Two join Mears’ independent customer scrutiny board

Mears has welcomed the appointment of Steve Smith and Karen Hardwick to its Customer Scrutiny Board.

The Scrutiny Board was set up in 2020 to work alongside the Mears PLC Board and provide oversight, challenge and support to improve Mears services.

The two new board members have extensive experience in the housing sector and resident engagement and will sit alongside the eight resident representatives on the board, chaired by housing expert Terrie Alafat CBE.

Steve Smith comes with a wealth of experience through chair, co-chair roles and as a member of resident panels including taking part in scrutiny activity. He been an involved tenant for twenty years at Octavia and previously with the Royal Borough Kensington and Chelsea Council Tenant Management Organisation.

He is passionate about ensuring the resident perspective is considered and heard and has worked hard to improve the service and resident experience around repairs.

Karen Hardwick has an in-depth understanding and passion for the housing sector and brings personal experience of the vital role of social housing. She has been a Home Group customer for over six years and had a professional career across a range of public services including social housing and through her work gained a National Certificate in Sheltered Housing.

Ms Hardwick’s focus has been on enabling residents’ voices to be heard and a head for figures and finances. She is involved regionally with the North East Customer Complaints Panel and Home Group’s resident involvement activities.

Gary Jackson, Mears Group director of marketing communications & customer success, said: “We are delighted to welcome Steve and Karen to the Scrutiny Board. They are passionate about resident engagement in the housing sector and will help to deliver real benefits to our customers.

“Mears welcomes the insight, challenge and support from the Scrutiny Board and assurance and independence provided by the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny, so that we can provide the best service possible to all our customer groups.”

Jacqui McKinlay, chief executive of the Centre for Public Scrutiny, added: “Mears continues to demonstrate its commitment to customer scrutiny through the appointment of two new board members. Introducing new members after a year is a great way to fill skills gaps and fresh energy.

“Karen and Steve bring a wealth of expertise from their own housing associations and we look forward to working with them to improve Mears’ customer service.”

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