Bank holiday closure

Due to the bank holiday, Derwent Living's head office will close at 4.30pm Friday 26th May 2017 and will re-open at 9am Tuesday 30th May 2017. You can make a payment on the website, using the app or on MY Derwent Living. To report an emergency repair during this time please call 0116 257 6727.


Suzy Brain England

Suzy Brain England C Dir, OBE

Chair of Derwent Housing Association. 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.

Suzy also serves on the board of Derwent Community Housing, a charitable subsidiary of Derwent Housing Association. Also a member of both the Treasury Committee, and Governance and Remunerations Committee.

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. This includes at senior management and director level at Rolls-Royce, and non-executive directorships in the health service and skills sector. Serves on the Derwent Housing Association Board and is chair of Governance and Remuneration Committee.

Richard Hopkin

Richard Hopkin MA (Cantab), FCA

A chartered accountant with 20 years’ commercial experience as finance director and 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 Housing Association Board, Audit and Risk Committee and chairs the Governance & Remuneration Committee and the combined Centro Place Investments/Derwent FM Board (the Derwent Living commercial arm).

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.


Chris Phillips

Chris Phillips

Chris was Managing Director of PB Securities, the UK subsidiary of Prudential Bache, for three years, before joining Lombard Odier as the Managing Director of its London broking business. He then joined Colliers International and after heading its residential consultancy business, became the first Managing Director of Colliers Capital (UK).

Chris has chaired a number of companies listed in the UK and Germany, and is currently non-executive Chairman of Hadleigh Waymoth, an independent advisory and fund management business, and London & Newcastle, a leading London-based mixed-use property development company.

Chris joined the Places for People Group Board in 2006 and was a senior independent director from 2008. He became Chairman in 2010.

David Cowans

David Cowans

David has over 30 years’ experience of housing, urban regeneration, mixed tenure and mixed use development, property and financial management, having led strategic change in both large and small organisations.

He has an MBA from Birmingham University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Chartered Member of the Institute of Housing, a Member of The Institute of Residential Property Management, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is Visiting Fellow of Cambridge University.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Chris is a solicitor with over 25 years’ experience of legal practice and joined Places for People in 2008.

Previously, he worked in private practice for 10 years, in a City law firm and as a partner in a US legal practice, and then in general counsel roles in UK and international businesses, in a number of different industry sectors.

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

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