Payments Council agrees to independent review recommendations

Source: Payments Council

The Payments Council today (19 April 2012) publishes an independent review of its governance arrangements and performance over the past two years.

The Independent Review of Governance and Performance of the Payments Council 2009-11 was carried out by Professor Martin Cave, an expert in regulation and competition and an independent director on the Payments Council Board until December 2011. Professor Cave's review involved consultation with 33 organisations and individuals and is published alongside the Payments Council's response.

Professor Cave makes seven specific recommendations, all of which have been agreed by the Payments Council Board. They include: measures to increase transparency of how decisions are made by the Payments Council Board; reviewing as a priority how the Board decides whether an issue is competitive or not, and therefore whether any action should be taken; and improving the communication between Board and the Council's User Forums - its stakeholder groups.

This governance review comes ahead of the forthcoming consultation from HM Treasury on a regulatory review of the payments industry and the Payments Council in particular, which is now expected in summer 2012.

Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council, said: "Martin was well placed to undertake this important review and we are extremely grateful for his constructive recommendations. We are a young organisation and if we are to be to be an effective force to champion payments that meet everybody's needs, it's vital that we listen, learn and change where required. We welcome the timing of the HMT review and see our response to Professor Cave's review as an important step in the right direction."

Professor Martin Cave, author of the governance review report, said: "The Payments Council was intended to be an organisation which puts customers rather than banks at the heart of the payments decision-making process. Several years after its launch it made a lot of sense to take stock, talk to key stakeholders outside of the banking industry, and make some changes. I conclude in my review that the current regime has flaws, which can only be corrected by a much stronger injection of the public interest into decision-making through some form of regulation. I am pleased the Board is acting on my detailed recommendations, but further fundamental changes can only follow the Treasury's review later this year."

The review was carried out at the request of the Office of Fair Trading, following their review of the Payments Council in 2009 after its first two years of operation. One of the conclusions of that review was that the Payments Council should conduct a self-assessment after a further two years. 

Martin Cave's report and the Payments Council response can be downloaded from the Payments Council website.

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