Stephen Funnell, Chairman and Independent Member
Steve is a full time Councillor and the elected ward member for Bentilee and Ubberley. Steve also holds the Housing portfolio on the Labour Group’s Shadow Cabinet. Steve chairs the Stoke on Trent Council’s Audit Committee and sit on its Planning Committee and Licensing and General Purposes Committee
Steve has a MA and also an MPhil both in Employment Relations from Keele University. Prior to being an elected councillor he taught Management and Human Resources on a casual basis at Derby, Keele and Middlesex Universities.
Prior to this Steve worked in a clerical capacity in the civil service and NHS, and also in a company secretarial capacity in the accountancy field.
Steve is a keen football supporter and season ticket holder for Port Vale.
Lisa Dulson, Independent Board Member
Lisa joined the Board in September 2019. As a previous longstanding employee of EPIC, Lisa fully supports and relates to the organisations ethos and values and believes in the work that EPIC does to create sustainable and affordable homes across North Staffordshire. Lisa’s experience working directly with our tenants, gives her a rounded view of our services and customers.
Lisa currently works as a Quality and Governance Manager within the Primary Care Sector and as well as her knowledge and experience within Social Housing, brings a range of skills and qualifications in Human Resources (CIPD qualified and holds a Certificate in Coaching), Health and Safety (NEBOSH qualified) as well as extensive experience in Governance and Administration.
Robert Emery, Local Authority Representative
Rob joined the Board in May 2020 as the Local Authority Representative; Rob is the Strategic Manager, Housing Management for Stoke on Trent City Council, managing 135 staff to provide a housing management service to 18,000 council tenancies.
Rob has worked in housing management for around 40 years and has supported a number of housing organisations on service reviews and service improvement plans as a specialist housing consultant. Rob has trained staff, board members and tenants on a variety of housing related subjects.
Specialising in housing management such as rent collection, estate and tenancy management, anti-social behaviour and void property management Rob has held many senior positions including Interim Assistant Director for Daventry District Housing, Interim Head of Neighbourhoods at Red Kite Community Housing and Interim Assistant Director at Cheshire West and Chester Council where he wrote the housing management specification and carried out the procurement to outsource the housing service to a registered provider.
Rob also helped Solihull Community Housing become the first three-star rated housing organisation in the West Midlands as Head of Community Services.
Alex Fury, Independent Member and Chair of Audit
Board Member and Chair of Audit Alex has been a Board Member since 2012, and is the Chair of the Audit Committee. He represented the local authority in this capacity until 2018 and now acting as a co-opted member. Prior to that Alex served on the Quality Panel and in addition has Chaired the Audit Committee since 2016. Alex has a strong background in the Housing sector beginning in 2001 and is currently employed as Assistant Director of Development for Muir Group in Chester. Alex has undertaken a broad range of roles within Housing Associations including urban and rural Development, Housing Management after starting originally with front of house reception. In addition Alex has worked in development delivery for a National Housebuilder and for Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Alex’s skills are focussed around the development sector bringing a number of years, experience which includes work areas such as – project management, construction, regeneration, development viability, and budget control, planning, grant funding, Homes England relationships, establishing a Housing Company, tenancy management and other associated themes.
Robert Kent, Co-opted Member
Robert joined the board in January 2020 as a co-opted member and is also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee. Robert is now retired from permanent employment but when employed worked as a risk manager/internal Auditor for over 35 years. During this time he provided advice and assurance to Boards, Senior Management, Audit Committees and statutory regulators on the effectiveness and efficiency of organisational control and assurance arrangements. He worked as both a permanent member of staff and as a consultant within a number of varied types of organisation including: central and local government bodies, further and higher education, the NHS and social care, manufacturing, retail insurance and other financial organisations. Amongst these organisations was a major housing association.
Prior to this Robert was a technologist, an industrial chemist, and a civil servant.
Robert holds a science qualification and a degree level award in sociology from the University of London. He is a specialist member of the Institute of Risk Management and a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Auditors on whose postgraduate Internal Audit qualification he served for many years as a tutor. He also gained a postgraduate qualification in Auditing from the University of Central England.
As a Risk Manager and Internal Auditor Robert needed to review and investigate the working and accuracy of the control systems within organisations and to recommend any improvements believed necessary to improve efficiency, effectiveness and the value for money of the operation.
Nicholas Leggett, Co-opted Member
Nick has a wealth of experience as a board member across health, housing, and educational sectors, serving on boards since 2005. His full-time role is as a Church of England rector in Northamptonshire, where he has eight small village churches.
His board work began when he was elected onto the Benenden Health care board and become chairman of both the Friends and the Hospital trust, here he helped with the hospital redevelopment project which became a £45 million pound investment and supported development of new services across the hospital including a new fertility centre. He also serves on a day care centre board in Cheam pushing forward the centre pension policy. In the housing sector he is a board member for Co-op homes which has around 1400 properties mostly under management and he also serves as Vice-chairman on the student union of The University of East London as an eternal trustee.
Nick has undertaken a full range of training for this role with the likes of the institute of directors including gaining a Diploma in Management from Bridgwater and Taunton College and has attend conferences in both health and housing sectors. He is also a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and has a degree in Theology
He also supports community work when he was working in the city of Coventry he help to set up a local foodbank, job club, and the city wide winter night shelter for the homeless, he also works with young people, where he a chaplain with Army Cadets and the ATC. Before ordination he worked for Royal Mail and was also a shop steward for the CWU.
His interests include rugby and steam railways
Peter Lunio, Independent Member
Peter has been a board member since June 2017. Having worked in the sector for over 10 years whilst he was a Director at RSM (formerly Baker Tilly – 7th largest accountancy practice in the UK) as Head of their Social Housing practice.
He recognises, as an individual who was born and bred in Oldham and lived in an immigrant one-parent family, the difficulties faced when living in challenging housing conditions. He wanted to try and ensure that those with similar disadvantages have an appropriate representative voice who can influence decisions and have an impact on their housing in the Bentilee community.
Peter is also an experienced Board executive, having sat on the RSM Pensions Board for four years. He also sits on the Bradford University Board and is a Trustee for the Halton Citizens Advice Bureau.
He brings a wealth of experience with both strategic/operational knowledge and has over 15 years’ experience in international consulting, working with organisations such as 3M, Black & Decker, Boots the Chemist, Chevron Texaco and BT. During his 10 years at RSM, he gained vast experience of the social housing sector working with organisations such as Midland Heart, Accent, Walsall Housing and East Midlands Housing Group, specialising in Value for Money and Digital Inclusion.
Currently, Peter is a Director in a boutique consultancy called “Golden Marzipan” which specialising in implementing digital and analytics in the Social Housing sector.
He has a Physics & Geography Degree and an MBA and is a Business Advisor for Princes Youth Trust. He enjoys spending time with his daughter, walking, gardening, skiing, reading, and is an avid football fan.
Andy Milroy, Independent Member
Andrew worked in social housing for around 35 years. He is passionate about promoting good quality, safe, affordable housing choices to people, and being proud about who he works for and upholding the company aims and values. He firmly believes housing is a profession, which should recognised as such and that we invest in developing people to have a rewarding career in the multitude of work streams that housing can offer.
Over the years, I have seen social housing change in many ways, some for the better, some not so. I have helped influence changes at a local level, recognising that skills such as being able to communicate to differing audiences, working with a wide range of partners and the actual communities which we work within are key to ensuring we deliver good services to our diverse range of customers. I have worked with tenants, community groups, community leaders and resident associations on a variety of projects and day to day matters, occasionally in difficult and stressful circumstances, but feel that I have been able to work through differences and earn respect and understanding of the role or job that I had to deliver.
Andrew was the Local Authority’s representative member for EPIC’s Quality Panel (now the Operations Committee) since 2012 and joined the Board in 2019. During this time, he has enjoyed being part of EPIC’s developments and evolution, being able to add aspects of his knowledge, challenge where required and develop good relationships with staff. He has seen EPIC grow and become stronger in itself and create a firm place within Bentilee’s community and establishing a good reputation as a RP.
Victoria Robb, Independent Board Member
Victoria joined the board in September 2018 as a Co-opted Board Member. Victoria has worked in the social housing sector for 8 years holding senior roles in different Local Authorities and currently a housing association.
Victoria graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a Bachelor of science degree in 2007 and since this time has achieved a Postgraduate Certificate in Housing Studies from DeMontfort University in addition to a HHSRS qualification from the University of Warwick.
Victoria is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and an associate member of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Victoria currently works as a Senior Development Manager for a large midlands based housing association where responsibilities include establishing and delivering new affordable housing development programmes and managing new business activity. Core competencies include development project management, strategic planning, budget management and regeneration.
Andrew Stone, Independent Board Member
Andrew retired from Staffordshire Police in 2015, having served as a constable, sergeant and Inspector in a variety of roles. He has experience in decision making, problem solving and managing people, dealing with complaints, researching and writing policy and procedure, designing new processes and implementing changes. He has been involved in recruitment and interviewing, employment disputes, as well as redeployment and redundancy situations. As a Police Federation workplace representative, he regularly supported and represented colleagues, particularly around the work-life balance and wellbeing of officers.
His management experience has included work with local authorities, government agencies, third-sector services, and health and social services.
Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems and Psychology and holds a Graduate certificate in Leadership and Management.
Andrew is used to communicating with a wide range of people, at all levels, in the most extremes of circumstance and emotion, assisting them and advising them, both face-to-face or over the telephone. He trained to an internationally recognised level in Hostage and Crisis negotiation and was routinely deployed to critical incidents.
Andrew is now a Freelance Tutor, regularly delivering training to Witness Service volunteers and staff to prepare them for their new roles. He is also a Pool Legal Ombudsman, reviewing customer service complaints against regulated legal service providers and making decisions on the service provided.
A long-standing Volunteer School Governor and Academy Trustee at Christ Church Academy, Stone, involved in the oversight and management of the school, including finance and appeals committees. He is also Deputy Churchwarden at Christ Church, Stone – a varied office, with responsibilities for the buildings, property, the correct administration of the church and supporting the vicar.
Volunteering as an Advisor with Staffordshire South West Citizens Advice Bureau, he has seen that housing issues, rent and landlord disputes, are a significant area of worry for clients. Recent and pending changes in legislation and support will continue to place housing high on the list of concerns.
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