a set of criteria which has been developed by the banks, leading consumer groups and small business groups through the Cash Action Group. Inevitably, these criteria involve a degree of judgement – such as whether a bus stop is accessible, a hill too steep, or the journey time acceptable or not. There is a need to ensure that LINK’s judgement is trusted, by the regulator (the FCA), by Firms, and by the public. There may also be challenge as to whether the services that the Banking Hub Company put in place meet the needs identified by LINK. We are therefore seeking an Independent Assessor to investigate appeals, and help us hold the system to account. We are establishing this role to provide independent scrutiny, both in response to complaints and appeals, and of the process as it operates.

The Independent Assessor won’t have formal legal powers to change decisions. However, in parallel with the recruitment of this role, LINK and OpCo would agree to abide by the judgements made (other than on the criteria themselves). The Independent Assessor will also report on a regular basis to the Cash Action Group – which comprises senior representatives of the 9 participating banks plus consumer and small business groups – to give them assurance and insight into how the process is working.

Finally, this is a new system, and we are still working through the finer details. We are therefore seeking to appoint initially on a 6 month basis, and work with the appointee to shape the role and processes before finalising them, and then going to open recruitment. We are therefore seeking someone who will be willing to work with us to create the right approach, and not who will be expecting everything to be ready and in place when they arrive.

Read the full article, Looking for an Independent Assessor, on LinkedIn.