Following the announcement of merger discussions last year, the not-for-profit housing associations held a full resident consultation on their proposals. Both boards carefully considered consultation feedback before agreeing to proceed, and the merger has now been approved having achieved the relevant consents.
The new Peabody Group will be responsible for 104,000 homes and around 220,000 customers across London and the home counties.
Taking a local approach, the new organisation will harness the benefits of being larger but with a strong community focus, better connected to its customers and committed to £11m of community investment every year.
The group is already putting in place a new regional structure and locality model. Six managing directors will be responsible for individual geographical locations, and each will have overall responsibility for the delivery of services in that area. They will have the knowledge and resources to tailor services and projects to meet local need, mobilising teams of neighbourhood customer specialists working closely with residents.
Lord Kerslake is the chair for the new organisation and Ravi Rajagopal is the vice-chair. Ian McDermott, who has been chief executive of Peabody since October, will continue in his role and the current interim chief executive of Catalyst Sarah Thomas now takes up the post of chief operating officer at Peabody.
McDermott said: “Our customers will be front and centre of our new organisation. Our increased scale will allow us to invest more in services, homes, technology and our people. We want to transform our services for the better, working with customers to create and design services that help them get things done easily and quickly. We’ll be focused on getting the basics right, including delivering an effective repairs service, and also fostering a people-first culture throughout the organisation. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion will be central to what we do, and we are planning an Academy of talent, where colleagues and customers will be able to learn side by side. Customers need to be heard, and through meaningful involvement and local engagement, we will make sure that they are. I know we’ll be judged not on our words, but on our actions and on the quality of what we do, which is absolutely right. We will learn and improve as we transition to the new operating model, and we are determined to make the most of this huge opportunity to make a positive impact and help people flourish and succeed in their lives.”
Kerslake, chair of Peabody, added: “I am delighted to confirm that our two successful organisations have joined together. We have a lot of work to do. First and foremost, we will be smoothly integrating our organisations and putting our locality model in place, with a strong focus on improving our services and investing in our homes. We’re passionate about creating a sustainable Peabody and are committed to developing new social homes and investing in communities and care and support services. Taking a whole place, stewardship approach to placemaking, we will build on our learnings from Thamesmead, ensuring that our neighbourhoods old and new are great places to live for the long-term.”