New appointments: Clarion, Tpas, Peabody and Places for People

New appointments: Clarion, Tpas, Peabody and Places for People

An update on who is starting new roles in the housing sector


Clarion Housing Group has appointed Jock Lennox as its new chair.

The chartered accountant, who is also a non-executive director for house builder Barratt, will take over from David Avery, who has completed his nine-year tenure with Clarion’s board and is stepping down after five years as chair. 

Mr Lennox will start working with the housing association from the start of May, but will not take over the role until Mr Avery steps down as chair at the end of July.

The incoming chair, who spent 30 years with accountancy firm Ernst & Young and has developed an active board career said of the appointment: “It is a privilege to join Clarion and its excellent team, who are dedicated to providing and maintaining homes for those who need them most. 

“I look forward to supporting the executive and non-executive team, helping them continue the legacy of William Sutton, who bequeathed his fortune to provide homes for the working poor nearly 125 years ago. I want to thank David Avery for all his hard work in maintaining this legacy under his Chairmanship, and for his support in ensuring my smooth transition into the role.”

Clare Miller, Clarion’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jock to Clarion. He brings tremendous energy and enthusiasm to the role, as well as extensive relevant experience. 

“Jock’s appointment comes at a time of transition and challenge to our sector as we navigate the UK’s desperate need for more social housing, an increasingly complex regulatory environment and significant financial pressures, as well as our need to retrofit our homes to reduce energy bills for our residents. I look forward to working with Jock to lead Clarion through this period.”


Places for People make Judy Hardy their permanent Chief Risk Officer.

The appointment comes after Judy initially held the role on an interim basis. She joins Places for People’s executive leadership team and will attend its Audit & Risk Committee. 

Judy joined Places for People in 2005 and was most recently the company’s Director of Regulation. 

Speaking about Judy’s appointment, Greg Reed, Places for People Group CEO said: “I’m proud that one of our own, someone who has been with us for 18 years, is now our Chief Risk Officer. Judy’s vast experience, her knowledge of UK Housing Regulation and her relationships with our regulatory and governance stakeholders, as well as her brilliant awareness and judgment, made her the right person for this critical role.  

“At Places for People, we talk about being a ‘force for good’. Judy is the embodiment of that phrase and I’m delighted therefore that she is now part of our executive team and is leading risk across our whole organisation.”


Tpas appoints new board chair

Former president of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Alison Inman, has been appointed as the new independent chair of tenant engagement experts, Tpas

Alison, who has served on the Tpas board as an independent member, is also a board member at Saffron Housing Trust, in addition to being co-founder of social housing campaign group, SHOUT.

“It is an honour to be stepping into the role of Chair at Tpas having been part of the organisation’s growth over recent years,” Alison said of the appointment.

“Like all of us here at Tpas, I am a firm believer that when the voice of the tenant is heard, social housing works better. This has been one of my values for many years and I’ll continue to be a vocal champion of tenant involvement as I take on this role.”


Peabody has named Tariq Kazi as new their Group Treasurer.

A former financier who helped set up the government’s Affordable Housing Guarantee Scheme, Tariq joins from Southern Housing where he was Director of Financial Strategy. 

Tariq will help look after Peabody’s borrowings and ensure the Group, which has more than 108,000 homes and 220,000 residents, has enough long-term financial resources to invest in its existing homes, build new homes and create communities. 

He’ll also be responsible for credit ratings agencies and bank and bond market investor relations across the Group’s £6bn treasury portfolio. 

“The current economic climate means it’s more important than ever that we keep a strong balance sheet to deliver benefits for residents now and in the future,” said Tariq. 

“We need to carefully manage financial risk so we can continue to invest in our homes and communities and help people flourish.”

Tariq’s arrival at Peabody follows on from the announcement earlier this month that Phil Day will join as the Group’s new Chief Financial Officer starting in September.

UK’s housing stock ‘worst value for money’ of any advanced economy

UK’s housing stock ‘worst value for money’ of any advanced economy

New analysis says Britons pay more for less when it comes to housing

Britain housing stock offers the worst value for money of any advanced economy, according to the Resolution Foundation, who have published their new findings.

The data looked at housing costs, floorspace, quality and price levels to compare nations, finding high costs and low quantity in the UK.

The Foundation’s latest Housing Outlook uses OCED (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) data to compare various housing metrics across advanced economies. The analysis assessed the scale and uniqueness of the UK’s much-discussed housing crisis compared to other similar economies – many with their own housing problems.

The report notes that the share of household income spent on housing is the most common way to assess housing costs but this measure is less useful for international comparisons due to being affected by a country’s share of outright (mortgage-free) owners, who don’t have ongoing housing costs.

For example, Italy (61%), Spain (49%) and the UK (36%) have a far greater share of outright owners than Germany (26%) and the Netherlands (9%).

Therefore to make an international comparison of the actual market cost of housing, the analysis examines what it would cost to rent all homes – incorporating the imputed rents, or what owners would pay if they rented their home at market rates – to show how the market price of housing varies across a range of countries.

It finds that housing represents a greater share of consumption on this basis in the UK than in any other advanced economy bar Finland.

In theory, these high housing costs could reflect the cost of a superior quantity or quality of housing in the UK, but the Foundation reports that is not the reality – people instead pay more and get less.

The report shows that English homes actually have less average floorspace per person (38 m2) than many similar countries, including the US (66 m2), Germany (46 m2), France (43 m2) and even Japan (40 m2).

The findings show English homes even have less floor space, on average, than homes in New York City (43 m2).

Overall Brits get 24% less housing per person than Austrians and 22% less than Canadians, both of whom have similar consumption levels overall.

It’s noted, the UK’s housing stock is also the oldest of any of European countries, with a greater share of homes built before 1946 (38%) than anywhere else. For example, just 21% of homes in Italy, and 11% in Spain, were built before the end of the war.

Older homes tend to be poorly insulated, leading to higher energy bills and a higher risk of damp, remarks the Foundation.

UK households pay 57% more for the same (quality-adjusted) housing as their counterparts in Austria, for example, and 36% more than those in Canada. Housing in New Zealand offers the second worst value for money, followed by Australia and Ireland – all countries also gripped by housing crises.

Adam Corlett, principal economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Britain’s housing crisis is likely to be a big topic in the election campaign, as parties debate how to address the problems of high costs, poor quality and low security that face so many households.

“Britain is one of many countries apparently in the midst of a housing crisis, and it can be difficult to separate rhetoric from reality. But by looking at housing costs, floorspace and wider issues of quality, we find that the UK’s expensive, cramped and ageing housing stock offers the worst value for money of any advanced economy.

“Britain’s housing crisis is decades in the making, with successive governments failing to build enough new homes and modernise our existing stock. That now has to change.”

LFB completes all Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations

LFB completes all Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations

Phase 1 of the Inquiry included 29 recommendations for the London Fire Brigade

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has announced that it has completed all 29 of the recommendations from Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and promised further change to come.

Updates and improvements made by the LFB range from changes to firefighter training and refreshed processes for managing major incidents, to new equipment and technology, and improved communication.

72 people tragically lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire that started in the early hours of 14 June 2017. It is one of the UK’s worst disasters in modern history with a whole community losing their homes.

On 30 October 2019, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, published its Phase 1 report, which looked at the events that took place during 14 June 2017, investigating the cause of the fire, its subsequent development and the steps taken by the LFB and the other emergency services in response to it.

It also contains recommendations arising out of the findings.

Phase 2 of the Inquiry examines the causes of the events of 14 June 2017, including how Grenfell Tower came to be in a condition which allowed the fire to spread in the way identified by Phase 1. Phase 2 is yet to be published.


The Phase 1 report made 46 recommendations, directed at bodies including the London Fire Brigade, fire and rescue services more widely, other emergency services, national Government and owners and managers of residential buildings.

In total there were 29 recommendations aimed at the London Fire Brigade, 14 solely for the Brigade to address and 15 to address in conjunction with other organisations.

The changes and updates announced by the LFB include replacing the entire fleet of high-reach vehicles and the introduction of new 64 metre Turntable Ladders, the tallest ladders in service across Europe.

New command units equipped with technology to improve incident commanders’ ability to respond at the incident ground entered service at the end of 2023.

Since their introduction in 2018 over 200 people have been rescued using escape hoods, which offer the public protection from toxic smoke. London’s firefighters are amongst the first in the UK to carry them.

To improve communication new fire ground radios have been introduced that allow firefighters wearing helmets and breathing apparatus sets to communicate effectively with their teams and entry control officers when inside buildings.

Drones are also used to transmit information about incidents. The drones provide live images and thermal imagery to better allow incident commanders to develop tactics to tackle fires. The drones can also act as a loudspeaker to provide instructions or reassurance and provide light in dark conditions.

Changes to processes include control officers benefiting from improved training on providing fire survival guidance, as well as software that allows members of the public to provide control officers with a video feed from an incident.

London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said: “We accepted every recommendation from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and have been working hard over the past five years to implement significant changes to the way we operate.

“We are the only organisation to have completed every recommendation directed specifically to them and I am proud of the work that staff have put into this, but I also know that there is still much more to do. Fundamental change in large, complex organisations takes time and while our transformation programme is safely on track, we are not finished. I’m dedicated to continuing this journey with full commitment so that we can continue to be trusted to serve and protect our capital.  

“These improvements are paving the way forward for further change as we await the next report from Phase 2 of the Inquiry. We owe it to the bereaved families, the survivors, the residents of Grenfell Tower and Londoners to change and improve.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The Grenfell Tower fire was an appalling tragedy and we will always remember the 72 people who lost their lives. The most fitting tribute to the people who died, their loved ones and those who survived is to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.

“I have been relentless in doing everything I can to ensure the recommendations from Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry are implemented in full. Following City Hall’s significant investment, the LFB’s new equipment and protocols will help save lives. I welcome the significant steps the London Fire Brigade have taken to transform the way in which it responds to incidents, and high-rise building fires in particular.

“But there is more to do, and it is vital that the Government steps up along with housing and building industries to act now and ban combustible materials in external walls no matter their height and provide funding support for those unfairly saddled with large costs to remediate unsafe cladding. It’s vital that all possible steps are taken now to prevent another tragedy.”

The announcement that all recommendations have been met comes a week after His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) removed LFB from enhanced monitoring, in recognition of the improvements delivered by the Brigade.

G15 calls for creation of an Affordable Housing Commission

G15 calls for creation of an Affordable Housing Commission

As data shows a 76% drop in expected building starts of affordable homes in London this year, the social landlord collective wants long-term solutions in place

The G15 – a group of London’s largest housing associations – and think tank Centre for London have written an open letter to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Rt Hon Michael Gove.

In the letter, current G15 Chair Fiona Fletcher-Smith and CEO for Centre for London, Antonia Jennings address the housebuilding crisis facing London, calling out current measures that “do not go far enough to address what…is ‘a broken system’”.


Dear Michael Gove,

Centre for London is the capital’s independent think tank, focused on tackling London’s biggest challenges, including housing. Along with the undersigned, we are writing in response to your recent comments on the housing crisis.

We welcome your call to ensure the Renters Reform Bill is passed through Parliament this year, as well as your commitment to end no-fault evictions. Additionally, reform that accelerates building on brownfield sites is necessary. However, an expansion of capacity to deliver homes by 11% does not meet the scale of need. Your recent interventions do not go far enough to address what, by your own admission, is a broken system. The issues plaguing the current housing market go back decades and have been entrenched by short-term fixes.

Despite the crisis facing Londoners, the Government has failed to step up and invest in the delivery of social housing. Insufficient sustainable funding, among many structural issues, is a critical reason why housing is in crisis in our capital city.

After housing costs are accounted for, 1 in 4 Londoners live in poverty. The building of new homes in the capital is grinding to a halt. Data from the G15 show they are expected to start building 1,769 affordable homes in London this year, compared to 7,363 last year. This is a 76% drop. More widely, the data also shows that these associations have cut development in and outside London from 14,658 units a year, to 6,387 in 2024.

Only 35% of planned new homes are in London, compared to 70% of new starts last year. Housing is the leading contributor to the city’s other key challenges – from poor public health and the climate crisis, to growing inequality and the city’s flatlining productivity rate.

Housing should therefore be treated as the essential infrastructure that it is. Just like the railway network and the electricity grid, homes are the backbone of the economy and make economic growth possible. Specifically, we are calling on the government to:

  • Increase government investment in social housing, building 90,000 social homes a year across England, including 30,000 in London. £15.1 billion a year should be committed to the Affordable Homes Programme, using 10-year terms to provide investment stability.
  • Work with the Mayor of London to set up Development Corporations to build on strategically defined areas of the Green Belt, compensating for any loss of nature. One estimate suggests that nearly 900,000 new homes could be accommodated on just 25,000 hectares of Green Belt land within walking distance of train stations well-connected to central London.
  • End the short-termism that has dominated housing policy by creating an expert body, the Affordable Housing Commission, to set housebuilding targets aligned with the best evidence and to hold government accountable to delivering them.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Chair, G15, on behalf of the G15 group and CEO, L&Q Antonia Jennings, CEO, Centre for London

MERGER: Green light for Origin to join Places for People

MERGER: Green light for Origin to join Places for People

Housing association says merger will not impact tenancies and services

Origin Housing is set to become a subsidiary of Places for People Group Limited from Spring 2024 following shareholder approval.

The merger gained the green light from shareholders following a consultation with Origin Housing residents and recommendations from its Board. The move can now proceed subject to all required steps being completed.

Origin Housing owns and manages over 7,800 homes across London and Hertfordshire and started life in 1924 as St. Pancras House Improvement Society.

Places for People started in 1965 and owns and manages 240,000 properties across the country. 

The merger will mean an additional £100million of investment in customers’ homes over the first ten years post-merger as well as improved local services. There will also be no changes for current Origin Housing staff.

The HA also says the merger will be seamless with tenancies un-impacted and services such as repairs, paying rent and service charges or raising issues with a neighbourhood manager, all continuing to be delivered by existing staff from existing offices.

Carol Carter, chief executive of Origin Housing, said: “The merger will be hugely beneficial for our residents, staff and the communities we serve. Crucially, it means more investment in our homes and improved local services, as well as the retention of all of our hard-working staff who know the communities and people in them better than anyone.

“For residents, my message to you is that you won’t need to do anything differently – your tenancy, how your rent is paid or what to do when you need help, all remains the same.”

Greg Reed, group chief executive officer of Places for People added: “This really is a merger that works for, and benefits, absolutely everyone. We will be able to use our resources to make an additional £100million available to invest in these homes so we can ensure they are improved and maintained to the best standard.

“At the same time, community runs through absolutely everything we do as an organisation. That’s why we’re really focused on ensuring local services are not only protected but built on by recruiting, retaining and developing skilled and hardworking staff, and in the longer term we will be looking to create community hubs. Customers and communities will always come first, and we want to strengthen local accountability by having effective resident involvement in day-to-day services and for their voice to be heard at the highest level.

“This year marks Origin Housing’s centenary and on this week of all weeks – the birthday of its founder Father Basil Jellicoe – and we aim to continue to build on this proud history and legacy.”

Origin Housing are now completing the legal process to become a subsidiary of Places for People and will provide an update in the coming months.

Housing Sector: Appointments and Departures

Housing Sector: Appointments and Departures

Changes at the top: MTVH, Orbit Group and the Towns Unit


MTVH CEO Geeta Nanda stepping down

After sixteen years as CEO of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, or its preceding organisations, Geeta Nanda, OBE has announced she is to step down from her role.

The former Chair of the G15 group has informed the MTVH Board of her intention to step away from the executive role in the Autumn of 2024 and once a replacement is in post.

Geeta Nanda, OBE, said: “When you have the privilege to lead an incredible organisation like MTVH for 16 years it can be hard to find the right moment to step away, but I know this is the right time for several reasons.

“First, we have bounced back from the pandemic, with an improved credit outlook, the ability to deliver more opportunities for our residents, and the strongest governance rating.

“Second, there is a real continuity, strength, and depth in our Chair, Board and senior team, colleagues, and involved customers who will carry on MTVH’s mission to give everyone a decent home and the chance to live well.

“Finally, this is also the right time for me personally as my mum turns 91 this year and I want to spend more time caring for her.

“I entered the affordable housing sector as a Housing Officer 35 years ago to give more people the security of a decent home and the opportunities that come with that. I’m grateful that MTVH has given me the opportunity to fulfil that purpose and proud that we have enhanced resident experience, created great places to live, and met the challenges faced by communities by supporting people to live well. With our great team here we have also completed, or progressed over 15,000, new homes in the past 16 years.”

MTVH’s Chair, Althea Efunshile, CBE, is leading the search and selection process for the new CEO, supported by other Board members, and has appointed executive search specialists Odgers Berndston to assist.


PM appoints Towns Tsar

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has appointed Adam Hawksbee as interim Chair for the Towns Unit.

Adam, Deputy Director of the think tank Onward, will help deliver the government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns, backed by £1.1 billion overall, to regenerate 55 towns around the country.

Each town will receive a 10-year endowment-style fund with £20 million of funding and support to deliver long-term projects focused on the issues that matter most to local people, including regenerating high streets, protecting local heritage and cracking down on anti-social behaviour.

The Unit will ensure the Long-Term Plan for Towns delivers its promise by supporting local leaders to develop proposals, encouraging further investment from businesses and making sure that Towns Boards become long-term institutions that serve their communities.

Adam will be visiting towns up and down the country and reporting directly back to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove on how these places can better level up. 

Adam’s work to date has focused on increasing economic growth and strengthening communities across the UK. He has published research on a range of topics including empowering regional mayors, tackling antisocial behaviour and reforming technical education. He was also previously Head of Policy to Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.

Adam will be undertaking the role on a part-time basis, alongside his position as Deputy Director of Onward.


Orbit Group appoints two new Non-Executive Board Directors

Emma Kenny and Priya Khullar have joined the Board of Orbit Group as Non-Executive Directors

An experienced Non-Executive Director, Emma Kenny, currently holds Non-Executive board positions at Cottsway Housing Association, VR Entertainment, Rematch and Innovate UK Loans.

She brings with her 25 years of experience in senior positions at global blue-chips in brand building, omni-channel marketing, customer journey and digital-led insights. 

Priya Khullar brings a background in senior leadership roles focusing on customer experience, digital and data analytics, including positions with major UK and international organisations such as the Home Office, Conversity, BT, Pfizer and Sky, as well as a Non-Executive Director role with London Travelwatch.

Chair of Orbit Group, David Weaver commented: “We are delighted to welcome Emma and Priya to our Board. They are both very experienced board members with extensive expertise in customer experience, as well as sharing our commitment to making a social difference. I have no doubt they will both prove a real asset in helping us to continue to our drive to provide affordable, good quality, safe homes that our customers love.

“It’s an exciting time for Orbit as we look to shape our 2030 corporate strategy, and I look forward to hearing their insights and inputs as we develop this further.”