Southway Housing Trust is a private registered provider of social housing operating in South Manchester. It was formed as a result of a stock transfer from Manchester City Council in 2007.
What was our role?
Southway wished to diversify its activities to, in particular, deliver an increasing market rent portfolio and expand its commercial activities. We were instructed to assist Southway to put in place a suitable corporate and governance structure that would be fit-for-purpose in delivering both its new activities, but also to reflect the latest expectations of the Homes and Communities Agency and recognised governance best practice.
How did we add value?
Following initial meetings with Southway’s executive team and external advisers, it was decided that Southway would set up a development company and a separate ‘external facing’ trading vehicle to undertake commercial activities. This new structure necessitated Southway to undertake an in-depth governance review to ensure that its Board structure was fit for purpose for a larger and more diversified structure.
Alongside implementation of the new structure, we worked with Angela Lomax, Southway’s retained governance advisor, who facilitated Southway’s move to a skills-based Board, the appointment of directors to the new subsidiary Boards and put in place a revised group committee structure. Angela’s role involved updating role profiles and terms of reference, and shaping and delivering a recruitment process initially involving existing Board members and then external candidates. We worked alongside Angela and Southway to ensure the group’s constitutions and intra-group agreements reflected this new structure. The drafting exercise required us to carefully balance stakeholder views with Southway’s objectives.
We also worked with Southway to undertake a refinancing exercise to unlock capacity to fund the new activities. Southway’s new structure took effect on 1 April 2016.
Throughout the project we worked closely with Southway and its other external advisors and attended executive team, Board and committee meetings to discuss the project and present our recommendations. Following implementation we attended Southway’s Board Away Day to discuss the new structures and meet the new Boards