People: Together Housing; UK Information Commission; Algeos; English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues; Livv Housing Group
Kevin Ruth started his new role as chief executive of Together Housing Group on January 1, 2022. He will be responsible for the effective delivery of the group’s strategic business objectives including the corporate plan 2021-2026.
Previously, Kevin was deputy chief executive of Together Housing. He has been with the group since its formation in 2011 when five housing associations covering Yorkshire and Lancashire came together to create one of England’s largest housing associations. Kevin successfully secured the role to succeed current chief executive, Steve Close, in August of last year.
Kevin Ruth said: “Together Housing has a long standing commitment to provide quality social housing across the North of England. Alongside the leadership team and our 1,400 employees, I am keen to continue our investments in homes and communities. This will provide local people with a place to call home.”
He added: “A key challenge will be mitigating the impacts of climate change, ensuring our homes are safe and well maintained and making our estates and the surrounding areas better places to live through place-making.”
Dave Procter, Together Housing Group chair, said: “Kevin brings a fresh perspective and new ideas to Together Housing. I have no doubt that he will deliver excellent services to our residents and also bring our corporate plan to life.”
Together Housing owns and manages approximately 36,000 homes in the North of England and is one of the largest providers of social housing in the area it covers.
John Edwards began his new role as UK Information Commissioner yesterday, Tuesday, January 4.
Mr Edwards, who joins the Wilmslow-based organisation on a five year term, spent the past eight years as New Zealand Privacy Commissioner, and before that worked as a barrister.
He succeeds Elizabeth Denham, whose term ended last year.
Mr Edwards said: “Privacy is a right not a privilege. In a world where our personal data can drive everything from the healthcare we receive to the job opportunities we see, we all deserve to have our data treated with respect. My role is to work with those to whom we entrust our data so they are able to respect our privacy with ease whilst still reaping the benefits of data-driven innovation. I also want to empower people to understand and influence how they want their data to be used, and to make it easy for people to access remedies if things go wrong.
“I welcome the opportunity to oversee the crucial Freedom of Information Act. Transparency that helps people understand and trust decisions made on their behalf has, perhaps, never been as relevant as across the past two years. I look forward to ensuring the law continues to be relevant in our changing world.”
Mr Edwards’ appointment comes at the start of a busy year for information rights in the UK. The ICO will be actively engaging with the Government over the proposed reforms to the Data Protection Act and introduction of the Online Safety Bill, as well as strengthening links with other digital regulators. The ICO will also continue to prioritise its work to protect children online, through the Age Appropriate Design Code, which has already prompted international tech companies to make changes to better respect children’s rights online.
Mr Edwards was educated in New Plymouth, New Zealand, and achieved a Bachelor of Laws and Masters in Public Policy at the University of Wellington.
He worked as a solicitor and barrister for more than 14 years, including time as a policy adviser to the New Zealand Prime Minister and cabinet around Freedom of Information.
From February 2014 to December 2021, he was New Zealand Privacy Commissioner. During that time he chaired the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners – now known as the Global Privacy Assembly – and was a member of the OECD’s Informal Group of Experts on Children in the Digital Environment.
Max Sheridan has been promoted from commercial director to managing director, at Liverpool medical products firm, Algeos.
It comes as the firm announced the departure of its chief executive, Jackie Fisher, who had been in post for the past five years.
Algeos said Mr Sheridan brings to the role many years of experience managing sales and marketing teams, as well as his extensive knowledge of products and markets.
He said: “I am really excited to lead Algeos and our excellent team into the next phase of our future development. Being involved in the family business since my teens means that I have worked in almost every role at Algeos, so I’m familiar with our business, our customers and our existing markets.
“I know the potential Algeos has and endeavour to help us fulfil it by ensuring we deliver an excellent experience for our existing, and future customers. We are already working on several initiatives to achieve this, such as a new website, operational improvements, as well as a new leadership and sales structure for 2022.”
He added: “The effects of COVID-19, Brexit and disruptions in supply chains have created a challenging two years. However, I am confident that we can drive the business forward together thanks to our supplier partnerships, market leading product ranges and outstanding team.
“I would also like to thank Jackie Fisher, our outgoing CEO, for putting processes and structures in place during her five years at the helm, which enables us to be a future proof, sustainable business.”
Three Cumbrian teenagers are on the road to making careers as chefs, following the completion of a bespoke apprenticeship scheme run by a Lake District hotel group.
Seventeen-year-olds Maria Cheetham from Haverigg, Jonny Marriott from Staveley, and Rebecca Atkinson from Heysham, have all graduated with flying colours from the English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues Culinary Academy. It gives them all a Production Chef NVQ Level 2 qualification, with the course delivered in partnership with Kendal College.
Having left school in 2020, all three trainees wanted to forge careers in the hospitality industry. The course has allowed them to hone chef skills while earning a wage with the hotel group.
Maria has been based at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa in Windermere, Jonny at the nearby Wild Boar Inn, and Rebecca at the art-deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe.
Under the tutelage of English Lakes Hotels’ head chef, Daniel Winstanley, the Culinary Academy offers a fully accredited apprenticeship programme for school leavers over 16 to train as commis chefs.
Daniel said: “All three students have done brilliantly, especially in the context of the pandemic and the various restrictions along the way. It’s a testament to them that their respective venue head chefs have made it very clear that they want them to continue working for them.
“Maria achieved a much deserved Distinction in one of her final exam elements. She started in pastry making and cold starters in Low Wood Bay’s extremely busy kitchen, often exceeding 500 covers a day, but she’s never been fazed.
“Rebecca’s commitment to the course has been outstanding and she has been rewarded by the team at The Midland for her hard work and commitment. When an opportunity arose to cater an external function, Rebecca jumped at the opportunity and really shone.
“Jonny’s confidence has grown, aptly demonstrated in a culinary challenge where the students work independently under exam type conditions. He’s now responsible for the Wild Boar Inn’s highly popular afternoon tea and is taking on more evening service and supervisory responsibilities.”
Prescot-based housing association Livv Housing Group has hired two new directors to oversee the delivery of customer focused services and to develop its service improvement and community investment portfolios.
Natalie Rose and Tom Wilde have taken on the roles of director of customer relationship management and the director of community and business planning, respectively.
Natalie has 20 years-plus experience in customer facing operational roles in the hospitality, travel and retail sectors.
She joins from British Land, where she was the customer experience director for Meadowhall shopping centre which attracts more than 25 million shoppers a year.
As well as leading Meadowhall’s COVID-19 response, Natalie helped to launch a service which was a ‘UK first’ for shopping centres. She opened a customer hub where customers could collect, try on and return orders from online retailers all in one place.
As the director of customer relationship management, Natalie is responsible for four key areas: Delivering great housing services to customers; the management of customer complaints; income collection; and a new focus for the business, advisory services which supports and signposts customers who need help and support.
Natalie said: “I’m excited to be joining a team which is so committed to focusing on what matters most to customers.
“Livv Housing Group’s commitment to offering tailored services that meet the needs and expectations of customers really stood out for me. Building strong relationships with customers is key in any customer service organisation and I look forward to supporting the team in delivering positive outcomes for our customers and communities.
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to join Livv to develop some brilliant services that are delivered in a way that our customers need and want.”
Tom joins Livv as the director of community and business planning where he is leading two teams that shape the direction and plans for the customer insight directorate, including neighbourhood planning, community investment, operational performance and service improvement.
He joins from Trafford Housing Trust where he was head of the North West Foundation, working with local partners to design and set up a range of new services, including a new employment and skills support service and mentoring support for care leavers in the borough.
Tom also played a lead role in the service design and delivery of Greater Manchester Homes Partnership, an award-winning partnership of more than 25 organisations, providing tailored support to in excess of 300 rough sleepers across Greater Manchester.
He said: “I was attracted to Livv Housing Group by the organisation’s clear focus on social impact and putting the customer first, which runs throughout Livv’s mission, values and corporate plan.
“This is an exciting time for Livv, following the rebrand and implementation of an increased customer-focused operating model, and for Knowsley, due to the scale of development and growth in employment opportunities currently taking place across the borough. I look forward to working closely with our partners to continue developing our service offer, ensuring that Livv continues to play a valuable role in the lives of our customers and communities.”
Amanda Newton, executive director of customer insight at Livv Housing Group, said: “Welcoming Natalie and Tom to Livv has delivered the final pieces of the jigsaw for our new customer-facing services. Over the past 18 months, we’ve redesigned our customer service delivery model to make it easier for customers to access our services and have continued to embed the views of the people who live in our homes and communities.
“Natalie and Tom bring expertise in market-leading customer service and community engagement and are a welcome addition to the team here at Livv. They bring strong and purposeful leadership that will contribute to taking our business forward alongside the wider leadership team. It’s great to see the Livv brand and all that it stands for attracting such great talent.”