The role of the Kirona User Group Committee is to manage the business of the User Group, and to act as a two-way sounding board between Kirona and the User Group members. Kirona provides administrative and financial support.
The committee is appointed from those member organisations who wish to take part, with each being appointed for two years. Nominations are invited annually, and if more are put forward than there are vacancies, an election is held. The committee elects the Chair and Vice-Chair of the User Group from those appointed to serve.
Committee membership is held by the organisation, not the individual – there has to be a lead representative, but alternates are allowed. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected by the committee from within its members. The committee generally meets no more than three times a year,
The committee has up to fifteen members, following the agreement given by the User Group during our meeting in Cardiff, May 2019 to appoint all existing members who wished to stand again, plus one new nomination. All members serve for a two year term, following which they are eligible to put themselves forward for re-election. A request for new nominations is made every year and, if necessary, an election is held.
The current committee members are:
Nigel Harris (Chairman)
Walsall Housing Group Limited (whg) is a not-for-profit housing association. It was founded in March 2003. It is responsible for more than 21,000 homes, primarily in the borough of Walsall, West Midlands.
Nigel has been in post since 2010, heading up the delivery of repairs, maintenance and major works investment programmes for whg. He has many years of experience in property maintenance services within both social housing and local authority. Specifically experienced within Legislation driven activities; ensuring necessary mandatory compliance; with the primary focus on providing affordable, well-maintained properties that exceed customer expectations. He enjoys working towards innovative methods of working, with the ability to implement step changes and effective process improvements that achieve high levels of success.
Nigel was elected User Group Chairman in May 2019.
Lynn Feast (Vice Chair)
Halton Housing own and manage 7,000 homes across Runcorn and Widnes. They have been DRS users since 2008 – in conjunction with Aareon QL and 1st Touch. Halton Housing use Kirona’s Dynamic Resource Scheduler, Project Planner, Cyclical Servicing and InfoSuite software.
Lynn has been with Halton Housing since 2003 initially working in repairs as an improvement manager and currently works for Business Improvement in system development.
Lynn was elected the User Group Vice-Chair in May 2019.
Derby Homes Limited is an arm’s length management organisation (ALMO) created by Derby City Council to manage, maintain and improve its council houses and estates. Derby Homes currently manages a stock of over 13,000 properties.
Steve has worked at Derby Homes since 2001. Initially he worked as a Housing Officer before he moved into performance and latterly into the Repairs Team. Steve initially worked as a Repairs Contract Manager until he obtained his current roles as Head of Repairs in 2015.
Dudley MBC is a Council retained stock landlord comprising of approximately 22,000 properties. Dudley has a large in-house team that undertakes a range of repairs and capital improvements, including a range of traditional ‘landlord’ functions, including stock condition, compliance, etc.
Dudley has used various versions of DRS since 2006 and also utilises Civica’s Servitor back-office system and Kirona’s Job Manager mobile application.
Ian has been at Dudley, in various positions, since 1997 and currently heads up the in-house team that also undertakes a range of non-Housing traded services. Ian is chartered with the CIH and CIOB. He also sits on the Board of a large West Midlands based Registered Provider and is also Chair of their Audit & Assurance Committee
Ian was Chair of the User Group 2013-2019.
Fife Council is the local authority for the Fife area of Scotland and is the third largest Scottish council with 75 elected council members.
David joined Fife Council as an Approved Electrician in 1993, having worked in the private sector. Between 1998 and 2005 he moved through a number of supervisory and management posts, including multi-trade, ending up as Electrical Team Manager. He was involved with the mobile working project within Building Services from 2010 until go-live in the summer of 2012. Dave was seconded to, and then lead, a multi-skilled mobile working implementation team as Programme Manager (2012 – 2016) within their Corporate IT service – projects included mobilisation of Housing Maintenance/Technical Officers. Following on from an IT service restructure in April 2016 he returned to Environment and Building Services to manage void property repairs and implement mobile working within their Parks, Streets and Open Spaces service.
Guinness Property is the maintenance delivery arm for The Guinness Partnership, delivering around 120,000 repairs a year to over 45,000 properties across 179 local authorities. Guinness currently use the DRS, Job Manager and InfoSuite products from the Kirona suite, and in April 2017 upgraded to 5.5 versions. They have 140 operational engineers delivering the repairs service nationally.
Housing Maintenance Solutions (HMS) is an award winning building and maintenance contractor based in the North West of England. Established in July 2011 HMS are the commercial contracting arm of the newly formed Torus Group which formed in January 2019 when Torus and Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) amalgamated. They manage responsive, planned and maintenance work for the Torus portfolio and deliver a range of public and private sector contracts and projects for external clients
Lisa joined Torus in 2009 and is the group head of operations, an experienced operations manager who has delivered transformational change projects to reduce operating costs across the business.
Lisa has recently led on a two year programme to align the contractor IT systems across the group, which included implementation of Kirona’s DRS scheduling system, Project Planner and infosuite.
Housing Solutions is a leading provider of affordable homes in the South East, based in Maidenhead. Housing Solutions was established in 1995 and now owns, manages and maintains more than 7,500 homes. They have been a DRS user from 2003 in conjunction with Civica’s Servitor for job management.
Richard has been with Housing Solutions for almost 16 years, working in various departments including the contact centre and works planning team. Richard now leads the department as Head of IT. He has been working in the IT department for the last 13 years involved in a variety of projects. The board has recently signed off the new 3 year Digital IT Strategy including exciting projects such as using Alexa devices, and use of mobile working for staff.
The Riverside Group is a national organisation with housing services at its core, providing services to over 90k customers. They own and manages over 55,000 properties across more than 150 local authorities. They currently use the DRS, Job Manager and InfoSuite products from Kirona.
Karen joined Riverside in January 2018 as an Asset Manager – Responsive Repairs in Liverpool City Region and was appointed as Head of Business Management in Asset Management for the Group in November 2018. In this role Karen is responsible for a team focusing on performance and standards across all Asset Management functions, particularly driving up the performance results of the Group”s main delivery partners, Evolve and Riverside Direct and reviewing the asset management policy framework for the Group. Prior to working at Riverside Karen worked in asset management at the Plus Dane Group for 6 years and has worked in social housing for a number of local authorities and registered providers based in the North West since 1992.
Sandwell is a metropolitan borough in the Black Country, which is made up of six towns. The Asset Management and Maintenance Service is responsible for delivering around 106,000 emergency, urgent, routine and planned cyclical repairs to around 28,000 Council owned homes every year.
The service is also responsible for the management of around 2,300 void properties each year, and it’s Gas Service carries out around 35,000 Gas repairs, along with Gas Servicing to around 26,000 properties.
They use JM, Work Hub, DRS and InfoSuite from Kirona.
Sutinder has worked as a Project Manager and implemented a number of key system projects for the Asset Management and Maintenance Service. These include their DRS Upgrade March 2017, Text Messaging June 2017, JM Work Hub March 2018, a new Stock Management System April 2018 and more recently Gas Servicing in March 2019.
Sovereign is a social business and one of the largest housing associations in the country. They provide over 57,000 homes for around 130,000 people in housing need across the south and south west of England and the Isle of Wight. Sovereign merged with Spectrum Property Care, employing 2000 staff. Spectrum have used Opti-time since 2005 and now both organisations use DRS and InfoSuite.
Pauline Hicks has been at Sovereign19 years joining Signpost Services as a Contracts Administrator April 2000. Pauline has been responsible for SPC back office systems since November 2003 and became Systems Manager 2008. The systems team implements and maintains DRS, Mobile working and the back office systems as well as providing support and training for the end users.
Currently working on a project to amalgamate the 2 DRS’s into 1 hosted DRS with over 700 diaries.
Together Housing Group was formed on April 2011 bringing several heritage association/stock transfers in to one organisation, operating throughout the north of England. Together Group owns and manages 37,000 homes for rent, and also have interests in shared ownership and sales, serving more than 50,000 people and employing 1,300. It is a developing organisation, with a considerable development programme and aspirations for further growth.
Together was already using Kirona’s DRS in several parts when it was formed and selected DRS with Aareon QL for scheduling repairs. It uses Project Planner and InfoSuite.
Liz has worked with Together Housing Group for over 5 years and is now Head of Repairs & Maintenance. She Manages the performance and operation of a large in house R&M department with a portfolio of 37,000 properties. She is responsible for the delivery and planning of core services, including Empty Homes, Specialist Services and Responsive Repairs.
VIVID was formed as a result of an amalgamation between Sentinel and First Wessex, with ambitions to create a strong organisation with a tight geography, to build more homes, create efficiencies and to improve the experience of our customers.
VIVID manages 30,000 units and intends to build a further 1,200 units per year. It employs 280 trade staff, covering a full range of hard and soft facilities management and manages in excess of £50m of maintenance services.
They use DRS and InfoSuite from Kirona.
Steve joined Portsmouth HA in 2007 as the Maintenance manager and is now the Head of Property Services and is responsible for all repairs, voids and the planned and cyclical programs.
Steve has lead on several major projects including, transferring from an SOR based salary to an annual salary with bespoke bonus system, eliminating avoidable repairs and implementing V7 NHF SOR for all in house trades and sub-contractors.
He has also been responsible for creating a culture where savings through the efficiencies within the modernisation plan are seen as business as usual to maximise VFM in trade staff, sub-contractors, vehicles and materials.