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Boards and Executive Team

The Board for each company is responsible for

  • Ensuring there is effective governance and internal controls to meet regulatory and statutory requirements
  • Ensuring that the company meets its objectives and the group objectives
  • Ensuring that the business of the company is conducted according to our standing orders
  • Setting the strategy for the company
  • Risk control and management

Our Board members are recruited by open advertisement and skill based interviews and bring a broad range of skills and expertise

Andy Ballard

Andy Ballard - Group Chair

Andy qualified as a Solicitor in 1981 and since moving to Birmingham in 1983 has been advising housing providers since that time. Having left private practice in April 2011 and now heads his own housing consultancy. Andy joined the Board of Herefordshire Housing Limited (a stock transfer housing association) covering Hereford, Ross-on-Wye and the surrounding areas, in 2007 and became Chair in 2010. He is now Chair to the Community Housing Group (which is also a stock transfer organisation) based in Kidderminster and Chair to the Trident Social Investment Group (a housing and care provider) based in the Midlands.

More recently, Andy was a co-opted member of the local NHF Regional Committee. Andy’s legal work was recognised by the two major directories: Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners where he was identified as a leader in his field. In 2009 Andy was named one of the UK’s Hot 100 Lawyers by the Lawyer Magazine.

In 2012 Andy was shortlisted (1 of 3) by the Sunday Times/Peel Hunt Non-Executive Director of the Year for his work in the "not for profit" sector.

Specialist Skills

  • Good Governance;
  • Board Appraisal and Board skills;
  • Employment and pensions;
  • TUPE;
  • Discrimination and the Equality Act
Kaye Law-Fox

Kaye Law-Fox

Kaye Law-Fox is an experienced executive and non-executive director, with 25 years senior management experience in public, private and charity sector roles: including the NHS, security agencies of the Home Office, a national charity and several not-for-profit companies. In her early career Kaye was responsible for purchasing and property development for a national restaurant chain; for the majority of her career she developed or provided strategic corporate governance systems and latterly provided research and analysis for national charity projects.

Kaye has eight years non-executive experience, including audit and risk and professional standards committees; serving Boards of three housing associations and a sector skills body.

Kaye's management qualifications include BSc (Hons) Management Systems: MSc Health Management: MSc Rural Resource Management. She is also a qualified project, programme and portfolio manager.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic business planning – establishing systems of corporate business planning
  • Regulation & Governance standards - strategic business development
  • Project, programme and portfolio management
Jane Preece

Jane Preece

Jane Preece moved to the West Midlands in 1990 from her native Wales to pursue a career in human resources and related areas. She has worked in the public, private and not for profit sector at Director level, most recently with Walsall Housing Group where she was Director of Organisational Development and Company Secretary.

Her project management and leadership skills have enabled organisations to achieve IIP Gold Standard, ISO9001, TUPE transfers of employees, changes of employment contracts in unionised environments. She has been nominee for Ofsted and involved in housing regulator inspections.

In 2016, a house with a canal mooring brought her to Kidderminster; she joined The Community Housing Group's Vestia Board and started her "dream job" at Severn Valley Railway as their first HR Manager, responsible for their paid employees and the Heritage Skills Training Academy apprentices.

Jane has held a number of non-executive directorships/trustee appointments in the fields of housing, training and various charities. Currently, she is the Chair of Sustain UK Ltd who provide supported accommodation for vulnerable adults in Birmingham and is a board member of PTP Ltd who deliver training opportunities in the West Midlands. Having undertaken the role of Company Secretary in a housing group who collapsed their group structure, Jane will bring relevant experience to the The Community Housing Group Board.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic thinking
  • Sound judgement with the willingness to challenge
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, having worked in people management roles for over 30 years
Andrew Fry

Andrew Fry

Andrew is a professional company director, non-executive director and chair with 30 years of diverse private and public sector management and director experience.

Andrew trained initially in FMCG brand management marketing and advertising. Subsequently he founded a specialised retail design and manufacturing group which he headed as a hands on MD for 19 years. He now combines work as a professional NED and charity trustee with running a property and innovation consultancy business.

Andrew's NED experience over the last 10 years includes roles as diverse as Vice Chair of Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Chair of Sandwell Arts Trust and of Sandwell Leisure Trust; trustee of the Black Country Living Museum; and NED at The Community Housing Group and Oakleaf Commercial Services.

Andrew has a particular interests in the natural and built environment which combines with his experience in design and an enthusiasm for history. He also have a strong commitment to social inclusion and in particular to the care of those with mental health issues.

Specialist Skills

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy - including strategic analysis and challenge
  • Corporate governance - including managing boards, balancing support with challenge; risk management; health and safety management both practical and strategic; financial scrutiny; HR and legals.
Liz Heaven

Liz Heaven

Liz has over 35 years' experience working in the social care sector, principally in social work and learning and development roles. Most recently, prior to becoming a freelance consultant, she worked for the national sector skills council for social care - Skills for Care. She was employed there as Manager for the Midlands area, which encompassed the whole of the East and West Midlands.

Since 2013 Liz has worked on a freelance basis for a not-for-profit organisation operating in the fields of social care; third sector charities and public sector institutions. The organisation provides a bespoke learning and development service, designing and delivering learning for a wide range of audiences. It also supports organisational development and quality improvement through a range of consultancy services, including bespoke audit and assurance commissions.

Liz's Professional qualifications include Freelance management consultant and trainer/Qualified and registered social worker; Degree and Msc in Social Sciences; Post graduate qualifications in health and social services management; teaching and learning; coaching and mentoring; programme and project management; Graduate of the Institute of Personnel Management and Prince 2 accredited - Foundation and Practitioner levels.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic thinking and analysis
  • Programme and project management for business development and assurance
  • Occupationally current professional experience in social care and health - including a robust understanding of the legislative, regulatory and policy drivers relating to the sector
Andrew Foster

Andrew Foster

Andrew Foster is Executive Director of Governance and Contracts at Midland Heart, a Housing Association headquartered in Birmingham with 33,000 homes under management. His role focusses on ensuring the effective operation of governance and risk management and ensuring its procurement activities deliver value for money and high quality services to customers. Andrew’s responsibilities cover Governance; Legal; Risk and Audit; Procurement; Health and Safety; Facilities; Insurance; Policy.

A qualified solicitor, he previously worked in law firms and in the IT outsourcing sector.

He has a strong belief in the critical importance of a quality home to the wellbeing and life chances of social housing tenants, and in the role of social housing providers in empowering the communities in which they operate.

Andrew lives in North Worcestershire and enjoys running and music and mentoring young people in his spare time.

Specialist Skills

  • Strong knowledge of governance
  • Good commercial acumen-has a well-developed understanding of what makes for a well-run and efficient business and recent experience of delivering major change projects
  • A contemporary and detailed knowledge of the Housing sector and how policy change can affect housing providers in the future
Martin Jukes

Martin Jukes

Martin is Managing Director of Mpathy Plus, a management consultancy formed in 2005 who specialise in customer service and contact centre. He operates at both a strategic and operational levels in three main areas; business transformation, performance improvement and operational support. This involves working in various areas including Operations, IT, HR, Marketing etc. Although working in all sectors, Mpathy Plus has over 50 social housing providers as clients. Clients from other sectors have included Centrica, Coutts, DWP, Exxon Mobil, G4S, Open University, Punch Retail, Ricoh, Rolls Royce and Bentley Motor Cars, Virgin Trains, Vodafone, Western Union and others.

Previous employment has involved working for Sitel; a global business process and contact centre outsourcer where he led the team of Consultants across Central Europe, Birmingham Midshires Building Society where he had various roles in IT, Service Delivery and Project Management and BT where he maintained large business customers equipment.

Martin also provides support to Small and Medium Enterprises in developing their businesses to meet their needs e.g. growth, rationalisation, exit etc.

He is an MBA graduate and has completed various other training including Prince2. He is a Worcestershire Ambassador whose members aim is to promote Worcestershire as a place to 'Work, Live or Visit'.

Specialist Skills

  • General Business Management
  • Development of new models of service delivery
  • Harnessing ICT to transform a business
Tony Tench

Tony Tench

Tony has over 20 years of experience in housing, development, asset management and social care. He is currently Chief Operations Officer for Housing and Care 21, a leading registered provider of quality housing and social care for older people.

Previously, Tony held a number of Executive roles at Hanover Housing Association and prior to that led on Extra Care housing development for Anchor Trust. Tony is a Business and Marketing Graduate.

Tony's achievements in housing and social care include: Improving organisational governance; working with the Board to agree a realistic strategy and business plan, simplifying the governance structures, agreeing and prioritising core purpose, improving the control environment and re-aligning operations management; Leading development; delivering an innovative £72m retirement village re-development and leading a sustained development programme of new specialist extra care housing delivering over 1,300 new properties in the last 3 years and currently managing a pipeline of circa 1,700 new build.

Tony has also led on a number of sizeable acquisitions of both rented and leasehold properties; Improving assets; agreeing the strategic approach to asset management. Ensuring properties are safe for residents and staff; and investing to maximise both resident satisfaction and the long term value from properties; Driving quality improvements from services; being the responsible person with CQC for social care services delivering circa 40,000 hours per week; and driving service improvements in housing and care services evidenced by a balanced set of qualitative and quantitative key performance indicators; Leading on digital developments that support more effective ways of working (to improve resident satisfaction and enable staff to do their roles more efficiently); and working in partnership with suppliers to offer residents better and less intrusive support services enabled by technology.

Specialist Skills

  • Leadership
  • Strategy Development
  • Housing, Asset Management and social care sector knowledge
Tim Leslie

Tim Leslie

Tim is a senior civil servant at Ofqual, the exams regulator. He joined Ofqual in 2012 as its Director of Risk and Markets. His current position is Director of the National Reference Test, a new test launched in a sample of schools this year. He has been responsible for its design and development, procurement and commercial management, and now leads its annual delivery. He has also contributed to the reform of GCSEs and A levels, making regulatory decisions on the proposed new qualifications.

Tim has a broad background in regulation and risk management. Prior to joining Ofqual, he was Chief Executive and Director of Regulation at Standards for England, a non-departmental public body sponsored by DCLG, which regulated ethical standards in local government. He led teams responsible for investigating complaints, publishing guidance and monitoring local authorities’ operation of the standards framework. He also worked at the Financial Services Authority, supervising major banks.

Tim’s earlier career was in the private sector. Between 1997 and 2008, he had various roles at Xansa plc, a business process and IT outsourcing company including as its Risk Director, where he implemented a new approach to enterprise risk management. He also worked at NatWest for 17 years in roles including Director of International Markets in its Treasury and Capital Markets business, and Head of the Group’s Business Consultancy unit.

Tim has worked extensively with boards via his experience as CEO of Standards for England, senior civil servant at Ofqual and as Risk Director at Xansa Plc.

Tim has a degree in Engineering from Cambridge University and is an Associate of the Institute of Bankers.

Specialist Skills

  • Corporate governance and regulatory management
  • Risk Management
  • Programme and change management
Colin Small

Colin Small

Colin is a finance based professional with public, private and (considerable) third sector experience. As a qualified accountant early working years were spent in industry including heavy machinery manufacture, trailer repair and manufacture, and a builder’s merchant. Joined the local water authority in 1975 and spent 3 years moving from public to private outlook following the 1974 move from water boards. In 1979.

Colin joined his first Housing Association based in Wolverhampton as Financial Controller, becoming Finance Director later. This was the start of a 28 year career with Normid, Touchstone (now Midland Heart) and Festival (Now Fortis) at senior executive level and taking on HR and company secretarial duties along the way.

In 2007/2008 Colin decided to move away from full time employment and develop a portfolio of activities. This has involved board related appointments previously as Chair of Mercian Housing Association, Circle Housing Group (now Clarion) and currently Stonewater Housing Group ( and Chair of Risk and Assurance Committee) Chair of the Social Housing Pension Scheme, Trustee of the Pensions Trust and Senior Independent Director at Trident Housing Group (and Chair of the Remuneration Committee). Throughout this time Colin has also general managed a small West Bromwich based Community Association and from 1999 till 2006 served on the board of the Wrekin Housing Trust. All this has given me a unique insight into the sector at executive and non-executive level, including 3 completed successful mergers.

Specialist Skills

  • Finance
  • Risk Management
  • Governance
Julie Robinson

Julie Robinson - Co-optee

Julie has over 10 years’ experience in the social housing sector at senior and executive level and has had responsibility during that time for all areas of the business providing regular reports to Audit & Risk Committees, Remuneration Committees, Development Committees and Board.

Julie has strong strategic planning skills across all areas of the business and ensures that a risk and assurance culture is embedded throughout the organisation. Specifically, her experience lies in determining the financial and treasury strategy for organisations, ensuring it aligns to the organisations risk appetite and growth objectives, and where identified leading to renegotiations of existing facilities and raising new finance. She has led the business planning cycle in different organisations and has experience of stress testing those plans and developing and monitoring recovery plans in the event of a "perfect storm" scenario.

Julie has a sound understanding of the regulatory environment in which we operate and as well as an in-depth understanding of finance and has a broad understanding and practical experience of most aspects within the social housing sector. Julie is an advocate of lean, systemic thinking approaches as a methodology to improve internal, customer centric services whilst maintaining the requirements of complex financial models to deliver against business plans and delivering efficient and effective services.

Her experience as a non-executive is as a Trustee at a Hospice in Watford where she was also Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee for 5 years. Whilst in the role, Julie was seen as a good communicator who demonstrated the behaviours that she values which are honest, respectful and professional. She was instrumental in ensuring that the Board operated effectively, sharing the organisations values and working collaboratively without self-interest putting the interest of the business and customers first at all times.

Martin Jukes

Martin Jukes - Chair

Martin is Managing Director of Mpathy Plus, a management consultancy formed in 2005 who specialise in customer service and contact centre. He operates at both a strategic and operational levels in three main areas; business transformation, performance improvement and operational support. This involves working in various areas including Operations, IT, HR, Marketing etc. Although working in all sectors, Mpathy Plus has over 50 social housing providers as clients. Clients from other sectors have included Centrica, Coutts, DWP, Exxon Mobil, G4S, Open University, Punch Retail, Ricoh, Rolls Royce and Bentley Motor Cars, Virgin Trains, Vodafone, Western Union and others.

Previous employment has involved working for Sitel; a global business process and contact centre outsourcer where he led the team of Consultants across Central Europe, Birmingham Midshires Building Society where he had various roles in IT, Service Delivery and Project Management and BT where he maintained large business customers equipment.

Martin also provides support to Small and Medium Enterprises in developing their businesses to meet their needs e.g. growth, rationalisation, exit etc.

He is an MBA graduate and has completed various other training including Prince2. He is a Worcestershire Ambassador whose members aim is to promote Worcestershire as a place to 'Work, Live or Visit'.

Specialist Skills

  • General Business Management
  • Development of new models of service delivery
  • Harnessing ICT to transform a business
Andrew Foster

Andrew Foster

Andrew Foster is Executive Director of Governance and Contracts at Midland Heart, a Housing Association headquartered in Birmingham with 33,000 homes under management. His role focusses on ensuring the effective operation of governance and risk management and ensuring its procurement activities deliver value for money and high quality services to customers. Andrew’s responsibilities cover Governance; Legal; Risk and Audit; Procurement; Health and Safety; Facilities; Insurance; Policy.

A qualified solicitor, he previously worked in law firms and in the IT outsourcing sector.

He has a strong belief in the critical importance of a quality home to the wellbeing and life chances of social housing tenants, and in the role of social housing providers in empowering the communities in which they operate.

Andrew lives in North Worcestershire and enjoys running and music and mentoring young people in his spare time.

Specialist Skills

  • Strong knowledge of governance - both at board and organisational level-and of regulation
  • Good commercial acumen
  • A contemporary and detailed knowledge of the Housing sector and how policy change can affect housing providers in the future
Liz Heaven

Liz Heaven

Liz has over 35 years' experience working in the social care sector, principally in social work and learning and development roles. Most recently, prior to becoming a freelance consultant, she worked for the national sector skills council for social care - Skills for Care. She was employed there as Manager for the Midlands area, which encompassed the whole of the East and West Midlands.

Since 2013 Liz has worked on a freelance basis for a not-for-profit organisation operating in the fields of social care; third sector charities and public sector institutions. The organisation provides a bespoke learning and development service, designing and delivering learning for a wide range of audiences. It also supports organisational development and quality improvement through a range of consultancy services, including bespoke audit and assurance commissions.

Liz's Professional qualifications include Freelance management consultant and trainer/Qualified and registered social worker; Degree and Msc in Social Sciences; Post graduate qualifications in health and social services management; teaching and learning; coaching and mentoring; programme and project management; Graduate of the Institute of Personnel Management and Prince 2 accredited - Foundation and Practitioner levels.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic thinking and analysis
  • Programme and project management for business development and assurance
  • Occupationally current professional experience in social care and health - including a robust understanding of the legislative, regulatory and policy drivers relating to the sector
Louise Lee

Louise Lee - Fortis Living

Louise has worked in housing since 1995 initially in housing management, moving in 2000 to specialise in supported housing and services.

Louise currently works for Fortis Living as Head of Supported Housing and is responsible for Retirement Living Housing and services, catering services, the Falls Response service, Young Peoples Services and the Telecare services provided by Fortis in partnership with Worcestershire Telecare. Louise joined the Worcestershire Telecare Board in 2015.

Specialist Skills

  • Service-modelling/restructuring
  • Change Management
  • Project Management
  • People and resourcing Management
Nicola Inchbald

Nicola Inchbald - Rooftop Housing

Nicola is a Chartered Town Planner with over 30 years experience of the property development industry having been involved in projects as diverse as selling Bankside Power Station to Tate Modern and Farnborough Aerodrome to TAG Hauer. She has extensive housing development experience and advised The Commission for the New Towns, English Partnerships and Ministry of Defence on major land disposals and was a founder member of the Residential Development Agents Society (RDAS).

Having retired from CBRE in 2003, Nicola moved to her husband’s family home in Worcester where she cared for her elderly parent-in-law and two young children. This gave her direct experience of the joys of intergenerational living as well as coping with the pressures many families face over care provision.

Nicola joined the Board of Rooftop Housing Group in 2011 and became Group Chair in 2013. She also sits on the Board of The Matrix Housing Partnership, a development cooperative between Rooftop, Accord, Trent & Dove, Trident and Pioneer Housing Associations.

Specialist Skills

  • Housing development – planning, appraisals, market sales, understanding and mitigating risk
  • Strategy – sector awareness, analytical thinking, creative solutions
  • Business – commercial ability, financial understanding
  • Governance – compliance and risk assessment, effective board management
Roger Berry

Roger Berry - Councillor Representative

Roger has served as a Worcester City Councillor for over 40 years. He has held most major offices having served two spells as Housing Chair; as Council Leader and more recently, Cabinet Member for Housing and Heritage in 2016/7. He was Mayor of Worcester during 2012/13. He is a past Chair of Worcestershire Telecare when it was run by a consortium of District Councillors.

He is currently the Trustee of a Worcester Consolidated CIC, a major Local Charity in Worcester and has served as a Board member on Worcester Community Trust and of its predecessor Charities.

He has also served on The Board of West Mercia Housing Group and been a member of Fortis’s Customer Care and Communities Panel.

As an active Co-operator he has chaired the Area Committee of the Co-operative Group and been a member of it for over 30years. He has also served as a Board Director on Co-operative Retail Services in the past.

He was also a Member of Hereford and Worcester Area Health Authority and Worcester and District Health authority.

Roger, a trained Social Worker, was employed in Worcestershire Social Services throughout his career, promoted the development of Very Sheltered Housing in the County. He has particular experience of working with the elderly people and people with Learning Disabilities.

Specialist Skills

  • Governance
  • Health and Social Care
  • Charity Law
Helen Southwell

Helen Southwell - Co-optee

Helen is Deputy Director of Primary Care at Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups.

She is an experienced senior manager in the NHS with a demonstrated history of commissioning and provision in the acute, community and primary healthcare industry in the West Midlands and Lancashire.

Helen also has extensive experience of delivering transformational change to achieve best value and quality with the NHS and not for profit setting.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic commissioning
  • Transformational change and organisational development
  • Strategic planning and Business Process improvement
Kaye Law-Fox

Kaye Law-Fox - Chair

Kaye Law-Fox is an experienced executive and non-executive director, with 25 years senior management experience in public, private and charity sector roles: including the NHS, security agencies of the Home Office, a national charity and several not-for-profit companies. In her early career Kaye was responsible for purchasing and property development for a national restaurant chain; for the majority of her career she developed or provided strategic corporate governance systems and latterly provided research and analysis for national charity projects.

Kaye has eight years non-executive experience, including audit and risk and professional standards committees; serving Boards of three housing associations and a sector skills body.

Kaye's management qualifications include BSc (Hons) Management Systems: MSc Health Management: MSc Rural Resource Management. She is also a qualified project, programme and portfolio manager.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic business planning – establishing systems of corporate business planning
  • Regulation & Governance standards - strategic business development
  • Project, programme and portfolio management
Andrew Fry

Andrew Fry

Andrew is a professional company director, non-executive director and chair with 30 years of diverse private and public sector management and director experience.

Andrew trained initially in FMCG brand management marketing and advertising. Subsequently he founded a specialised retail design and manufacturing group which he headed as a hands on MD for 19 years. He now combines work as a professional NED and charity trustee with running a property and innovation consultancy business.

Andrew's NED experience over the last 10 years includes roles as diverse as Vice Chair of Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Chair of Sandwell Arts Trust and of Sandwell Leisure Trust; trustee of the Black Country Living Museum; and NED at The Community Housing Group and Oakleaf Commercial Services.

Andrew has a particular interests in the natural and built environment which combines with his experience in design and an enthusiasm for history. He also have a strong commitment to social inclusion and in particular to the care of those with mental health issues.

Specialist Skills

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy - including strategic analysis and challenge
  • Corporate governance - including managing boards, balancing support with challenge; risk management; health and safety management both practical and strategic; financial scrutiny; HR and legals.
Jane Preece

Jane Preece

Jane Preece moved to the West Midlands in 1990 from her native Wales to pursue a career in human resources and related areas. She has worked in the public, private and not for profit sector at Director level, most recently with Walsall Housing Group where she was Director of Organisational Development and Company Secretary.

Her project management and leadership skills have enabled organisations to achieve IIP Gold Standard, ISO9001, TUPE transfers of employees, changes of employment contracts in unionised environments. She has been nominee for Ofsted and involved in housing regulator inspections.

In 2016, a house with a canal mooring brought her to Kidderminster; she joined The Community Housing Group's Vestia Board and started her "dream job" at Severn Valley Railway as their first HR Manager, responsible for their paid employees and the Heritage Skills Training Academy apprentices.

Jane has held a number of non-executive directorships/trustee appointments in the fields of housing, training and various charities. Currently, she is the Chair of Sustain UK Ltd who provide supported accommodation for vulnerable adults in Birmingham and is a board member of PTP Ltd who deliver training opportunities in the West Midlands. Having undertaken the role of Company Secretary in a housing group who collapsed their group structure, Jane will bring relevant experience to the The Community Housing Group Board.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic thinking
  • Sound judgement with the willingness to challenge
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, having worked in people management roles for over 30 years
Tony Tench

Tony Tench

Tony has over 20 years of experience in housing, development, asset management and social care. He is currently Chief Operations Officer for Housing and Care 21, a leading registered provider of quality housing and social care for older people.

Previously, Tony held a number of Executive roles at Hanover Housing Association and prior to that led on Extra Care housing development for Anchor Trust. Tony is a Business and Marketing Graduate.

Tony's achievements in housing and social care include: Improving organisational governance; working with the Board to agree a realistic strategy and business plan, simplifying the governance structures, agreeing and prioritising core purpose, improving the control environment and re-aligning operations management; Leading development; delivering an innovative £72m retirement village re-development and leading a sustained development programme of new specialist extra care housing delivering over 1,300 new properties in the last 3 years and currently managing a pipeline of circa 1,700 new build.

Tony has also led on a number of sizeable acquisitions of both rented and leasehold properties; Improving assets; agreeing the strategic approach to asset management. Ensuring properties are safe for residents and staff; and investing to maximise both resident satisfaction and the long term value from properties; Driving quality improvements from services; being the responsible person with CQC for social care services delivering circa 40,000 hours per week; and driving service improvements in housing and care services evidenced by a balanced set of qualitative and quantitative key performance indicators; Leading on digital developments that support more effective ways of working (to improve resident satisfaction and enable staff to do their roles more efficiently); and working in partnership with suppliers to offer residents better and less intrusive support services enabled by technology.

Specialist Skills

  • Leadership
  • Strategy Development
  • Housing, Asset Management and social care sector knowledge
Fred Carter

Fred Carter

Fred will bring to the Board extensive knowledge of Residential Property and Development. He has spent over 35 years’ working within the Affordable Housing arena predominantly within the West Midlands.

Disciplines covered include land buying, development appraisals, contract negotiations and commercial management in addition to total business unit control. During this time, Fred has spent time within local authority; housing associations; consultants and private developers.

He was a Voluntary Board Member of Sandwell Homes, the 2nd largest ALMO in the country, for 5 years commencing February 2005. During this time, the organisation improved their performance rating (as published by the Audit Commission) from 1* (Poor) to 3* (Excellent).

Academically, Fred was awarded a MSc in Construction Management in January 1994 and he is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Fred's whole life has been spent living in the Midlands area. Originally from Handsworth in Birmingham, he currently lives less than half an hour from The Community Housing Group Head Office.

Outside the work environment, he previously had a 5-year period as Chairman of the South Birmingham Supporters Club of West Bromwich Albion. This was followed by a 5-year period as Chairman of Shareholders 4 Albion. In addition to organising and hosting meetings for up to 300 people, he fronted a campaign to fund a set of gates dedicated to the memory of Jeff Astle (the 1968 FA Cup winning striker) at the Hawthorns.

He married his 2nd wife, Tracy, at the Black Country Museum in July 2014.

Specialist Skills

  • Residential development
  • Housing refurbishment
  • Commercial acumen
Liz Heaven

Liz Heaven

Liz has over 35 years' experience working in the social care sector, principally in social work and learning and development roles. Most recently, prior to becoming a freelance consultant, she worked for the national sector skills council for social care - Skills for Care. She was employed there as Manager for the Midlands area, which encompassed the whole of the East and West Midlands.

Since 2013 Liz has worked on a freelance basis for a not-for-profit organisation operating in the fields of social care; third sector charities and public sector institutions. The organisation provides a bespoke learning and development service, designing and delivering learning for a wide range of audiences. It also supports organisational development and quality improvement through a range of consultancy services, including bespoke audit and assurance commissions.

Liz's Professional qualifications include Freelance management consultant and trainer/Qualified and registered social worker; Degree and Msc in Social Sciences; Post graduate qualifications in health and social services management; teaching and learning; coaching and mentoring; programme and project management; Graduate of the Institute of Personnel Management and Prince 2 accredited - Foundation and Practitioner levels.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic thinking and analysis
  • Programme and project management for business development and assurance
  • Occupationally current professional experience in social care and health - including a robust understanding of the legislative, regulatory and policy drivers relating to the sector
Paul Large

Paul Large

Paul qualified as an accountant (CIPFA) in 1986 having spent his career up to that date working in the NHS and Local Government. Shortly after qualifying, he moved to KPMG, working in the public and not for profit sectors as an internal and external audit manager with occasional consultancy assignments (5 years).

Paul then moved to the Further Education Funding Council (5 years) and from there onto Oxford Brookes University where he has worked since 1997, initially as Director of Finance and Legal Services (11 years) and then as Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, including Clerk to the Board (7 years).

Since stepping down as Registrar and Chief Operating Officer in April 2016 Paul has worked part-time for the University as Director of Infrastructure Investment. He is leading on a major project to reduce the University's estate, in and around Oxford, from three campuses to two and obtain the maximum capital receipt from disposal of the redundant campus. He intends to conclude the planning stage of the project by December 2017 and then step down completely.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategy development, planning and implementation;
  • Financial strategy and management; Debt management, including private placement;
  • Audit, Risk management and assurance;
  • Project leadership, management and governance - including effectiveness governance review
Jane Preece

Jane Preece

Jane Preece moved to the West Midlands in 1990 from her native Wales to pursue a career in human resources and related areas. She has worked in the public, private and not for profit sector at Director level, most recently with Walsall Housing Group where she was Director of Organisational Development and Company Secretary.

Her project management and leadership skills have enabled organisations to achieve IIP Gold Standard, ISO9001, TUPE transfers of employees, changes of employment contracts in unionised environments. She has been nominee for Ofsted and involved in housing regulator inspections.

In 2016, a house with a canal mooring brought her to Kidderminster; she joined The Community Housing Group's Vestia Board and started her "dream job" at Severn Valley Railway as their first HR Manager, responsible for their paid employees and the Heritage Skills Training Academy apprentices.

Jane has held a number of non-executive directorships/trustee appointments in the fields of housing, training and various charities. Currently, she is the Chair of Sustain UK Ltd who provide supported accommodation for vulnerable adults in Birmingham and is a board member of PTP Ltd who deliver training opportunities in the West Midlands. Having undertaken the role of Company Secretary in a housing group who collapsed their group structure, Jane will bring relevant experience to the The Community Housing Group Board.

Specialist Skills

  • Strategic thinking
  • Sound judgement with the willingness to challenge
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, having worked in people management roles for over 30 years
Ray Brookes Group Chief Executive
Ray Brookes

Brief Career History and Experience
Ray joined Wyre Forest District Council in March 1983 as a Senior Maintenance Officer and progressed through the organisation to become Head of Housing in 1994. He was the Lead Officer for the transfer process and set up the Shadow Board of Wyre Forest Community Housing in 1997.
When the Council transferred its stock in March 2000 to Wyre Forest Community Housing Ray was appointed as Chief Executive.
Now that the Company has moved on to become a group structure, Ray continues as the Group Chief Executive.

Current Responsibilities
The Company's senior executive in overall control of the management of the affairs of the Group.
Responsible for advising on the formulation of Group strategy and for the co-ordination and effectiveness of the Group in accordance with its Memorandum and Articles, Standing Orders, Business Plan, Policies and Practices and the Housing Corporations Regulatory Framework.
David Knowlton Deputy Group Chief Executive and Company Secretary
David Knowlton

Brief Career History and Experience
David joined Wyre Forest Community Housing after 10 years as Group Finance Director at Sanctuary Housing Group, the fourth largest Housing Company in the UK with over 35,000 properties.
Earlier in his career, David held senior positions at three other Midland based Housing Associations, Midland Area and Bournville Village Trust and Spiral Housing Association and lived in Wyre Forest prior to moving south to Hertfordshire in 1989. He moved back to the area on taking up his post with the Group.

Current Responsibilities
As the Deputy Group Chief Executive, David has responsibility for Facilities Management, Risk and Project Management and Company Secretarial matters.
Marina Banner Executive Director (Vestia and Corporate Services)
Marina Banner

Brief Career History and Experience
Marina was part of the Housing transfer team that established the organisation in 2000 and has been Director of Vestia & Corporate Services since 2010. Her career in housing spans over 30 years and has included roles in front line service delivery, strategy and business development.

Marina is committed to the pursuit of Business Excellence, is a trained Assessor and was the first person to receive a personal Ambassador of Excellence Award for the West Midlands in 2005. In this role she has supported The Community Housing Group and a number of statutory, voluntary and private sector organisations to improve their businesses and more recently to adopt Lean thinking.

Current Responsibilities
As a Group Director responsible for the delivery of Corporate Services and Deputy Company Secretary, Marina is responsible for a broad range of services including:
Governance & Board Development, Regulation, ICT, Human Resources, Marketing & PR, Market Research, Business Planning, Business Improvement, Performance Monitoring, Corporate Social Responsibility, Stakeholder Communications and Involvement.

She is also Managing Director of Vestia Community Trust; which is responsible for researching and piloting new models of collaborative service delivery to customers and communities suffering multiple disadvantages. This includes supporting people into employment and empowering them to be independent and responsible citizens who are able to make decisions about their lives, homes and communities. Vestia is also responsible for securing external funding to support delivery of the Group’s vision of ‘Improving Lives’.
Ian Hancock Managing Director, Oakleaf Commercial Services
Ian Hancock

Brief Career History and Experience
Ian trained in his early career as a Building Surveyor in the private sector. He later joined Knightstone Housing and Magna Housing Group delivering various construction and maintenance services.
Ian joined the Group in 2005 as Director of Asset Management before becoming Managing Director of Oakleaf on its inception in December 2013.

Current Responsibilities
Responsible for the Group's Asset Management Strategy and to deliver front line Repairs Services, Investment Programmes and the Customer Service Centre.
Responsible for delivering the Oakleaf Commercial Services Ltd Business Plan objectives.
Supporting the Executive Team in developing and delivering the strategic and operational plans for the Group and subsidiary companies.
Nick Parker (Interim) Director of Housing and Neighbourhoods
Nick Parker

Brief Career History and Experience
Nick has worked in public, private and voluntary sectors specialising in housing management, regeneration and more recently support services. Between 2003 and 2012 Nick managed a Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder in Wyre Forest and was a member of the Department for Communities and Local Government Working Group looking at Neighbourhood Management.
Over 20 years, Nick managed several large inner-city housing estates in London before leading the country's largest Housing Co-operative. He then spent 5 years as part of a team managing stock transfers of estates from both Hackney and Islington Council to Peabody Trust.

Current Responsibilities
Nick is responsible for the delivery of responsive, high quality neighbourhood services, lettings, shared ownership and supporting The Community Housing Group to meet future housing needs though effective use of assets and new developments.
Dave Hanman Director of Independent Living Services
Dave Hanman

Brief Career History and Experience
Dave has worked in Care, and associated Services, for 35 years and has experience of mental health nursing, managing nursing and residential homes, domiciliary care services, supported housing and day services. He has experience of delivering services to a range of client groups including: mental health; dementia; older people; learning disabilities; young people
Dave has worked across statutory and voluntary sectors and since 2003 has worked in the housing sector, mainly focusing on Care & Support services, but more latterly combining this with Housing Management services.

Current Responsibilities
As Director for Independent Living Services, Dave is responsible for the strategic delivery of services through Care & Support24 and Worcestershire Telecare.
Steve Ball Director of Financial Services
Steve Ball

Brief Career History and Experience
Steve joined the Group in January 2004 as Head of Financial Services moving into the role of Head of Treasury, Risk and Insurance Services in 2014. He was appointed Director of Financial Services in 2017.
Steve started his career at KPMG, Birmingham before moving into housing finance at Sanctuary Housing where he gained experience over 15 years first as Development Accountant and then as Treasury Accountant in control of their substantial loan portfolio.

Current Responsibilities
Steve is responsible for the finances of the Group including business planning, treasury, internal management reporting, external financial reporting and directing the Finance Department to provide a quality financial service to Group members.