A WIRRAL woman has been appointed as chair of a service providing vulnerable people with communication support in court.

Nicky Tolley is now chair of legal communication specialist, The Intermediary Cooperative (TIC).

Established in April 2021, it has grown to a network of more than 50 experienced intermediaries across England and Wales.

In 2022, TIC was selected by the Ministry of Justice to be an HMCTS (HM Courts & Tribunals Service) managed and approved service provider.

TIC’s intermediaries come from a wide range of specialist backgrounds including Speech and Language Therapy, Teaching, Social Work, Psychology, Mental Health Nursing and the Law.

Intermediary Nicky was previously a TIC director with responsibility for recruitment, training and quality assurance and has over 30 years' experience working with children, young people and adults with speech, language and communication difficulties including almost two decades working in a school environment with students with special educational needs. She has been an intermediary since 2011.

Nicky said: "We have come a long way in the last three years and I am delighted to have been appointed Chair to take TIC on the next stage of its journey.

"We are a not-for-profit social enterprise passionate about fair access to justice for vulnerable people.

"Our approach is always to provide a tailored, professional and cost-effective service to meet the specific needs of each vulnerable person.

“Recent court guidance from the judiciary has made this approach even more important than ever and this is where the experience of TIC’s members is so invaluable in supporting solicitors and barristers with intermediary applications, ensuring that their clients have the support they need when they most need it.”

Nicky is Chair of a new-look leadership team which also includes Lou Evans, who becomes a director with responsibility for member engagement, and Vicky Heron who continues as finance director.

The three directors are supported by Northwich-based Clare Thomas, who was recently appointed Managing Director.

Previous chair Nicola Lewis said: "I am incredibly proud of what we have created and built in the last three years and I am looking forward to continuing my work as an intermediary with TIC and providing guidance and support to the new leadership team.

“When we set up TIC, we wanted to provide a different offering, one that is more person-centred, holistic and with high levels of integrity and providing true value for money.

“The feedback we continually receive from solicitors, barristers, others in the justice system and, most importantly of all, our service users tells us that we have achieved this objective.”

The experience of the TIC membership means that they are also able to match each referral with a service user’s specific needs and they regularly work with vulnerable people with conditions including autism, ADHD, OCD, learning disabilities and difficulties, dyslexia, dementia and mental health issues.