Executive 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 more than 25 years, initially as a solicitor and then in the North West’s housing sector where she delivered a number of large regeneration projects.

Before her appointment as Chief Executive, Bronwen was deputy director of investigation and enforcement at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Working with the Board and the Senior Leadership Team, Bronwen provides leadership and strategic direction to ensure Onward is in a strong position to address new challenges and access opportunities for future success.

Alastair Cooper, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Operations

Alastair is a seasoned executive director with extensive experience of delivering high profile, customer facing services across a range of sectors, including healthcare, patient transport, back office processing and enforcement.

He was appointed Executive Director of Operations in January 2017 and played a key role in the transition of Symphony Housing Group to Onward Homes. In October 2018 he was promoted to Deputy Chief Executive.

Alastair is a serving Colonel in the Army Reserve and was awarded the QVRM in the 2014 New Year’s Honours.

Wyn Dignan

Wyn is currently Chair of the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, having previously chaired the Manchester Health and Social Care Trust.

As well as bringing extensive health and change experience across North West public service networks, Wyn has additional experience from a former commercial career in banking and finance.

Paul High

Paul is a chartered surveyor who retired at the end of March as Executive Director of the Orbit Group, the second largest housing association developer group in the country.

He brings extensive property development experience, having led the development of more than 1,700 homes in 2015-16.

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.

Brian Roebuck

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

Michael is chartered accountant who, until recently, was Group Treasurer of Wolseley plc, an international trade distribution business with a turnover of more than £13 billion.

He is currently a Non-Executive Director of social housing provider Family Mosaic, where he chairs the finance and development committee. Michael chairs Onward’s Audit Committee.

William Hewish

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 

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