Suzy Brain England

Suzy Brain England C Dir, OBE

Chair of Derwent Living. An experienced board chair, non-executive director, consultant, mentor and counsellor. Received an OBE in 2009 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for public service with the Department for Work and Pensions and was named Non-Executive Director of the Year in Yorkshire. Currently Suzy is:

  • Non-executive Director Barnsley NHS Foundation Trust Hospital
  • Mentor, counsellor and founder of Cloud Talking
  • Chair, Sheffield Business Improvement District
  • Trustee/Chair designate, Keep Britain Tidy
  • Lay Chair, Yorkshire Deanery doctor training & recruitment
  • Lay Member, Disciplinary Panel British Computer Society
  • Consultant in governance and board development


Peter McCormack

Peter McCormack

Peter joined Derwent Living as Chief Executive in March 2008. As well as being on the Board his role is to work closely with the Executive team to provide overall strategic direction for the Group and to oversee the performance of the organisation in all its facets.

Margaret Gildea

Margaret Gildea MA (Cantab), MBA, OBE

An HR and change management consultant with over 20 years’ experience of change management, organisation development, restructuring, talent management and learning and development at senior management and director level at Rolls-Royce, and non-executive directorships in the health service and skills sector. Serves on the Derwent Living Board.

Richard Hopkin

Richard Hopkin MA (Cantab), FCA

A chartered accountant with 20 years’ commercial experience as finance director/company secretary, following 11 years in the accounting profession with a major international firm. Particular areas of expertise include cost reduction programmes, working capital management, fund raising, growth strategies, acquisitions and disposals, financial controls and risk management. Richard is a non-executive director of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and treasurer of Community Foundation for Calderdale.

Recently also provided consultancy services to several organisations in the voluntary sector. Serves on the Derwent Living Board and Audit and Risk Committee and chairs Governance & Remuneration Committee and the combined Centro Place Investments/Derwent FM Board, the Derwent Living commercial business.

Maureen Neal

Maureen Neal

A senior academic and Emeritus Professor, with 20 years in the university sector, with experience in the oversight of estates. Knowledge of the customer experience (students), strategy development, stakeholder relationships, which can be directly applied to the voluntary housing sector. Board member and ex-chair of the board of Derby Citizens Advice and Law Centre (2011). Serves on the Derwent Living Board.

Role of the board

Derwent Living is governed by a Board comprising members with relevant knowledge and skills, all of whom have an interest in housing and in particular the provision of housing for those in need.

Derwent Living conducts its business through its Board which is legally responsible for the affairs of the company.

The Board and its committees meet regularly to approve matters of policy and take key decisions regarding our activities and finances.

The Board agrees rolling three year strategic plans supported annually by a budget and operating plan. These have clear Key Performance indicators, financial and other measures against which the Board and it’s committees evaluate business performance.

Each year the Board off-site review (‘Away Day’) looks back over the year to see whether performance remained as planned. The new plan is then agreed and performance measures established for the forthcoming year.

The Chair of the Board annually meets Board members individually to discuss their contribution and behaviour at Board and committee meetings. The conversation (appraisal) looks at how they represent the organisation to other stakeholders (as an Ambassador) and how they stay up to date with housing matters and the macro economic, political and regulatory issues (their continuing professional development). Individuals objectives and training needs are agreed. The work of the committees and subsidiaries is evaluated with Committee and Subsidiary Board Chairs at these appraisals.

All Board members agree to aim to attend centrally-organised workshops and training. Some committees may receive specific support, for example Audit and Risk committee may take the advice of auditors. Individual Board members will attend external conferences or seminars to meet their particular interests and development needs.

Key documents

Board Structure

Code of conduct and ethical standards
Board structure

Board and committee terms of reference

Board Terms of Reference
Audit and Risk Committee Terms of Reference
Treasury Committee Terms of Reference
Governance and Remumeration Committee Terms of Reference

Role profiles of the chair and board members

Chairman role profile and spec
Board member role profile and specification
Sample Derwent Living Board contract (27/06/16)
Board/committee customer recruitment policy
Recuitment and Selection to board of management policy

Find a home Report a repair Pay your rent MY Derwent Living