Now in our 25th year, HQN was originally set up by Alistair McIntosh and David Garland in 1997 to help social housing organisations navigate the new policy and regulatory landscape introduced by the New Labour government.

From Decent Homes, the creation of the ALMO movement and the Audit Commission inspection regime to the austerity years, government cuts, and the ongoing fallout from the Grenfell disaster, HQN has supported the sector every step of the way.

We have always been proud of our ability to provide fast, practical guidance to the housing profession. We do this in a range of different ways:

What we offer

  • Vast expertise in housing management, asset management, housing finance, governance, leasehold management, policy and strategy, income collection, tenancy sustainment, private rented sector housing, resident engagement, neighbourhood management and building safety
  • Access to a wide range of associates who are all experts in their fields
  • Access to a bank of information and good practice drawn from our network membership and our work with the best in class
  • A well-respected company with a proven commitment to the social housing sector and a strong track record.

Who’s who

Our dedicated team has a wealth of experience in the sector, and vast knowledge of the issues and practices.


Alistair McIntosh

Founder and chief executive

Alistair McIntosh is one of the social housing sector’s most respected and best known personalities.

As founder and chief executive of HQN, he is regarded as one of the foremost advisers on governance and regulation, specialising in VfM and stress testing. His hands on approach sees Alistair leading on all HQN’s in-depth assessment mock exercises and support work, designing and running the popular Iron Grip sessions and chairing/speaking at conferences and events.

Career highlights include: Setting up and running the National Federation of ALMOs, leading the popular consultation on the regulatory standards for housing and developing an approach to VfM that won praise from the housing minister.

A regular contributor to the housing press, Alistair’s columns are known for their humorous, pointed and painfully accurate assessment of the state of social housing

Since its inception, HQN has built up a membership of more than 1,000 housing associations, local authorities and ALMOs across its networks.

Lydia Dlaboha

Deputy CEO

Lydia joined HQN in 2007 and is currently the Deputy CEO. Her background is in housing management – both general needs and supported. She has worked extensively as a consultant on a wide variety of performance improvement projects. In her current role, Lydia has responsibility for overseeing all of HQN’s work and for quality assurance in particular. She spends the majority of her time talking to HQN members to make sure that our service meets their needs, and on consultancy-related work.

Sarah Preston

Head of finance

Sarah joined HQN in 2014 and is responsible for the company’s finances, running a small team from the York office. After initially pursuing a career in logistics, Sarah retrained as an accountant and completed AAT and CIMA qualifications. Before joining HQN, she worked as a Management Accountant across a range of sectors including logistics, higher education and manufacturing.

Anna Pattison

Head of consultancy and training

Anna joined HQN in 2000 and now heads up the consultancy and training areas of the business. Her role is to ensure we have an exciting training schedule in place, that all enquiries are dealt with as soon as possible and that the consultancy projects run smoothly and on schedule.

Diane Wilkinson

Head of networks and operations

Diane manages the networks and events teams, oversees operations at HQN, and is our Data Protection Officer. Prior to HQN, she worked for over ten years in Development Control at City of York Council working closely with housing teams to develop properties in the city. Diane is dedicated to ensuring that HQN offers our customers excellent value for money, that members are supported by expert advice and essential resources to help them be the best they can be, and that our events consistently inspire and inform.

Jon Land

Head of external relations

Jon joined HQN in October 2015 after five years as editor of 24housing magazine. A journalist by profession, he started his career at the Hereford Times before joining allpay in 2005 to establish the news website and 24housing magazine. At HQN, Jon leads on business development and external relations. He is also responsible for the events programme.

Gemma Meeks

Head of commercial

Gemma has worked in the housing sector for over seven years and is an enthusiastic business strategist, with a background in corporate sales, leadership, and change management. She has a keen eye for building meaningful relationships with social housing providers and commercial organisations, drawing inspiration to feedback into our best practice offering for members.  Gemma joined HQN in 2021 and has responsibility for overseeing all the activities surrounding HQN’s partnership relationships, on event collaborations, sponsorship, and advertising opportunities in HQM magazine. Gemma brings to her role a unique perspective gained from her personal experience working for membership organisations in the sector and within frontline housing services. She is dedicated to building HQN’s partnership offer, customer service excellence and working with business leaders as they strive to empower their teams and achieve greater success.

Charlie Maunder

Head of business development

Charlie joined HQN in early 2021 as head of business development. His background is in operations, project management, hospitality and event management. With over 20 years’ experience in senior management roles, he has built a strong reputation for introducing business improvement strategies that expand operations and drive exceptional growth in competitive markets. As part of the HQN team he is working on projects and introducing new technologies that will improve the customer experience and we communicate with our members and facilitate how they can network with each other and access all the latest news and resources from the sector.

Richard Hawley

Training manager

With over 15 years of Learning and Development experience, Richard has a comprehensive knowledge of conducting training needs analysis and finding courses designed for organisations looking at developing their learning solutions for the benefit of the company and their staff.


At HQN he works closely with the Head of Training to develop an exciting range of courses dedicated to the Housing Sector. As a trained trainer, he also works closely with all our trainers to ensure they’re supported and that the courses we deliver are covering a wide range of learning styles in this ever-changing world.


Richard is dedicated to bringing learning to everyone so they can improve in their role and give themselves the best career possible, no matter what their journey was before they speak with us.

HQN network associates

Sue Beasor

Rent Income Excellence Network

Sue Beasor has worked in benefits for over 20 years. She has worked at a senior level in a number of local authorities and has spent several years working closely with social housing providers.

Sue is an RIEN Associate and experienced trainer and consultant whose work includes delivering benefits and management training for local authority benefits services and social landlords, managing the implementation of legislation and organisational changes and analysing the effects of welfare reforms, particularly how they impact on the social housing sector

Janis Bright

HQN lead researcher

Janis Bright is an award winning journalist and a post-doctorate level researcher. Her research projects include analysis of high-performing organisations, governance in England and Scotland and resident involvement in European countries. She is editor of HQN’s topical housing research newsletter Evidence and commissions Network briefings.

Keith Edwards

HQN Cymru

Keith is a former director of CIH Cymru and TPAS Cymru. He came to the housing sector via the trade union, co-operative and community development movements. As a consultant, he has worked for Welsh Government Ministers, the Housing Regulator and a number of local authorities, housing associations and private companies.

He has wide experience of stakeholder involvement; developing strategy, option appraisals, designing new service models and supporting co-operative and mutual housing. He has particular expertise in helping organisations get the maximum social, economic and environmental benefits from their investment and service delivery, having set up and run the innovative i2i project for Welsh Government.

Keith is the Lead Associate of HQN Cymru.

Colin Heyman

EDI Network

Colin Heyman is the Lead Associate for the HQN Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Network. He has worked as a trainer, consultant and coach in equality and diversity for over 20 years, and has worked with small companies, large public sector organisations, and third sector organisations, including housing associations. Colin specialises in supporting a network of Diversity Champions to be change agents, and bring about change within their organisation, and in work on white privilege and allyship.

Outside work, Colin loves hillwalking and cinema, and is active in his synagogue.

Bobbie Hough

Housing Management Network

Bobbie is an expert in strategic planning and crisis communications and has worked with some of the UK’s most recognised brands overseeing successful mergers, high profile media campaigns and managing crisis scenarios.

He works with companies to help align communications and business strategies.

Debbie Larner

Asset Management Network

Debbie is the lead associate for HQN’s Health and Safety and Asset Management networks. She has been working in social housing for over 30 years – most of which was spent at CIH as Head of Practice. Debbie has led the sector’s work on professional standards and has also been focusing on building/fire safety since the Grenfell Tower disaster. She was a key member of the Industry Steering Group focusing on the role and the competency of the Building Safety Manager. For HQN, Debbie has been focusing on building safety and disrepair as part of her lead associate role – hosting workshops on a range of topical issues, including health and safety compliance.

Emma Lindley

Strategic Network

Emma is a housing professional with more than 10 years’ experience working in a variety of roles, including frontline housing management, resident involvement, policy development and managing properties for PRS landlords.

She is happiest when exploring interesting ideas with interesting people. She currently works in strategic housing for a local authority, leading on identifying new solutions to old problems, such as homelessness, domestic abuse and fuel poverty.

Emma completed a BSc in Housing at De Montfort University in 2014. She Chairs the Chartered Institute of Housing East Midlands Regional Board and is a Lead Associate of HQN’s Strategic Network.

Kate Lindley

Innovation and Technology Hub

With more than 15 years’ experience leading digitally enabled change in housing and local public services, Kate is passionate about user-led design.  Kate now leads Socitm’s Digital and Data service, supporting councils, housing providers and national bodies to deliver sustainable service design and transformation.

Formerly Head of Programme Delivery at The Guinness Partnership and now a non-Executive Director of two housing associations, Kate’s combination of strategic insight and pragmatic hands-on delivery expertise, ensures a visionary approach that is grounded in reality.

Kim Long

Rent Income Excellence Network

Kim has worked in the housing sector for over 25 years with a keen eye on frontline service provision, customer service and staff induction processes to develop a values driven culture with the focus firmly on tenants.

With experience in several areas of housing management including lettings and neighbourhoods her heart lies in income collection, with a longstanding and firm belief that the provision of help, advice and early intervention, instead of reliance on enforcement, is key to sustainability and the reduction of arrears and evictions.

As Lead Associate, Kim’s aim is to make RIEN a more dynamic platform, providing the sector with a way of highlighting best practice, to make a louder noise and demonstrating the value of the services it provides.


  • Financial inclusion/economic inclusion and debt management
  • The development of front-line services to ensure outcomes of work can be monitored to provide demonstrable value for money
  • Influencing a culture/approach for collecting with care
  • In-depth understanding of our client group and the value and use that demographic information can provide.

Ian Parker

Housing Finance Network

Ian has worked in the public sector for 40 years. During his career he has worked in senior positions in local government and has been the Finance Director at four RPs.  Ian has worked as a consultant for the last eight years and during that period has:

  • Developed HQN’s VfM metric model
  • Provided advice to clients about the sector’s VfM agenda
  • Undertaken in excess of 40 mock In Depth Assessments (IDAs)
  • Developed HQN’s merger model.

Ian is HQN’s Lead Finance Associate and in that role he provides advice to members of the Housing Finance Network and also ensures that they receive relevant news and technical updates.

Richard Waft

Leasehold Network

Richard is the Lead Associate for the Leasehold Network, taking responsibility for the network’s content, forums, workshops, events and services.

His background is business administration and communications & engagement, and he has developed and managed the network for over a decade – being responsible for the quality and integrity of the network’s outputs and resources.

He is on hand to help with member enquiries, signpost to help and guidance, and respond to your requests or suggestions for activities, research and workshop themes.

Elaine Warwick

Residents’ Network

Elaine has worked in resident engagement for over 20 years and still feels as passionate about it now as she did on her first day. Her experience at bpha helps her see both sides when meeting with residents and with staff, something she brings to her role as an associate of HQN’s Residents Network. Elaine is also part of the national Tackling Stigma in Social Housing group. This campaign supports housing providers to run in-house projects around tackling stigma. She lives in Bedfordshire, and has four grown up children and three grandchildren.

HQN trainers

Aisha Akhtar

Aisha Akhtar qualified as a lawyer in 2009 having taken a keen interest in social housing. She has worked both in-house and in private practice. She joined Network Homes in October 2017 as their in-house legal expert. She manages a team and deals with all housing management matters.

She has been a board member for a housing association previously in East London and is currently an Advisory Board member for Inspirited Minds (a mental health Charity).

She has delivered training sessions throughout the country on various topics throughout her career. She regularly delivers both public and tailor made in-house training to various HAs and LAs.

Aisha enjoys delivering training and empowering people, she makes the sessions interactive so there is an exchange of ideas so delegates leave feeling confident in implementing positive change.

Wayne Anderson

Wayne Anderson is an expert lecturer, national conference speaker, chartered surveyor, arbitrator and consultant. His training sessions are lively, colourful and interactive and are based on extensive experience gained over 25 years with best practice organisations involved in the housing repairs and maintenance sector. Wayne has a reputation for simplifying complex issues and encouraging frontline staff to develop a deeper understanding of maintenance issues that can be applied confidently on a day-to-day basis.

Jane Atherton

Jane Atherton is an experienced Organisational Development (OD) professional. A Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, she has a proven track record in senior roles delivering strategic OD and HR. She is passionate about all things employee engagement and is proud to have supported businesses to achieve top spots in The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For, along with National Training Awards and Investors in People.

She became an independent consultant in 2018, runs her own business called Hooga Consulting, and is an Associate of HQN. She is also Chair at Ashton Pioneer Homes in Tameside, Greater Manchester.

Kevin Bentley

Kevin has worked in social housing in both the local government and housing association sectors for over 30 years, specialising in housing maintenance and stock investment issues.

Kevin is HQN’s lead asset management consultant. He developed the HQN repairs and maintenance accreditation certification system and is now the lead assessor for our accreditations. He is also our expert on value for money in asset management and procurement and has run numerous seminars and workshops on this. He provides regular bespoke training for organisations on procurement, value for money and contract management.

Tony Bolder

Tony Bolder has over 27 years’ experience (operational and safety roles) within the Fire and Rescue Service and over 30 in the fire sector. As a previous operational support manager for Humberside Fire & Rescue Service, Tony was instrumental in developing operational readiness for over 300 firefighters including high rise incidents, chemical spills and road traffic collisions.

On leaving the fire service, Tony set up his own Fire Risk Management consultancy and he is now one of only around 60 UKAS third-party accredited life safety fire risk assessors listed on the FRACS register (and also the NAFRAR list) and one of only a handful of professionals who are also third-party accredited fire door inspectors, through both FDIS and NAFDI.

FDIS Certificated Inspectors are uniquely qualified to undertake fire door inspections, not only have they achieved a Diploma in Fire Doors, but they have also had their competence and knowledge independently assessed to become CertFDI certificated fire door inspectors. In addition, NAFDI Members ensure that all fire door inspections are carried out in accordance with all statutory requirements.

Tony is passionate about education, providing courses accredited by the Institute of Fire Safety Managers (IFSM) and is a national speaker on fire safety for a number of networks, a contributor to the BBC, Sky News and CNN International and LBC radio.

Laura Bouttell

Laura is passionate about inspiring people, whether it’s to deal with that challenging customer differently, to go out for that first run or to take that creative writing course. Her mission in life is to empower people to become their best.

Laura is an ex-police officer, who has three degrees. She is a published academic author and editor.

As a result of her time policing in Chapeltown, her own business and her time at Oxford, Laura has seen the gritty side of life as well as the ivory towers and uses her experiences in these diverse fields to help you achieve your dreams.

Now Laura works with all levels of Leaders in Business to help them get the best out of themselves and those around them. She has worked with Leaders from the Co-op, Team Leaders from Asda, as well as many SMEs and owner-managed businesses that have gone from strength to strength.

Caroline Bradley

Caroline Bradley started out making community programmes for BBC local radio before working in press and communications for national charities for over 15 years. She’s a strong believer in straightforward communication and now specialises in training and advising organisations on how to explain who they are, what they do and why it matters. Caroline always delivers training that is informative, enjoyable and practical.

Sharon Bryan

Sharon is a highly accomplished and qualified lifelong learning trainer, coach and development consultant with over 20 years’ experience of working with the social housing sector. Coupled with her experience of learning and development delivery and working through transformational change, she has developed an approach that is person-centred, participative and highly interactive. With a practical eye for detail, she is able to simplify complexity, making it applicable, relevant, and fun. As a licensed Master NLP practitioner and MTQ48 Assessor her flexibility and range of delivery techniques give an added dimension to her courses.

Mel Cant

Mel Cant became a Barrister in July 2000 and both prior to and since that time has worked within the housing sector to improve services to the public and providers by providing leadership, practical advice, training, support and guidance in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Mel’s “can do” attitude along with her passion for ensuring equality and fairness for all through outstanding customer service and providing practical solutions has made her a “go to” person within social housing.

Jo Carr

Jo Carr works as an independent leadership and management coach, trainer and consultant in the health, social care and social housing sectors. Before 2013, Jo spent 25 years in management roles in social housing and the voluntary sector.

Jo is a lifelong learning qualified trainer, and an ILM qualified management and mentoring coach. She also has a flair for bringing her learning and perspective from her background to help her clients find solutions for their pressure points.

Jo uses a flexible and eclectic mix of products and models in her work, from NLP to Situational Leadership – with the focus on the client audience developing their ability through increased confidence and capacity. She is also an accredited Belbin team roles facilitator. Jo is a very skilled communicator, with an intuitive approach to working with her audience – and this is borne out in her range of delivery methods as a coach and trainer.

Gary Cookson

Gary has held several senior HR roles in various sectors, including 12 years in housing. He has delivered CIPD, ILM and CIH programmes for many years. He speaks regularly at conferences about leadership and HR, and is active on social media. He also carries out training on a range of topics for HQN.

Jackie Dickins

Jackie Dickins has been an HQN Associate since 2001 and is a Lead Associate for HQN’s Leasehold Network. Prior to this she held positions at a London borough and two large housing associations based in London, where she was responsible for leasehold management and promoting work in the field of low-cost home ownership initiatives. Jackie undertakes many of HQN’s service reviews and service improvement work on leaseholder and home ownership. She has also worked in interim positions with a number of local authorities, ALMOs and housing associations as head of home ownership/home ownership manager.

Jackie also runs pre-exam workshops at associate and member level for the Institute of Residential Property Managers (IRPM) and is delivering training for apprentices seeking associate membership of the IRPM.

Jackie is responsible for developing, and is a lead assessor of HQN’s leasehold accreditation scheme.

Nigel Greenwood

Nigel Greenwood is a former head of channel management and head of customer loyalty for HBOS PLC. After 27 years working in large corporates, Nigel launched Simply Customer in 2014 as a customer experience consultancy. He is an international speaker, with three books published on customer experience and journey mapping as well as two e-learning courses available on Udemy.

Michael Guest

Michael Guest is a well-established and sought-after consultant and trainer in housing. His expertise and experience extends across the housing sector, with specialisms in Governance and Resident Engagement. He is known for his highly professional, yet relaxed and approachable working style that lends itself in particular to learning and development assignments. This is combined with working comfortably at political and governance levels, through executive, management and operational staff and with involved residents and communities.

After holding a number of senior management positions in housing, Michael has now provided consultancy and training to the sector for more than 25 years.

Michael is a Chartered Housing Professional, Chartered Management Consultant and Chartered Manager. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management, the Royal Society for Public Health, the Chartered Management Institute, the Institute of Consulting, was awarded an MSc. (with Merit) in Leadership and Management in 2017, an MSc. (with Distinction) in Housing Studies in 2020 and a Postgraduate Certificate in Corporate Governance (with Distinction) in 2020.

Colin Heyman

Colin Heyman has worked in the field of both Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and Leadership, for over 25 years, and is the Lead Facilitator for HQN’s EDI network. He’s worked with a lot of different organisations, for example Housing Associations, Local Authorities, arts organisations, Universities, the third sector, and small private companies.

Although not a housing expert, Colin has worked with a lot of different associations over the years so has an understanding of the sector. His wide EDI expertise and external perspective can help you to move forward in your EDI practice.

Gavin Hutchinson

Gavin is a veteran trainer with 22 years of experience planning, implementing and delivering training for HM Prison Service, Police Forces and Local Authorities. He is passionate and highly effective with outstanding success in delivering training over a variety of disciplines and fields.

He has a deep knowledge of behavioural change, motivational training and development across public and private sectors and thoroughly enjoys seeing the effect of his training on the participants. Gavin uses humour to allow participants to absorb the learning and his sessions are great fun.

Tahira Hussain

Tahira Hussain (MBPsS), has extensive experience working in the statutory and voluntary sector. She had a 22-year career in social work, mental health, community development and housing. Having worked in the social housing sector as part of an equality and diversity unit, Tahira has a successful track record in consultancy, training and project management.

She is a graduate member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). She has worked as a mental health professional practitioner for a number of NHS Trusts nationally and is a private therapist providing assessment and treatment services to individuals, legal firms, schools and corporations.

Tara is also a qualified trainer on safeguarding, professional boundaries, equalities, stress management and personal development. As a freelance consultant her clients include local authorities, the education, health and housing sector nationwide.

Debbie Larner

Debbie has worked in the social housing sector for over 30 years within both local authorities and housing associations before moving on to join the professional body – the CIH – where she was Head of Practice. In that time she developed expertise in in a number of areas including housing and asset management, resident engagement, health and safety (specifically building safety post Grenfell). She has also co-led research into the future of social housing, stigma and stereotyping in housing and the role of the housing professional. She has also developed the professional standards for the sector and, as part of this work has a strong interest in how organisations can develop strong values-led cultures, create inclusive behaviours and act as ambassadors for the profession to challenge the stigma and stereotyping in social housing. She is an experienced public speaker, chair and trainer.

Alison Markantonis

Alison Markantonis is an experienced welfare benefits, financial capability and employment skills practitioner, who has worked successfully in the affordable housing and benefits sectors for the last 27 years.

She has worked with many housing and support organisations and brings her extensive experience to specialise in demystifying the benefits system, money management and employability skills training for both frontline staff and tenants. Her approach is participative and interactive, using case studies and her own experience to take the complex, and make it not only simple, but also applicable.

Danny McGowan

Danny McGowan BSC, MSC has been involved in supporting people with substance misuse, mental health and other complex needs for over 20 years. He has developed experience in many specialist areas, such as working with hoarders and those with a dual diagnosis and has delivered training in techniques such as motivational interviewing and CBT. He has been delivering training for the housing sector for over a decade and has many years’ experience of developing client/customer involvement and peer mentoring schemes.

Danny uses a combination of his years of experience, current good practice guidelines and research evidence to deliver the topics he trains. He uses a holistic interactive training style that provides delegates with real skills and information, which they are then able to apply back in the workplace and beyond. He has delivered training and provided consultancy to numerous organisations during his career. Notable clients include the Department of Health, Department of Work and Pensions and the Home Office as well as housing organisations across the UK.

Helen Muir

Helen Muir has extensive experience in the housing sector having worked in senior roles for two large housing groups, where her responsibilities included sales programme delivery and the management of over 5,000 shared ownership/leasehold homes, as well as leading on anti-money laundering process and procedure.

Helen has worked as a trainer and consultant since 2012 specialising in affordable home ownership, leasehold management, Right to Buy and anti-money laundering. She has provided interim management and strategic and operational support to a number of registered providers, local authorities and private sector companies and is HQN’s lead on anti-money laundering.

Tony Newman

An independent project manager, consultant and trainer, Tony has over 40 years’ experience across a range of industries, in the private and public sectors, including extensive experience in social housing.

Tony’s work centres on helping clients to maximise income and improve services to customers, especially supporting the financial wellbeing and independence of vulnerable people.

Tony studied psychology and philosophy at the University of Stirling and maintains an interest in communication and behavioural science, which he incorporates into his work.

Tony designed Housing Quality Network’s income management and financial inclusion toolkits and leads on HQN’s unique accreditation service for income management. He has conducted many improvement projects and inspections and has a track record of supporting clients to improve performance in challenging environments.

Tony is a member of numerous professional and representative organisations. These include the Chartered Institute of Housing, Chartered Institute of Credit Management, the British Institute of Learning Disabilities, the Project Management Institute, the Housing Studies Association and the Financial Health Exchange.

Since 2011, Tony has been a visiting lecturer and tutor at the University of Salford and is an associate of the University’s Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit.

Richard Paris

Richard Paris has an MA from Queens’ College, Cambridge and a post-graduate Diploma in Housing from LSE. From 1991-93, he was senior research officer at LSE Housing, and has worked for short-life and supported housing agencies, mainstream housing associations and local authorities. He is a freelance housing law specialist with 20 years’ training and development experience undertaking educational training, consultancy, policy and procedure health checks. He specialises in housing law updates, dealing with anti-social behaviour effectively, preventing and controlling rent arrears, do-it-yourself possession proceedings, the law in supported housing and the law on disrepair and best practice.

Ian Parker

Ian Parker has worked in the public sector for 40 years. During his career he has worked in senior positions in local government and has been the Finance Director at four RPs. Ian has worked as a consultant for the last eight years and during that period has:

  • Developed HQN’s VfM metric model
  • Provided advice to clients about the sector’s VfM agenda
  • Undertaken in excess of 40 mock In Depth Assessments (IDAs)
  • Developed HQN’s merger model.

Ian is HQN’s Lead Finance Associate and in that role he provides advice to members of the Housing Finance Network and also ensures that they receive relevant news and technical updates.

Emma Walker-Cotton

Emma Walker-Cotton is an award winning trainer specialising in leadership development. She has over 25 years experience of training design and delivery in both the public and private sector, including working as HR Director for Amnesty International. Emma is passionate about individuals having the opportunity to fulfil their potential and develop their resilience. She always ensures that participants leave the session with practical skills they can implement back in work

Ruth Walker-Cotton

Ruth Walker is a qualified project manager (APM PMQ), a member of the Association of Project Management and has an MSc in Strategic Project Management.

Ruth has extensive experience of writing and implementing strategies and managing campaigns and projects within the charity, NHS and housing sectors. She is experienced in people management and loves designing and implementing systems and processes to ensure clarity and efficiency.

Ruth’s main areas of focus are strategy development and project management – whether working with leaders to develop a feasible strategy and the most effective projects to implement it, setting up project governance and planning processes, training project leaders and teams or guiding them through a project – supporting businesses to improve their strategic and resource planning, working with them as they go through organisational change.

Sue Waterall

Sue Waterall is a training specialist with over 15 years’ experience of training design and delivery in both the public and private sector. She is passionate about personal development and behavioural change, and uses her energy and facilitation skills to create a positive, stimulating learning environment. Sue is a certified practitioner of NLP, is accredited in the use of a range of emotional intelligence inventories and holds the CIPD Certificate in Training Practice.

Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson has over 30 years’ experience in public and private sector housing. A chartered environmental health practitioner and a chartered surveyor, he has also worked as a housing manager responsible for over 11,000 properties. He is still actively involved in survey work, litigation and consultancy. He combines a wealth of ‘hands-on’ knowledge with an interactive training style and extensive experience.

Nancy Witham

Nancy Witham has more than 30 years’ experience within the social housing sector. She delivers innovative, engaging interactive training to operational staff in repairs and maintenance, neighbourhoods, customer service and business IT systems. Nancy’s style of training makes learning enjoyable and relevant and her training programmes receive consistently excellent feedback.

HQN consultants

Jo Ballman

Jo Ballman is a long standing HQN associate who specialises in regulation and governance with a particular focus on In-Depth Assessments (IDAs). Jo has been a consultant for more than seven years working during which time she has worked with over 100 registered providers of various sizes and types including newly established ones and some who have been struggling. She has guided over 50 boards and executive teams on the RSH’s expectations of IDAs undertaking document reviews, mock interviews and observing meetings.

She has helped boards on their regulation journey covering all aspects of governance including creating frameworks, policies and papers and, where required, support with voluntary action plans to help the board move to a compliant judgement. She takes a very practical approach and works closely with executives, governance leads and members to embed the required approaches.

Prior to becoming a consultant Jo worked as a director at two large housing groups where she had responsibility for governance and regulation as well as risk, performance and data.

Jo is a chartered surveyor who started her career as a development surveyor progressing to development director at one RP before switching to the world of regulation and all it entails.

Kevin Bentley

Liz Bisset

Liz is a strategic adviser and coach, specialising in housing, community focused services, and public service reform. Liz is a proven and experienced leader and brings strategic vision, energy and a passion for providing good quality affordable housing. Liz worked as Director of Housing for 10 years during which time she set up a housing delivery model from scratch. Since 2015 she has transferred that determination and skill to work as a housing consultant, and taken on a number of board level responsibilities. As a leader she delivers high added value with a focus on outcomes, a commitment to teamwork, and the ability to bring about transformational change

Tim Brown

Tim Brown BSc(Hons), Dip TP, PhD, MCIH, MeRSA is a qualified town planner and a corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. He is an independent consultant and a Senior Research Associate in Housing and Local Government at De Montfort University. He was previously Director of the Centre for Comparative Housing Research. He has been a board member and chair of a number of housing associations, a director of two social enterprises and a member of Coventry Partnership. His main areas of expertise are the housing needs of older people, economic development and regeneration, housing policy and local government and social housing allocations systems.

Vicki Cutler

Vicki has worked in the housing sector as a consultant and practitioner for nearly 20 years. She has worked with many social housing landlords providing statutory compliance audits covering gas, asbestos fire, legionella and other areas and provides ongoing health and safety advice and support to clients.

Vicki is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Member of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, Member of the Institute of Fire Safety Managers and a Member of the Chartered Management Institute. She is also included on the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR).

Jackie Dickins

Keith Edwards

Michael Guest

Michael Guest is a well-established and sought-after consultant and trainer in housing. His expertise and experience extend across the housing sector, with specialisms in governance and resident engagement. He is known for his highly professional, yet relaxed and approachable working style that lends itself to learning and development assignments. This is combined with working comfortably at political and governance levels, through executive, management and operational staff and with involved residents and communities.

Mark Henderson

Mark has a long and distinguished career in social housing with over 40 years’ housing-related experience. He works as an associate with HQN, undertaking consultancy and research in a variety of areas for members across the UK.

He was previously Director of Housing at Wolverhampton Homes, where he was influential in taking the ALMO to a three-star excellent rating.

His major interests are income collection and arrears recovery. He’s passionate about tenant involvement and engagement, tenant management organisations, anti-social behaviour, and all general housing management issues.

Colin Heyman

Colin Heyman is an EDI specialist and the lead for HQN’s specialist EDI network. He has a clear strategic view of how organisations can improve practice and extensive experience of working with a variety of housing providers as well as other organisations, to successfully improve EDI practice, including:

  • Carrying out reviews and reporting back findings
  • Working with groups of champions to improve EDI practice across organisations
  • Working with leaders on inclusive leadership
  • Working with senior teams and boards on strategic equality plans and developing their understanding of D&I
  • Delivering training on EDI, inclusive leadership, Equality Impact Assessments, race awareness, antisemitism, cultural awareness
  • Drafting and updating policies.

Tim Horsley

Tim Horsley spent over 25 years in local government, housing management and community safety in central London, the West Midlands and the North West. He is an associate consultant who is experienced in writing strategies, policies and procedures, carrying out service reviews, and health checks. Specialist areas include anti-social behaviour and tenancy management, community safety and estate management, homelessness services, hostel management, temporary accommodation and leasing schemes and allocations and lettings. Tim has also written several briefings and toolkits on managing ASB, homelessness, neighbourhood management and the practical aspects of housing law as well as developing and delivering training on ASB policies and procedures.

Siân Humphreys

Siân has over 25 years’ experience in the sector working across housing management and assets and maintenance services. She has a strong focus on Customer Service and a passion for improving the customer experience, while delivering value for money. Siân has experience of leading both repairs and maintenance and neighbourhood services (including ASB), income management, allocations and lettings, customer contact centre and customer engagement. She’s delivered tangible improvements in responsive repairs, planned maintenance, compliance, and major works teams in both in house and contractor environments.

Roger Jarman

Roger Jarman’s career in housing spans over four decades. He has worked as an academic, in local government and for a range of central agencies. In the 1990s, he was Head of Housing Management at the Housing Corporation. From 1999 to 2011, Roger worked at the Audit Commission where he was Head of Housing. He is now an independent housing consultant and trainer and has worked for a wide range of housing association and local authority clients. He is a well-respected commentator on housing issues and has spoken and written extensively for HQN and others on housing policy, housing regulation, the private rented sector and related subjects. He has degrees from Essex and Birmingham Universities and is a Chartered Member of CIH.

Mark Lake

Mark has worked in the social housing sector for 30 years at both director and executive director level. He has significant experience of working with providers to meet regulatory requirements, both in terms of preparing for in-depth assessments (IDAs) as well as strengthening governance arrangements.

Helen Muir

Wendy Murphy

Wendy Murphy is an experienced consultant, facilitator, trainer and coach, with over 20 years’ experience in housing. As a senior manager she has driven and led the turnaround of many previously failing services, with a particular focus on engaging and inspiring existing staff to ensure that change is embedded and long-lasting.

Since becoming an HQN Associate in 2006 Wendy has worked on a range of projects. She has worked with over 20 local authorities, housing associations, the IDeA, NHF, the Department of Health and the Government Office for London. She was previously chair of Flourish Homes, a Somerset-based housing association, and a non-executive director of the Aster Group.

Wendy Murphy

Wendy Murphy is an experienced consultant, facilitator, trainer and coach, with over 20 years’ experience in housing. As a senior manager she has driven and led the turnaround of many previously failing services, with a particular focus on engaging and inspiring existing staff to ensure that change is embedded and long-lasting.

Since becoming an associate of HQN in 2006, Wendy has worked on a range of projects from service reviews and policy development to mock inspections and training. She has worked with over 20 local authorities, housing associations, National Housing Federation, the Department of Health and the Government Office for London. She was previously chair of Flourish Homes, a Somerset-based housing association, and a non-executive director of the Aster Group.


Tony Newman

Ian Parker

Gill Stead

Gill is a highly qualified and experienced housing professional. Particular areas of expertise include:

  • A well-developed understanding of housing management service excellence
  • Diagnosing service-related issues and helping develop innovative but deliverable solutions
  • Helping organisations to plan and deliver significant change/transformation programmes, including organisational restructures.
  • A sound understanding of cross UK regulatory expectations.

She is responsible for the development and delivery of HQN’s accreditation services and chair of the accreditation panel. The schemes include:

  • Income management
  • Estate management
  • Repairs and maintenance/DLO
  • Leasehold services
  • Co-regulation (including governance and scrutiny).

Prior to joining HQN, Gill was lead housing inspector for the North West responsible for managing all regulatory inspection activity (on behalf of the government) across local authorities, housing associations and ALMOs.

Mike Victory-Rowe

Mike Victory-Rowe has 30 years’ experience of working in property and asset management in the housing sector. He works with a range of clients and partners to deliver innovative asset management solutions to the sector and has advised housing associations and charities on strategic asset management and investment, active asset management solutions, business intelligence and performance, property option appraisals and disposals and health and safety compliance. He is a chartered building surveyor. As well as a succession of managerial and executive roles (most recently Assistant Director of Asset Management at Knightstone). Mike has also held a number of non-executive positions.

Peter Walters

Peter Walters specialises in working with executive teams, boards and residents on strategy, team building, governance, resident engagement and mergers. He’s also the author of HQN’s governance toolkit. Peter has been chief executive of two large housing associations and a director of housing and social services for a London local authority.  He has worked closely with many boards, board members and chairs, and taken on a number of non-executive roles over the years, including chairing an ALMO.  He is currently a non-executive director of a local authority regeneration subsidiary and of the charity, Housing Justice. Peter speaks at conferences and writes about social housing issues – about which he feels strongly – for a variety of publications and on social media.


Andrew Wilson

Andrew is an experienced business leader, consultant, and coach, with over 28 years’ experience in housing. Over the last 14 years he has specialised in supporting major organisational transformational projects, including the creation of a new landlord within an existing group structure, turning around a failing organisation and improving team and customer service performance within a range of housing organisations.