11 Nov 2013

Residents lead decision making at Boards away day

GreenSquare held a Boards away day recently, to bring together its five boards to discuss the strategic direction of the business.

The company’s boards, which include three resident-led Communities Boards, met at Alexandra House in Wroughton on Friday, 8 November to review new approaches for the Group to take moving forwards and to allocate budget for the coming year.

Ann Cornelius, Executive Director (Customers and Communities) at GreenSquare, said: “We have a well-developed and longstanding commitment to involving residents and are keen to place them at the heart of the Group’s decision making.

“With more than half of the seats on the boards being filled by GreenSquare residents, this event helped us to get a steer on what our residents really think about our homes and service delivery, and enabled us to set local priorities.”

Each of the three Communities Boards is made up of five residents, five independents, the Head of Neighbourhood for that area, and a member of the GreenSquare Board. Their role is to drive improvements to the style, range, and quality of GreenSquare homes and neighbourhoods, and support and enable the opportunities for personal and community development for local residents.

Ann continued: “We set up the Communities Boards in March 2012 following a full review of our governance structure, which highlighted an exciting opportunity for us to increase the number of residents on our boards. To support residents to fulfil their roles on the new boards, we also set up the GreenSquare Academy, to give residents the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to play an active and effective role as a board member.

“Now 18 months on, the Boards are fully established, and this event marked the first meeting where the members made decisions completely on their own and managed their own budgets – it is their decision to choose what GreenSquare spends money on in their communities.

“It is vital for housing groups to give residents the opportunity to not only influence strategic decisions but to empower them to make the decisions themselves, to ensure the vision, mission and values of the organisation stays true to the needs of its residents.”

Simon Isted, Chair of the Isis Communities Board and GreenSquare resident, commented: “I joined the Communities Board to make a difference. It is very easy to sit back and let others do the hard work but I wanted to do something about it. By being a member of the board, I can help to improve the services that are delivered to other residents and ensure that we get the money to where it is most needed in the community.”

Louise Pettinger, Deputy Chair of the Avon Communities Board and GreenSquare resident added: “I would really recommend that people consider putting themselves forward for a spot on the Communities Boards. I have learnt so much during my time on the board and I recently completed an NVQ in Governance through the GreenSquare Academy, which has not only helped me to have a better understanding of my role as a board member but looks fantastic on my CV!”

The Communities Boards are currently looking for new members. If you would like to be involved or to find out more, please contact Alice Pearce on alice.pearce@greensquaregroup.com