- After spending six years performing the duties of her role, Judi Jones has revealed her intent to leave.
- The board is now seeking for a successor and aims to have this appointment in place in the first quarter of 2022.
- Among the biggest challenges that Jones overcame in her six-year tenure include the response to the surge in NBN complaints.
Judi Jones, the current Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, has revealed her intent to leave her post next March. This is after spending six years performing the duties of her role.
According to the TIO, she is leaving to return to New Zealand for personal reasons, which may include caring for a 95-year-old mother and a daughter due to having a baby. Because of the pandemic, the TIO has been restricted to travel there.
“I think the organisation is in a pretty good state compared to when I arrived, and it’s never the perfect time to leave. There’s always more to do, but I feel okay about leaving. I feel like I’ve got a good, strong leadership team and it’s okay to move on and let someone else pick it up and run with that,” Jones said.
Michael Lavarch, the board chair in return said that: “The board has commenced a search for Judi’s successor and aims to have this appointment in place in the first quarter of 2022. Some of the highlights of Judi’s time as leader of the TIO include the coordinated response to Part A of the Consumer Safeguards Review, overseeing the organisation during the rollout of the NBN, and making a case for the TIO to be the Digital Platforms Ombudsman. In addition, Judi has set the TIO up for future success with the business transformation work being undertaken with Project Echo. We thank her for her service, passion, and commitment and wish her a well-earned rest.”
Two of the biggest challenges that Jones overcame in her six-year tenure include the response to the surge in NBN complaints soon after she joined, as well as having to deal with the existential threat from a Consumer Safeguards Part A proposal to disband the TIO.
“When I accepted the role in 2015 there had been a drop in complaints and it was downsizing,” she said. “And in fact what I came to was the NBN issue and a 41% increase in work that next year! So we were nervous about hiring staff as was it an uptick or a blip?”
“One of the learnings from that early period was to get on top of the data. So fixing that, putting more emphasis on quality, systemic identification work and I think also rebuilding the relationships with stakeholders.”
When it comes to the 2018 government proposal to disband the TIO, Jones said that “It was pretty horrible”. She had to reaffirm the TIO’s role in the regulatory landscape. “So yes, we made the case that we’re part of the consumer protection framework, but we’re not a consumer advocacy body and we’re not a regulator so we are in the right place,” she further added.