NHC’s new Board members


The NHC were delighted to welcome five new Directors to our Board this autumn, and to have welcomed Barbara Spicer CBE as a co-opted Director in the summer.

The Board meets on a quarterly basis to manage and to set the strategic direction of the organisation. It ensures that policies and procedures are in place to meet core values and objectives and protect the organisational assets. Membership of the Board comprises six to twelve Directors including the Chair and one Vice Chair and up to three Co-Opted Directors, each of whom may sit for a maximum term of six years.

New Directors are appointed from Full member organisations, nominations are reviewed against a skills matrix of existing Directors to ensure that they are suitable to fill any vacancies as well as fully reflecting the sectoral geographical diversity of our membership, and across equality measures.

The NHC always looks for a diverse set of skills among the Directors to ensure a high level of experience in helping to lead the organisation forward as dynamic, agile and robust for the future. The organisation has recently welcomed six Board members with a wealth of experience in finance, housing management, governance, transformation, IT, growth and much more.


Yvonne Castle, Chief Executive, Johnnie Johnson Housing

Yvonne has significant executive experience working in social housing, the private, charity and local authority sectors for many years.

An accountant by profession, her trained ‘lean’ systems thinking and project manager experience sits alongside her love of all things ‘people’ – coaching and mentoring, delivering leadership and management development programmes, motivating and encouraging others to succeed.

Yvonne joined Johnnie Johnson Housing in July 2015 to lead the organisation’s change programme, becoming Chief Executive in 2017. She is also a Board and Audit and Risk Committee Member of a specialist provider of accommodation across Bradford, Calderdale and North Yorkshire.


Simon Costigan, Chief Officer Property and Contracts, Leeds City Council

Simon has worked for Leeds City Council since leaving school and has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience during his 38-year career in housing. Over his extensive career in housing he has been involved in the development of two Estate Management Boards, three individual housing PFI schemes, and recently spent 10 years working for one of the Leeds ALMO’s where he undertook the role of Chief Executive.

Since moving back into the Council five years ago Simon took up his current role and currently manages the City’s Capital Programme, manages the responsive repairs service to the City’s social housing stock of over 55,000 properties and also manages the Internal Service Provider with an annual turnover of £65m.

Simon’s passion is working with communities to improve service outcomes and to make a real difference to the quality of life for residents living in local communities across the City.


Liz Haworth, Group Director, Torus

Liz has worked as a senior leader within the housing sector for 16 years and currently leads on service delivery and transformation for Torus, a large North West housing provider based in Warrington and St Helens. Her previous experience is with local government and the financial services sector.

Liz’s specialisms include: housing management, social investment, neighbourhood management, services for older people and supported housing, development of digital, data and IT strategies, transformation and delivery of efficiency targets, merger and integration.

She is particularly passionate about creating an organisation that is fit for the future, both in the way that it provides services to tenants, and the way it creates a working environment that is engaging and energising for employees.

Liz has served on a supported housing provider board and more recently as a Board Member of St Helens Chamber.


Ian Wardle, Chief Executive, Thirteen Group


Ian has provided leadership and direction for a range of complex services, projects and initiatives including working for two local authorities, a large multi-national PLC housebuilder, an arms-length public-private regeneration agency and currently he leads North East based housing association Thirteen Group.

Ian started his career in the North East as a graduate trainee at George Wimpey (now Taylor Wimpey) in Middlesbrough, moving onto the Sunniside Partnership in Sunderland and Director of Regeneration at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

In April 2018 he took over as the secretary for Homes for the North which is an alliance of almost 20 large housing associations who want to deliver more homes across the North of England.

He cares passionately about the quality of life housing can provide. The delivery of high-quality homes and services has been the foundation of his working life and a key feature throughout his career over the last 20 years.


Lee Sugden, Chief Executive, Salix Homes

A qualified accountant, Lee has worked in housing for over 25 years in a variety of senior roles developing new and innovative solutions to housing problems. He is currently the Chief Executive of North West based housing provider Salix Homes after joining in 2014 to lead the organisation following the transfer of homes from Salford City Council, shaping the business to ensure it plays a full role in the transformation of the City of Salford.

He has played a Non-Executive role for a variety of other organisations including housing providers, local authorities and a further education college.


Barbara Spicer CBE, Chief Executive, Plus Dane

Barbara Spicer CBE is Chief Executive of Plus Dane – a housing association working across Merseyside and Cheshire with 13,500 homes.

Barbara worked for 20 years in local government, eight years of which were spent as Chief Executive of Salford City Council where she led key developments in the city, including the bid to relocate the BBC to Salford Quays at MediaCity UK, creating a development of international significance.

Passionate about the skills agenda, Barbara spent time in Westminster as interim Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency. She currently holds the position of Mayoral Advisor for Social Housing Growth at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and sits on the UK Capital of Culture Panel.

Her strong belief is that there are two things that are vitally important to the wellbeing of any individual: a real job with prospects and a decent home; Barbara has spent the vast majority of her career focused on trying to deliver those things for, and with, people who sometimes find it hard to deliver them for themselves, and using those two levers successfully to create sustainable communities.