2021 Judges

The 2021 Judging panel

Alun Hughes

Mandy Elliott

Andrew van Doorn

Caroline Gitsham

Tracy Harrison

Julie Marsh

Chris Seeley

Helen McHale

Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey

Phil Morgan

Adam Brannen

Charlotte Carpenter

Ciarán Tully

Ian Wright

Mike Brogan

Nick Atkin

Robin Lawler

Ian Wardle

Lucy Lovatt

Alun Hughes

Chartered Surveyor

Alun Hughes is a Chartered Surveyor, whose working career has been spent in passionate support of the wider social housing movement both in terms of quality and development.

Having spent five years at Liverpool City Architect’s Department, directly engaged in the refurbishment of its housing stock, he them spent a further five years in the Merseyside Regional Office of the Housing Corporation (forerunner of Homes England) as a technical consultant and auditor.

After spending time at Riverside Housing he then became the Chief Executive of Wirral Methodist Housing Association, from which he has recently retired after 30 years. During his time there, he more than doubled the size of its housing stock, winning many awards and accolades for his work in terms of innovation, design and imagination along the way.

He is most proud of leading the regeneration of The Hamilton Quarter of Birkenhead and developing schemes of Shared Ownership for people with Long-term Disability.

Mandy Elliott

Chief Executive, Crosby Housing Association

Last year Mandy celebrated 40 years working in the Social Housing sector.

Her career started working for CDS in Liverpool and then to Greater Hornby Housing Association before taking up a role with the Housing Corporation in 1998. Here she developed a wealth of experience in a variety of roles starting in finance and moving forward as programme manager, investment manager and regulation manager. She has a good understanding of the issues faced by the sector and of smaller housing associations in particular.

Mandy has been Chief Executive at Crosby Housing Association since 2005. She believes passionately in the work of community based housing associations and she is an active member of the Community Housing Association North West (CHANW) group. Until Sep 2018 Mandy was chair of the NHF Smaller Associations National Group.

She is involved in wider community activity – chair of Waterloo Town Team, a member of: Crosby and Waterloo Coastal Communities Team, New Realities team led by Sefton CVS and Sefton Coastal landscape Resources Group led by Sefton Council

Andrew van Doorn

Chief Executive of HACT

HACT is a UK innovation charity, social enterprise and industry-focused think/do tank established by the housing association sector. It seeks to influence and innovate in ways that help all housing providers deliver more effectively within their communities.

This includes their pioneering work on Data Standards, Community Insight and Social Value, helping housing associations to demonstrate their social impact and value for money and be fit for a digital future.

Andrew has worked for HACT for 16 years and in housing, homelessness, supported housing, community development and wider social policy and practice for 28 years.

He is a Non-Executive Director at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

Caroline Gitsham

Business Consultant

Caroline has over 30 years experience working in the Public Sector, including 15 years working at an Executive Level. She is passionate about customer service and making a difference and she has worked with a variety of partners across her career including working in an advisory capacity to the government and other bodies. She has managed a range of complex services and a number of new and innovative service offers have been developed under her leadership, many of which are award winning with tangible outcomes.

She has experience of managing significant resources in challenging environments across a range of agendas. She has also led on a number of significant key corporate agendas.

Her previous employer describes her as ‘a consistent top quartile performer, demonstrating passionate, energised leadership, a role model for others and a force for positive change. She brings a different dynamic, challenges the norm and encourages a greater focus on cultural and values alignment, outcomes monitoring and social impact. Her strengths are many, she has an extraordinary belief in people and their ability to achieve their potential. A supportive leader, well networked who enjoys challenges and variety’.

Caroline is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and in 2014 she was awarded an MBE for services to business in the North East of England.

In 2016 after being made redundant she set up Caroline L Gitsham Consulting Ltd. It exists to encourage, challenge and inspire people and organisations to enhance their contribution for customers, communities and society.

In March 2018 she became Chair of Women In Social Housing (North East) and was awarded Outstanding Business Leader of the Year at The Chronicle Sunshine Awards in 2020.

In April 2017 she joined South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group as a Lay Member and became Chair in July 2019.

She has a number of other voluntary positions including:

  • Governor for The Links School in Sunderland (PRU) and the Link Governor for Careers Information & Guidance.
  • Trustee on the Board of Humankind and member of the Innovation Sub Committee.
  • Ambassador for Signal (Poverty StopLight) which aims to eradicate poverty.

Tracy Harrison

Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC)

Tracy Harrison is Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), a membership organisation for social housing providers. Prior to joining the NHC in 2006, Tracy held a variety of senior posts in blue-chip private sector organisations, including Fast Moving Consumer Goods giant, Robert McBride, and Sage Software. With the housing sectors’ ever-increasing focus on driving efficiencies, Tracy has been instrumental in ensuring that NHC offers its members products & services which support them with achieving this aim & developing solutions which can help improve the service they offer to their customers. Tracy has also helped to develop NHC’s influencing activities, particularly around placemaking and addressing quality and net zero issues within the North’s housing stock.

Tracy is also a Trustee of Age UK North Tyneside.

Prior to joining the NHC in 2006, Tracy held a variety of senior marketing and business development posts in blue chip private sector organisations, including Fast Moving Consumer Goods giant, Robert McBride, and Sage Software.

With the housing sectors’ ever-increasing focus on driving efficiencies, Tracy has been instrumental in ensuring that NHC offers its members products and services which support them with achieving this aim, and developing solutions which can help improve the service they offer to their customers. Tracy has also helped to develop NHC’s influencing activities, particularly around placemaking and addressing quality issues within the North’s housing stock.

Tracy is also an Independent Board Director of The Gateshead Housing Company and a Trustee of Age UK North Tyneside.

Julie Marsh

Executive Director of Neighbourhood Management, South Liverpool Homes

Julie has over 36 years’ experience of working within the housing sector . Julies career started at Liverpool City Council before joining South Liverpool Homes in 1999. In her current position as Executive Director of Neighbourhood Management  Julie oversees Neighbourhood Management ,Community Safety, Income Management and allocation of homes.

Julie is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) having completed her term of office as chair of the North West CIH Board, she remains an active member of the board.

Chris Seeley

Director of ARK Consultancy Ltd

Chris has a strong track record in sourcing, delivering and selling homes; strategic asset management; project and programme management; and in mentoring individuals and supporting teams to maximise their success.

He is passionate about working with people and about the importance of building strong relationships with delivery teams, residents and stakeholders.

Chris has undertaken a wide variety of interim and project management roles across development-site sourcing, business development and project management as well as procurement and research projects.  Chris is an enthusiastic hockey player and walker.

Helen McHale

Chief Executive, Stockport Homes

Helen is the Chief Executive of Stockport Homes Group and Vice Chair of the Greater Manchester Housing Providers Forum.  She has worked in housing for 34 years across a range of North West local authorities before moving to Stockport 18 years ago.  She set up the ALMO, taking the housing service from zero to three stars.

SHG has almost tripled in size during this period, becoming a Group Structure with a development, trading and charitable arm and consistently recognised as a Best Practice Employer, being awarded IIP Platinum and the third Best Place to Work for not for profit organisations, in the country during 2019.

SHG has won numerous awards and accreditations.  Helen herself has been in the Top 50 Power Players in housing for four of the last five years, Inside Housing Who’s Who of Development twice and won the Most People Focused Chief Executive of the Year (HR Magazine) in 2019.

Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey

Chief Operating Officer at West Lancashire Borough Council

Jacqui currently heads up the Council, having previously had over 30 years’ experience in the housing sector.

Jacqui is ambitious about developing communities and believes in putting customers at the heart of everything. She is passionate about inclusiveness, authentic leadership and building strong sustainable relationships.

Jacqui has worked in a variety of executive leadership positions across the housing sector throughout her career and now leads the Council during a period of rapid change and transformation.

Jacqui has a strong reputation in strategy and influencing, development, regeneration, asset management, strategy, housing advice, homelessness and community development.  She has a track record of driving transformational change and positive improvement and is dedicated to creating great customer service and maximising untapped potential.

Jacqui also has significant governance experience as a Chair, Board Director and Trustee in a range of businesses, including RP`s, private sector, social enterprises, partnerships and voluntary organisations.

She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing, the AEA and is currently a Director on the ARCH National Executive Board.

Phil Morgan

Housing Professional

Phil has specialised in resident involvement and scrutiny for over 20 years.

He was Chief Executive of TPAS for 10 years and then Executive Director of Tenant Services at the Regulator of Social Housing. Currently he works with both Housing Associations and Councils.

He is also a Board Member of the Guinness Partnership chairing their Service and Performance Committee, Chair of Healthwatch Salford and on the Panel of Advisors to the Housing Ombudsman.

Phil is author of Learning from Regulatory Downgrades.

Adam Brannen

Head of Regeneration, Leeds City Council

Adam leads major spatial programmes and place partnership activities across the whole Leeds district, leading a multi-disciplinary team planning and delivering renewal and growth including the City Centre, South Bank, the Aire Valley Leeds Enterprise Zone, green infrastructure, wider housing growth activities, neighbourhood regeneration and heritage-lead renewal schemes.

As a chartered town planner and with 25 years working in regeneration, Adam has a strong track record in planning and delivering high quality, complex place changes, securing funding, working with communities and with the development industry to realise successful development initiatives at all scales.

Adam also draws on wide-ranging experience of community and partner consultation and engagement in his work on neighbourhood renewal, brownfield development, major urban extensions, Towns Fund, Levelling Up Fund, high street renewal and housing development.

Charlotte Carpenter

Executive Director of Growth and Business Development at Karbon Homes

Charlotte is Executive Director of Growth and Business Development at Karbon Homes, a leading social landlord which operates in the North East of England and Yorkshire. Charlotte is responsible for Karbon’s development programme of circa 600 new homes a year, the investment plans for Karbon’s existing 30,000 properties, and leads the strategy, planning and communication teams.

She has a passion for housing’s role in the economic and social regeneration of the North East, borne from senior roles with One NorthEast and The Northern Way – a precursor to the Northern Powerhouse.

Charlotte is an alumnus of Cambridge and York universities and holds a PhD in Medieval History.  She is a member of the CBI North East Council, the CBI’s National Infrastructure Board, and the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Policy Advisory Committee.

Outside work Charlotte is an adventurous and prolific traveller, and an enthusiastic runner with Tyne Bridge Harriers.

Ciarán Tully

External Affairs Manager – North West, National Housing Federation

Ciarán Tully is the External Affairs Manager for the North West at the National Housing Federation, taking responsibility for engaging housing associations and stakeholders across the region.

Ciarán leads on community cohesion and engaging NHF members on devolution in Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region.

Ciarán joined the Federation from a political party, where he held various roles across the country.

Ian Wright

Chief Executive – Disruptive Innovators Network

Ian is the Founder and CEO of the Disruptive Innovators Network, a forum he established in 2018 for leaders interested in understanding and responding to how businesses are being disrupted and where real innovation is coming from. He has worked at senior executive level as a Director/Deputy Chief Executive for the last 15 years, most recently at HouseMark the social housing sectors data and business improvement organisation. His expertise lies in building cross sector business experience programmes and leaders’ networks. In his work he has developed close partnerships with the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Telefonica, AO.com and BT.

He led on the establishment of the social housing sectors first crowd funded start up accelerator, Evolve. An innovative programme involving 18 housing providers which attracted over 80 submissions from start-ups from across the world wanting to develop solutions for social housing.

He has a particular focus on business innovation, culture, new technologies and improving the customer experience. He has Directorships with Disruption Hub, a 20,000 strong community of innovators and boutique leadership consultancy, Unforgiving Minute, He is an innovation advisor for LMarks a start-up investment accelerator. From a social impact perspective, he also supports Social Enterprise UK. He is currently retained by a number of the largest Housing providers helping them build capacity and capability in the innovation space to take advantage of the opportunities that disruption is bringing.

Mike Brogan

Chief Executive – Procure Plus

Mike began his career with a national financial services provider, working at a senior level in sales and operations management, but 25 years ago he decided to give something back to the community and began working with Grosvenor Housing Association, helping the organisation to build social enterprises. It was one of these ventures which became the seminal project for what is now Procure Plus Limited.

After eight years, Procure Plus is now recognised as the market leader in its field, setting the standard for socially responsible organisations of its kind. Mike’s professional experiences during the past 20 years with Procure Plus – focusing on socio and economic regeneration – has led to his working with Cabinet Office, Homes and Communities Agency and HM Treasury as an advisor and member of several task forces in this field. He can advise on best practice for collaborative working in the social housing sector with a particular emphasis on how to make the money invested work harder.

Nick Atkin

Chief Executive – Yorkshire Housing

Despite originally being from Yorkshire, Nick is a Warrington resident who has made the town his home for the last 23 years. After 14 years as the CE at Halton Housing he joined Yorkshire Housing in 2019. He has a track record of leading organisations through transformational change, driving performance improvement, with a focus on maximising the untapped potential from businesses and people.

He has driven the transformational change of Yorkshire Housing (YH) to enable it to be best placed to meet the future opportunities and challenges.

The business manages 20,000 homes across the entire Yorkshire geography. YH plans to build an additional 8,000 homes through an investment totalling £1.67bn. Currently employing 650 people it has a £130m turnover (revenue).

Previously he has introduced a fully flexible/ remote working approach. He also led the move to 90% of customer led transactions to be delivered through online self-service channels.

He is regularly included in the top 25 most influential people in housing and is a keen advocate of innovation. He uses digital as an enabler to drive fundamental change in how businesses operate. He is also a disruptor in the ‘future of work’ debate and has been paperless for 18 years.

He writes regularly for Inside Housing and HR Magazine as one of their columnists and tweets on a regular basis (@nickatkin_yh).

Robin Lawler

Industry Consultant and Non-Executive Director

Robin has over 30 year’s experience in social housing.

He holds a number of NED roles including Chair of Derive RP in Salford; Chair of Kirklees Council’s Homes and Neighbourhood Improvement Board and shortly to become Chair of Trustees of the Booth Centre- a homeless day centre in Manchester.

Robin is a Past President of the Chartered Institute of Housing and the founder Chief Executive of Northwards Housing.

Robin lives in Manchester, but has not forgotten his roots – he has held a season ticket at Anfield for 30 years enjoying good times and not so good.

Ian Wardle

Group Chief Executive, Thirteen Housing Group

Ian joined Thirteen as our Chief Executive in 2016. The first ten years of his career were spent in the private sector and the last ten years in local government. Ian started his career in Middlesbrough as a graduate trainee at George Wimpey (now Taylor Wimpey) later becoming a land negotiator, land manager and development director. He was then a project director for the Sunniside Regeneration Project in Sunderland.

Moving into local government, he joined Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, as Head of Regeneration Services, later becoming Director of Regeneration Services with responsibility for a range of front-line and corporate services, as well as the delivery of large capital regeneration projects.

Before joining Thirteen, Ian was Managing Director of Reading Borough Council with responsibility for delivering hundreds of services across the town, while making substantial savings and managing 2,500 colleagues with a turnover of £480m per year.

Ian is responsible for leading Thirteen, overseeing the implementation of board decisions, progress towards meeting corporate objectives and ensuring the business continues to move in the right direction.

Ian has held a number of non-executive and trustee roles for a housing association, university, community interest company, a charity and a school. Ian is currently a board member for the Northern Housing Consortium.

Lucy Lovatt

Head – Markets, Partners and Places, Homes England

Lucy has been with Homes England for about five years working across both strategic and delivery roles.

She has over 20 years of experience in housing and regeneration, primarily in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

Through her career she has undertaken strategy development, housing delivery and regeneration activity, giving her insight into the complex relationships behind the big picture and the detail required for successful project and programme delivery.

Her current role focusses on the development of Homes England’s national place-based delivery approach. She is also a qualified career coach and provides ongoing career coaching support.

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