Rachel Maclean confirmed as new Housing Minister

The appointment of Redditch MP Rachel Maclean as the new Housing Minister was made following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s latest Government reshuffle, which saw Maclean replace Lucy Frazer, who was promoted to culture secretary.

Maclean is the sixth person to hold the role in the past 12 months.

She said of being asked to serve as Minister of State in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: “It’s a real privilege to join the Government and to work with the Levelling Up Secretary on one of the most important issues – housing – facing our nation at this time.

“I want to reassure my constituents that my new role will not affect my work as your MP. I have been a Minister before and continued to deliver for Redditch and the Villages.

“The [Alexandra Hospital] remains my top priority and I won’t stop fighting for more investment and for the return of services to our hospital.”

First elected in 2017 as MP for Redditch, Maclean went on to hold a number of junior ministerial positions, including as Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions, Women and Equalities and the Treasury.

In 2020, Maclean was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport. Following a government reshuffle, she was then appointed as Minister for Safeguarding in the Home Office, where she created the Domestic Abuse Plan and led the modern slavery elements of the Nationality and Borders Act through the House of Commons.

In September 2022, Maclean was then promoted to Minister of State in the Ministry of Justice. As Minister of State for Victims and Vulnerability, she led on preparations for the forthcoming Victims Bill, sentencing, reforms to parole and the criminal law.

Between November 2022 and February 2023, she served as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party.

New Board Chair – Grand Union Housing Group

Grand Union Housing Group has appointed former Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) president Steve Benson as its new Chair of the Board.

He will be replacing Peter Fielder, who has been acting Chair since November, on 1 April. After a period of handover, Peter will step down at the end of June.

Benson has previous experience working with local authorities, housing associations and a homeless charity, Two Saints.

He has served on the boards of a number of housing associations and held a variety of governance roles including at CIH and at Homeless Link, where he currently chairs their governance committee.

Grand Union has homes across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire. They have an £86 million turnover social business with 400 staff.

Benson said of his new role at the 12,500-home landlord: “I’m excited to be taking on this new role at Grand Union Housing Group and have been impressed by everything I’ve seen so far.

“Grand Union is well placed to make a positive impact on the communities we serve, but we’re facing challenging times with the difficult economic environment and cost of living crisis, so it’s never been more important for housing association boards to adopt the right strategies to ensure they achieve their visions and missions, while keeping their values.”

Benson is a permanent replacement for Colin Dennis, who stepped down from the Milton Keynes-based housing association in December.

bpha appoints new CEO

bpha has appointed former One Housing CEO Richard Hill as its next chief executive officer.

Mr Hill will join the housing association in May 2023 following current CEO Kevin Bolt’s retirement.

Prior to his role at One Housing, which he held for over five years, Hill was CEO at Spectrum Housing and has held senior leadership roles at the Homes and Communities Agency and the Housing Corporation.

Richard is also the non-executive Chair of drugs and alcohol rehabilitation charity, Phoenix Futures, and is currently the Vice Chair of the G15 group of housing associations.

Paul Leinster, bpha Chair, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Richard to bpha. He brings extensive knowledge of the sector and is ideally placed to build on the excellent nine-year tenure of our retiring CEO, Kevin Bolt, in leading a successful organisation that is proud to be driven by its social purpose.

“Richard shares the desire of the bpha team to provide excellent, value for money services for our customers, and maintain and develop affordable, energy efficient, sustainable housing into the future.”

Mr Hill said: “I am excited and feel privileged to lead bpha, an excellent organisation that is clearly driven by its core values and social mission. I very much look forward to building on the very firm foundations left by Kevin, and working with customers, the bpha team and our partners, to embrace the opportunities and meet the challenges for bpha and our sector over the next few years.”

bpha is a housing association located in the Oxford to Cambridge arc and owns or manages over 19,500 homes.