Chair Recruitment

Our people

At Onward we have ambitious plans. To help make sure we achieve them we’re guided by a strong leadership team, who bring a diverse range of skills and experience to the organisation.

Board Directors

Dr Neil Goodwin CBE, Board Chair

Neil is an experienced board chair, leadership academic and a former chief executive in the NHS.

He also chairs Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Merseyside; the Cheshire-based Caring Together and Connecting Care health and care transformation boards, which will merge into a single board from January 2018; and on an interim basis for six months from November 2017, Liverpool Health Partners Limited, the city-region’s putative academic health science centre.

In the NHS, Neil’s roles have included CEO of St Mary’s Hospital, London and the Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority. For more than 10 years, he was visiting professor of leadership studies at Manchester Business School and an honorary professor at Durham University and University College London. As a leadership academic Neil consulted on strategy, leadership development, the creation of academic health science centres, and undertook confidential inquiries into board governance. He is the author of Leadership in Healthcare, the first book of its kind set in a European context.

Neil holds postgraduate degrees from London and Manchester Business Schools, and in 2007 he was appointed CBE for services to the NHS.

Bronwen Rapley, Chief Executive

Bronwen has worked in housing and regeneration for 30 years, initially as a solicitor and then in the North West’s housing sector where she delivered a number of large regeneration projects.

Prior to joining Onward, Bronwen was deputy director of investigation and enforcement at the regulator of social housing.

Under Bronwen’s leadership, Onward has simplified both management and governance to make sure that our focus is always on better service to our customers. These changes were instrumental in helping Onward gain a top governance rating in 2019.

Wyn Dignan, Senior Independent Director

Having served in a range of NHS organisations as Chair or Non-Executive Director for in excess of 20 years, Wyn brings extensive health and change experience from across North West public service networks.

She has additional experience from a former commercial career in banking and finance. 

Paul High, Non-Executive Director

Paul is a chartered surveyor with extensive property development and asset management experience, both in the commercial and housing sectors. He retired as Executive Director of the Orbit Group in 2017, having led a development programme building 1,700 new homes annually.

Paul was appointed to the Board of Onward in 2017. He also holds a non-executive position on the Board of BPHA – a housing association operating in the South East. From time to time he carries out consultancy work in the housing sector.

Having re-located from the Midlands to West Yorkshire, he completed the conversion of a 2-bed 1920s bungalow into a 4-bed house.

Sandy Livingstone, Executive Director of Property

Sandy joined Onward in November 2017, having acted as the interim Executive Director of Property for over a year.

Sandy is a Chartered Surveyor with extensive experience in all aspects of the housing sector, having previously been a Director in Savills’ Housing Consultancy division. He also brings a wide range of experience in property management, from the higher education, transport, healthcare, and commercial development sectors.


Mike Gerrard, Executive Director of Finance

Mike joined the organisation from The Barnet Group, a housing and care group in North London, where he was the Group Director of Resources.

Prior to this, he began his career as an auditor for Arthur Andersen and gained experience with AstraZeneca and PwC Consulting before moving into housing with the Riverside Group as a Project Director in 2003.

Since then he has worked as Finance Director at Willow Park Housing Trust and undertaken senior finance and project roles with a range of housing providers.

Brian Roebuck, Board Deputy Chair

Brian is a qualified mathematician, engineer and accountant.

He has worked primarily in social housing since 1994, but has also held senior management positions in the public, voluntary and private sectors, including higher education and health.

Brian also has extensive experience in corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, strategic financial planning, and risk management.

Brian is Deputy Chair of Onward Homes and Chairs the Finance and Performance Committee.

Michael Verrier, Non-Executive Director

Michael is a chartered accountant and experienced Corporate Treasurer. His career includes 15 years as Group Treasurer at Wolseley plc.

Michael joined Onward as a Non-executive Director in 2017 and chairs the Audit & Risk Committee.

He previously held a Non-Executive Director position at Family Mosaic, where he also chaired the Finance & Development Committee.

Dena Burgher, Non-Executive Director

Dena has enjoyed over 25 years in strategic business development at FTSE 250 Construction companies and public sector organisations operating in the residential housing sector. She is currently an Independent Interim Director for Revision Property Solutions Ltd.

Dena has held senior Director roles with Vistry Partnerships, Kier Living and Lovell Partnerships, and is a Non-Executive Director at Storm Housing Group in the Midlands.

Dena joined the Onward Board in November 2020 and sits on the Development Committee.

William Hewish, Non-Executive Director

William is the Chief Information Officer for Pets at Home Group Plc. He was previously CIO for the FTSE 100 company United Utilities Plc.

He has held senior technology roles in sectors such as pharmacy, distribution, retail and a digital start-up in the fashion industry. In 2018 he was recognised in the CIO 100 list as one of most transformative and disruptive CIOs in the UK.

William brings significant experience of digital strategy, cyber, IT governance and business continuity.

Rachel Barber, Non-Executive Director

Rachel is a non-executive director (lay member for Public and Patient Involvement) for Walsall CCG and holds a number of non-executive director and advisor roles within the housing and police sectors.

She has held senior executive positions within the water sector with a service delivery focus, achieving successful transformation, linking strategic direction to insight , improving services, achieving high customer satisfaction and continuous improvement across a diverse base.


You can view details of our Executive Team here