Non-executive board member information pack

Published , updated

Information for those interested in joining Derwent Living's Board. 

About Derwent Living, part of the Places for People Group

Derwent Living is a ‘profit for social purpose’ organisation providing affordable housing to suit a range of lifestyles. Formed in 1964, Derwent Housing Association (trading as Derwent Living) manages more than 25,000 properties across the UK. As well as homes to rent for people on lower incomes, Derwent Living offers properties for retired people, homes for sale through part-buy, part-rent schemes, residential lettings and key-worker accommodation.

Derwent Living’s primary focus is providing good, affordable housing and improving services for residents through greater resident engagement and involvement.

Derwent Living's mission is to be an excellent provider of affordable housing in the Midlands – a private body with a social purpose – and operates in 40 local authority areas across the East Midlands, Buckinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

In recent years the business has expanded to include facilities management subsidiary Derwent FM. Its operation spans the country and operates across a number of sectors, including student accommodation, central and local government, private sector and health and education. Derwent Living, together with Derwent FM, own and manage almost 20,000 student bed spaces from Glasgow to Bournemouth.

Since December 2016, Derwent Living has been part of the Places for People Group.

More information about Derwent Living can be found in the about us section of this site.

About Places for People (the “Group”)

The Group is a large-scale placemaker with the expertise and capability to create and manage entire places – from development and construction to multi-tenure property management. It continues to play a role in addressing the nation’s housing shortage, but its focus on place goes further than just homes.

The quality of place is integral to the Group’s approach and its aim is to build neighbourhoods where people want to live and communities can thrive. It achieves this by continuing to strengthen its presence in core markets and growing its expertise in newer markets, such as student housing.

Strong performance in the affordable housing and property management businesses and the progress it has made in new markets enables the Group to deliver positive outcomes for its customers, investors and stakeholders. Today, the Group is delivering some of the most significant placemaking and regeneration projects in the UK. Further details of just some of those projects can be found at https://www.placesforpeople.co.uk/placemaking/

Through its portfolio of more than 20 complementary businesses, the Group operates across a number of property sectors throughout the UK. It now manages over 198,000 homes of different tenures, offering a place for everyone. In addition, it operates over 120 leisure facilities nationally and works with more than 380 local authorities to support the delivery of a range of services locally. The Group’s latest annual report can be found at https://www.placesforpeople.co.uk/about-us/publications/

The Roles

The Derwent Living Board is responsible for steering business affairs with an accountability to the Group Board.

Relationships within the Group are managed through the presence of both a Group executive and a non-executive board member on the Derwent Living Board.

To complement its current board membership, Derwent Living is looking for three SPIRITed people who will share our values and our vision, one of whom will be appointed as Chair of the Board and two of whom who will be appointed as board members.

For at least one post we require a board member with a financial qualification or someone who can demonstrate significant financial experience at a senior level. We also require someone with experience of the facilities management sector for one of the positions.

Our SPIRIT values are lived throughout the organisation with every member of staff, irrespective of job role or level, playing a critical role in helping the business to succeed.

Support
We recognise when and how customers and colleagues need help and support and proactively offer resources to help. We consistently operate from a position of positivity, working collaboratively, removing barriers and resolving issues. We listen to and address our colleagues and customers concerns, making time to talk to customers.

Positive
We focus on what we ‘can do’ for customers and colleagues, identifying options, alternatives and solutions. We express expectations positively and encourage both colleagues and customers to achieve. We celebrate and publicise our achievements and successes. We are optimistic, enthusiastic and helpful.

Integrity
We deliver on our promises and ensure actions are in line with our words. We are open and honest about the reality of situations, providing information and explanation in an open and timely manner. We find appropriate opportunities to give positive feedback to colleagues and we constructively address under-performance.

Respect
We treat people equitably and fairly, valuing individual differences and contributions. We take time to understand the implications and impact of work requests on the workload of our colleagues and agree priorities.

Innovation
We are open and responsive to new ideas and are not constrained by the way things have been done in the past. We are prepared to pilot and fail to learn and progress. We have courage and insight to challenge historical approaches. We influence and lead change.

Together
We recognise value in working cross functionally and involving others. We believe more can be achieved by working effectively together. We understand the bigger picture and we place achievement of our overall goals about ourselves or departmental interests.

Core Skills & Experience

Knowledge

  • Understanding of current issues in affordable/social housing.
  • Understanding of the social, economic and/or political context in which Derwent Living operates.
  • Understanding of the regulatory and compliance framework within which the Derwent Living operates.
  • Knowledge of residents’ needs and concerns and of the wider communities served by Derwent Living.

Experience

  • Experience of working with or for not for profit, public sector, private sector and/or social enterprise bodies.
  • Experience of customer care and service delivery.
  • Experience of operating in a climate of significant change and challenge.
  • Experience of working as part of a team.

Abilities

  • Ability to make a constructive contribution to meetings through preparation and understanding.
  • Ability to understand complex issues, including financial information.
  • Ability to take an active part in collective debate and decision-making.
  • Ability to attend Board meetings, training and development events and other corporate activities which may be held in the evening and at weekends.

Skills

  • Good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Committee/meeting skills.
  • Good problem solving skills.

Personal qualities

  • Commitment to the vision and values of Derwent Living.
  • Commitment to equality and diversity in employment and service delivery.
  • High standards of personal and professional integrity.

Governance

  • Adheres to relevant financial, legal and domain regulation.
  • Ensures highest standards of probity and integrity are maintained throughout Derwent Living.
  • Demonstrates and supports renewal and succession planning for the Board.
  • Demonstrates a sound understanding of individual and collective responsibility for decision making.

Personal development

  • Carries out relevant reading and preparatory work to ensure effective participation in board and other meetings.
  • Participates in regular board development and training sessions.
  • Maintains an understanding of the wider political, environmental, social and technological environments in which Derwent Living operates.
  • Applies specialist knowledge appropriately in arrange of contexts and ensures that the knowledge base is maintained and remains current.

Representation

  • Acts as an ambassador for Derwent Living and Places for People, seeking opportunities to influence external agencies or individuals who can contribute to Derwent Living’s success.
  • Makes the most of opportunities to advance Derwent Living’s interests, promote its activities and enhance its image.
  • Effectively lobbies key people in the interests of Derwent Living.

Role Profile – Board Member

This role profile outlines the key responsibilities of a Member of the Board and also lists the performance standards by which the key tasks and responsibilities can be assessed.

Key tasks and responsibilities Performance standards
To act as an accountable member of the Board
  • That the values and objectives of Derwent Living are upheld.
  • That any relevant interests are declared.
  • That the Code of Governance is upheld.
  • That Derwent Living acts within the law at all times.
  • That the confidentiality of information is always respected.
  • That the principles of collective responsibility are adhered to.
  • That Derwent Living’s agreed policies are upheld.
To ensure that an effective contribution is made to the Board
  • That the Board works as a team of Board Members and with senior employees and that constructive working relationships with other employees are maintained and enhanced.
  • That Board Members are self-motivated to seek out information and to ask for training where they require it.
  • That adequate preparation is made for meetings by reading and assessing all relevant papers and reports.
  • That adequate preparation is made for individual appraisal, training sessions and other events.
  • That members pay particular attention to strategic and creative thinking when formulating policy.
  • That members are self-motivated to keep abreast of economic, legislative or governmental issues which may affect the activities of Derwent Living.
  • That debates are conducted in a proper, respectful manner, addressing all points and avoiding irrelevancies and the personalisation of issues.
  • That each member can adequately demonstrate expertise in one or more of the Board Member Core Skills & Experience
Management and promotion of Derwent Living
  • Derwent Living is represented in a professional manner at all times.

Role Profile – Chair of the Board

This role profile outlines the key responsibilities of the Chair of the Board and also lists the performance standards by which the key tasks and responsibilities can be assessed.

Key tasks and responsibilities Performance standards
Leadership
  • The aims and objectives of Derwent Living are set and achieved.
  • The Board works as a team of Board Members and with senior employees and that constructive working relationships with other employees are maintained and enhanced.
  • A constructive working relationship is established with, and support provided for, the Chief Executive.
  • Sufficient authority is delegated to the Chief Executive and others.
  • The principles of collective responsibility are adhered to.
  • Board meetings are conducted efficiently and professionally and to lead strategic debate.
  • The performance of Board Members is appraised.
  • The Board receives professional advice when needed.
Accountability
  • The values and objectives of Derwent Living are upheld.
  • Any relevant interests are declared.
  • The Code of Governance is upheld.
  • Derwent Living acts within the law at all times.
  • Confidentiality of information is always respected.
  • Derwent Living’s agreed policies are upheld.
  • Customer involvement is embedded and used to shape, improve and deliver services to meet their needs
Contribution of self and Board Members
  • Adequate preparation is made for meetings by reading and assessing all relevant papers and reports.
  • Self-motivated to seek out information and to ask for training where required.
  • Particular attention is paid to strategic and creative thinking when formulating policy.
  • Self-motivated to keep abreast of economic, legislative or governmental issues which may affect the activities of Derwent Living.
  • Debates are conducted in a proper, respectful manner, addressing all points and avoiding irrelevancies and the personalisation of issues.
Management and promotion of Derwent Living
  • Derwent Living is represented in a professional manner at all times.

Expressions of interest are particularly welcome from people with a personal connection to the area/geographic region we serve. To add to the skills and experience of existing members, we are especially keen to hear from people with personal experience of working in management and maintenance, finance, communities and with local authority experience.

As a non-executive board member, you will be expected to bring to the board knowledge and experience of other business organisations and independence and objectivity of judgement on matters relating to:

  • Strategy – constructively challenging and contributing to the development of the business
  • Performance – scrutinising the performance of management in meeting objectives, and monitoring the reporting of performance
  • Risk – being satisfied that financial information is accurate and that financial controls and systems of risk management are robust and defensible
  • Governance – upholding high standards of integrity and probity and helping to instil the appropriate culture, values and behaviours in the boardroom and beyond all in the context of a distinct business operating as part of the wider Group.

How to apply

Applications are particularly welcome from women, people from BME backgrounds and others whose characteristics are generally under-represented at board level.

Quarterly meetings generally take place during the months of January, April, July and October in Derby, usually during normal working hours. Additional days are set aside during the year for development and strategic discussion. 

Appointments are made on a three-year term, for a maximum period of two terms.

Board members receive a remuneration package of £4,000 per annum and the Chair receives £8,000 per annum and travelling expenses.

In the first instance, please email boardrecruitment@derwentliving.com to arrange an informal discussion.

The closing date for applications is close of business on Wednesday 9 January. 

DHA Board & Subsidiary Board Meetings – 2019

Meeting Board Meeting date Time Location
Ordinary meeting Tuesday
22 January
10.30am – 12.30pm Derby
Ordinary meeting Tuesday
23 April
10.30am – 12.30pm Derby
Ordinary meeting Tuesday
9 July
10.30am – 12.30pm Derby
Ordinary meeting Tuesday
29 Oct
10.30am – 12.30pm Derby

DHA Board Away Day: Date TBC.