Consultation on governance changes
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Consultation on changes to Teign Housing’s governance arrangements

All tenants of Teign Housing were sent a letter during the week of 29th June to inform them that the Board is proposing changes to Teign Housing’s governance arrangements later in 2015 and to seek their views on these proposals. Deadline - 10th August 2015.

Why make changes to our governance structure?
Teign Housing is managed by a Board which has legal responsibilities and must make sure that we deliver services to our customers properly and manage our money effectively. The Board must have strong control of the organisation, plan for the future and manage the risks all businesses face.

In 2014 the Board invited a well-respected consultancy to review its structure and performance. They recommended that “it is time for a refresh of the governance arrangements to ensure that they remain effective and fit-for-purpose”. They suggested we review the number of Board members and types of skills required on the Board.

In the past few years, Teign Housing has experienced a challenging business environment with changes in the national economy, the benefit system, in government and in social housing regulation. Our regulator, the Homes and Communities Agency, expects Boards to focus on strategy, risk and finance, and we need to ensure that our Board has the right skills and experience in these areas.

We have taken legal advice and looked at what other housing associations do. More and more are recruiting Board members based solely on their skills, experience and knowledge. This is what we are proposing now and would help us to make sure that the Board is as effective as it can be.

What changes are Teign Housing proposing?
The key changes we are proposing to make are;

1. Board size
The current Board has spaces for 12 Board members but the Board feels it would perform best with up to 10 members. We believe that this would lead to more focussed and effective meetings and decision-making.

2. Board appointments
Currently our Board members are elected by our company members (the people who make key constitutional decisions about how the company is run), at each Annual General Meeting. We are proposing that, in future, new Board members would be appointed by the existing Board, and would serve for a fixed term, which would ordinarily be three years and up to a maximum of nine years. All Board members would be recruited for their skills, knowledge and experience, within an agreed Board recruitment policy. We believe that these changes would ensure that our Board continues to be effective in managing our organisation.

3. Board composition
Our current Board has places for four tenant members and eight independent members. We are proposing that in future there would be only one category of independent Board member, rather than having designated places for tenant Board members, although this would not stop tenants from applying to become Board members.

The new Board of Teign Housing would be made up of up to 7 non-executive Board members (meaning they are not staff), some of whom could be tenants, and the Executive Team of three (Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Services).

The Board is already increasing tenant involvement in the management of Teign Housing by working with the Scrutiny Panel to create a new “Service Board” of tenants to monitor and challenge our policies and performance.

We believe that these changes would help us make decisions as a team and allow us to focus primarily on having Board members with the right skills and experience to manage a large and complex organisation.

4. Company membership
Currently our company membership is divided into three categories, each of which has roughly one third of the votes at Annual and Extraordinary General Meetings.

Teignbridge District Council is one of the members, and has one third of the votes. The other two categories are tenant members, and independent members (meaning those other than the Council, and who are not tenants).

We are proposing that, in future, there would be only two categories of member – the Council, having 33% of votes, and all other members (some of whom could be tenants), who would together have 67% of votes.

What next?
Tenants are being given the opportunity to consider the changes the Board wants to make before a final decision is made, and to let us know what they think.

If you have any questions about this consultation please contact Lisa Maunder, Corporate Services Lead (part time: Tuesday, Thursday & Friday) on 01626 322714 or e-mail lisa.maunder@teignhousing.co.uk