Board Members

English Rural has adopted the National Housing Federation’s Code of Governance to ensure the highest standards of governance and accountability are achieved. Our Board has overall responsibility for our activities and strategy, consisting of highly competent Board Members who contribute their skills and expertise for free.  The Board is subject to regular internal audits, examining areas such as succession planning, skills and structure.

Maintaining excellent governance is a priority for English Rural and forms part of our 2019-2024 Strategic Ambitions.

In addition to regular board meetings, English Rural’s governance arrangements also benefit from an Audit and Standards Committee and Finance and Resources Committee, enabling some core areas to be covered by Board Members in greater detail.

Meet the Board:

Pam Reynolds, Chair

As a property lawyer, Pam has had more than 30 years experience of the legal side of rural housing development dealing with issues such as acquisition of the land to final completion of the houses. Living and working in the New Forest she has first-hand experience of the difficulties local people have in finding suitable affordable accommodation and is a keen advocate of English Rural’s ethos. Pam also works as a legal adviser to a firm of estate agents.

Tony MacArthur, Vice-Chair & Resident Board Member

In addition to his role as Vice-Chair, Tony is a also Resident Board Member and has lived in one of English Rural’s homes since 2001. He lives in South Oxfordshire with his wife. He spent the major part of his working life in sports management and the entertainment industry, latterly being mainly involved with the administration of rugby and football.

Dorcas Cumming

Dorcas is a solicitor who joined the Board of English Rural in September 2016. Before joining English Rural Dorcas worked for the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan as Head of Legal Services. She began her legal career in private practice and then spent many years as a counsel for an American bank.

Jane Jennings

Jane has a longstanding interest in rural communities through her personal links to the farming community and also in her professional role as an Agent for NFU Mutual Insurance.  As an active member of her local community who themselves have supported and affordable housing development, Jane knows the enabling and development process well; she has also seen for herself the beneficial impact that small scale affordable rural housing developments can bring to villages.  Jane is also actively involved in her local district farming club, the Royal British Legion and Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.  Jane plays an important role on the English Rural Board of Management as the lead interest in service provision.

Sue Reekie, Lead Board Member for Finance

Sue has 37 years’ experience of working in local authorities. She is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant (CPFA) and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). Having worked at both Coventry City Council and Eastbourne Borough Council, Sue spent the majority of her working life at Guildford Borough Council.  From 1999 to 2013 she was Head of Financial Services and Deputy Chief Financial Officer, with a gross organisation budget of approximately £125 million.  From 2013 until her retirement from Guildford Borough Council in July 2016, she worked part-time as the Principal Accountant for Financial Management and Projects and also remained as a Deputy Chief Financial Officer.

Monica Burns

Monica has worked at the National Housing Federation for the last 14 years, initially as an External Affairs Manager and currently as a Head of Member Relations. Monica is the lead for Smaller Housing Associations and was the former lead for Rural Associations. Prior to working at the National Housing Federation Monica worked as a Rural Housing Enabler, working with local communities, Local Authorities and the Government to ensure rural development to create sustainable communities. Monica was involved in the establishment of one of the first Community Development Trusts. Monica has also worked in senior management roles for a number of local authorities including Lewisham, Lambeth, Kirklees and Edinburgh.

Rebecca Murphy

Rebecca has 20 years’ experience of working in Local Government, starting her career as an Environmental Health Officer, working to improve housing standards in the private rented sector. In more recent years Rebecca has held a number of senior positions in local authorities, leading the improvement and transformation of back office transactional services. Away from work Rebecca has embraced country life following a recent move from London to the Cotswolds, where she now lives with her family and faithful black Labrador.

Philip O'Dwyer

Philip has been closely involved in the social housing sector for over 30 years – most recently managing a housing portfolio of over 5,000 homes. Starting his career as an Environmental Health Officer he has seen at first hand some of the appalling housing conditions that some have to endure, both in urban and rural environments. He has worked hard to address not only housing but also the social needs of communities. As a Director of Community Services he has seen statutory agencies recognise the pivotal role housing agencies have to play in improving the well-being of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. As a chartered surveyor with a local authority, he was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in both residential and commercial development programmes delivering both homes and employment for residents. He has seen at first hand the challenge meeting the housing needs of rural communities and that organisations such as English Rural can make a real difference to a project succeeding.

Mark Pragnell

Mark currently heads Pragmatix Advisory which he founded in 2020. Commissions have included ‘Rural Recovery and Revitalisation’ partly funded by English Rural. Before setting-up his own business Mark had a distinguished career in economic consultancy including as a Director of Strategy for Capita Economics. Projects have included advising and working for amongst others the National Housing Federation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation as well as national and local government. Mark is also an Independent Governor/Trustee for the agricultural college Writtle University.

Henry Lee

Henry is a former employee of Hastoe Housing, where his role included leading external affairs, policy, media and communications. Henry has an excellent working knowledge of affordable rural housing, housing standards and worked with Hastoe’s Chief Executive in preparing their Corporate Plan. More recently Henry has worked within the office of the Lord Mayor of London, supporting all aspects of the Lord Mayor’s programme.

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