News: CfPS welcomes appointment of new independent customer scrutiny board by Mears

Posted on February 10, 2020 by Jenny Manchester.

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 6.2.20

Centre for Public Scrutiny welcomes appointment of new independent customer scrutiny board by Mears

The Centre of Public Scrutiny has welcomed the announcement from housing and care company Mears today that it is launching an independent customer scrutiny board. 

The national centre of expertise in governance and scrutiny has supported Mears in developing, recruiting to and now running the board, which will have the right to question its PLC Board and senior managers. The board, one part of a new resident engagement model, will also have the right to roam across Mears, will sit equally alongside the PLC Board and will have the power to publish independent public reports about Mears.

Alongside the nine resident representatives, the board will be chaired by housing expert Terrie Alafat. Ms Alafat was previously Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute for Housing and the former Director of Housing at the Department of Communities and Local Government where she was responsible for national housing polices including affordable housing, homelessness and supported housing.  Resident board members were appointed independently following a recruitment process supported by Tpas – The tenant engagement experts.

 Jacqui McKinlay, Chief Executive of the Centre for Public Scrutiny said:

“The CfPS has its background in local government scrutiny but in recent years there has been a growing demand from the private sector to put in more robust and independent scrutiny arrangements. There has been a shift in the private sector, particularly those responsible for the delivery of public services, to proactively respond to deep concerns about how they operate transparently and demonstrate they are open to scrutiny.”

Terrie Alafat, Chair of the Mears Scrutiny Board commented:

“Building better relations between landlords, service providers and residents is key to ensuring we deliver service improvements. I am therefore delighted to see Mears lead the way from a private sector perspective and am pleased to take on this unique role reporting directly to the PLC Board. We have a great team of customers on the Board and we will work hard to hold Mears to account. This is an approach I believe will deliver real benefits to all customers”.

Mears Group Director of Marketing Communications & Customer Success Gary Jackson commented:

“We decided that in the wake of the collapse of service providers and the lack of trust placed in the resident engagement practices of the housing sector we needed to lead from the front. I am delighted we have been able to attract someone of the calibre of Terrie Alafat to take on the role of the independent chair and the excellent calibre of Mears customers. I am confident they will be thorough in their scrutiny of Mears’ activities

“We know that change is coming from Government but rather than wait we wanted Mears to develop an industry leading standard of resident engagement and scrutiny and so we’ve taken the most total approach – we’ve decided to open ourselves up to the most definitive and complete scrutiny by our own residents.”

Notes to editors

For more information please contact Jenny Manchester at Centre for Public Scrutiny jenny.manchester@cfps.org.uk or Dan Garfield on Daniel.garfield@mearsgroup.co.uk; 07825745625

About Mears

About Mears Group is a market leading housing and care company that provides bespoke services to our clients. We provide and manage 11,000 homes for local and central Government and are also responsible for keeping 750,000 of all social housing in the UK in good repair. Mears has 6,500 employees and a footprint across the country.

About the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS)

CfPS is the national centre of expertise on governance and scrutiny. We passionately believe that better governance and scrutiny leads to more effective decision-making, reduced risk and ultimately improved outcomes. Our work spans corporate decisions impacting on the public, to how tax payers’ money is spent. We focus on behaviours and culture, as well as design and delivery. Our work championing governance and scrutiny in public, private and voluntary sector organisations is for everyone’s benefit. The challenges facing businesses and organisations now and in the future, require collaborative approaches.