About our Boards

Ongo is made up of housing, commercial and community based companies, and each area of the business has its own Board of Non-Executive Directors. These are the people who govern our business.

Our housing business is regulated by the Government’s Regulator for Social Housing (RSH), who regularly inspect us to ensure we are meeting its governance and financial standards.

Our Boards are responsible for the strategic oversight of the organisation and setting the vision for the group. The Boards meet throughout the year. Some Board members may sit on more than one Board or Committee, for example, Ongo Homes Board and Audit & Risk Committee.

Ongo Homes Board: Terms of Reference

View our terms of reference.

Ongo Developments Common Board (for Ongo Developments Ltd & Ongo Homes Sales Ltd): Terms of Reference

View our terms of reference.

Ongo Communities Common Board (for Ongo Communities Ltd, Ongo Recruitment Ltd and Crosby Brokerage Ltd): Terms of Reference

View our terms of reference.

Ongo Commercial Common Board (for Ongo Commercial Ltd, Ongo Roofing Ltd and Ongo Heating & Plumbing Ltd): Terms of Reference

View our terms of reference.

Governance & Remuneration Committee: Terms of Reference

View our terms of reference.

Audit & Risk Committee: Terms of Reference

View our terms of reference.

Declarations of Interest

Our Board and Committee Members declare any conflicts of interest and these are updated annually and recorded on a register. If you would like to see this register please email your request to governanceteam@ongo.co.uk

Board meetings, minutes and terms

We publish minutes from meetings of Ongo Homes and Ongo Communities Boards. Prior to 31 March 2023 our parent company was Ongo Partnership and we had a Group Common Board which dealt with business for Ongo Partnership and Ongo Homes.

Ongo Homes Board oversees all the activities of the companies in the group and meets throughout the year. Here are the Board Members.

Bob Walder (Chair)

Bob spent his career working for housing associations based in Manchester, the Potteries and Lincolnshire. He was Chief Executive Officer at Longhurst Group for 26 years and retired in 2015. Since then, he has enjoyed a number of non-executive roles chairing three housing associations and a local University. Bob was appointed Chair at Ongo and is committed to a team approach working with the new Board, Ongo’s tenants and all members of staff.

Michael Finister-Smith

Mike is a retired chartered accountant, who previously held senior executive director roles at Waterloo Housing Group, Acclaim Housing Group and Willow Park Housing Trust. Prior to that he worked as a Senior Project Manager for HACAS Chapman Hendy, acting as lead officer for the large-scale voluntary stock transfers from local authorities to new registered social housing providers. Mike also has over 20 years local government finance experience, including 5 years as the Finance Manager for Leeds City Council housing department.

Gerraint Oakley

Gerraint is Executive Director of Growth and Development at Platform Housing Group, a 47,000 home housing association based in the Midlands.

His previous roles include Managing Director of Curo’s house building business in Bath and Regional Managing Director of Keepmoat Homes South West.  He has over 30 years’ experience in property, real estate, asset management, development and urban regeneration. Gerraint joined Barratt Developments Plc in 2008 where he worked throughout the UK in Barratt and David Wilson Homes Divisions. Prior to joining Barratt, he worked for Vodafone for 10 years where he was a Global Strategy Manager.

He has a passion for developing affordable homes, creating opportunities for apprenticeships, graduate programmes and access to employment for those who would otherwise find it difficult to access such opportunities. He also undertakes coaching and mentoring for people starting out in their career or those looking to develop in their careers.

Rachel Cook (Senior Independent Director)

Rachel Cook is the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer for the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.  Born and raised in North Lincolnshire upon graduation Rachel was employed within the local authority in a Regeneration and External Funding setting.  Since then she has worked across public, private and third sector in a variety of roles including Policy, Business Development, Contract Management and Operations.  Her experience stems many sectors starting with Regeneration, moving into Economic Development, Skills and Education, Criminal Justice, and Policing.  Over fifteen years of senior management experience, Rachel is motivated by helping create the conditions for people to succeed and realising the potential of others.  Passionate about collaboration, partnership working, seeking best value for the public purse while driving quality of public service.

Rachel is the Member Responsible for Complaints as well as our Senior Independent Director (SID). As SID Rachel acts as a sounding board for the Chair and is a trusted intermediary with the Board Members. She is responsible for leading the appraisal of the Chair.

John Wright

John is  currently Executive Director of Finance at Incommunities, a large Registered Provider based in Yorkshire. He has over 18 years’ experience in the housing sector, providing leadership and direction across multi-disciplinary teams in numerous housing groups of different sizes, including traditional and stock transfer organisations.

John has vast experience in finance, as well as significant experience in governance, risk management, procurement and change management. He is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA), and has also received a B.A. (Hons) degree in Business Economics from Coventry University.

Paula Gouldthorpe

Paula is  the Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in South Yorkshire and the Humber, which includes representing the voice of small business at senior boards across the region and supporting to influence governmental policy changes. With almost 20 years of experience in coaching and mentoring business owners and leaders, Paula has held roles in private-public sector partnerships, community development, business support, marketing, and renewables.  She most recently managed the entrepreneurship function at the University of Hull. Paula is a governor of Hull College and a member of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Business Advisory Board.  Paula was born and grew up in North Lincolnshire.  Her passions include lifelong learning, sustainability, and community engagement, and she advocates for empowering people to reach their full potential.

Natalie Cresswell

With over 28 years’ experience working within a variety of administration roles, Natalie is currently the Operations Manager at E-Factor Group Ltd., where she leads on a number of areas including the Facilities Management of an extensive commercial property portfolio, the HR Management for the company as well as developing the efficient processes, in order to ensure the continued smooth running of all E-Factors services and centres. She is also a member of E-Factors’ Leadership team and so is actively involved in the business growth of the Company.

Paul Warburton

Paul is an experienced Housing Operations Director with over 26 years’ experience in Social Housing leading the Strategic, operational and service delivery of multiple disciplinary team and has a proven track record of high end customer focused service, improving business efficiency, value for money and community sustainability.

Paul also has over 6 years governance experience with Grove Village Board Limited, the country’s first social housing PFI and Lancashire mind, where he is a Trustee and the Chair of the Finance and Audit subcommittee, he is passionate about delivering great services and championing customer interests using large scale change and systems thinking to improve service satisfaction & bottom line results. He has extensive experience of working as part of various Senior Leadership Teams, developing business plans and strategies and working with a number of external partners to oversee delivery of these.

Steve Hepworth

Steve Hepworth took over as our Chief Executive in April 2018, although has a wealth of experience working for Ongo, being Operations Director before securing the Chief Executive role.In fact, he has worked here since we formed as North Lincolnshire Homes in 2007. North Lincolnshire Homes rebranded as Ongo in 2012.

Previously, whilst working for North Lincolnshire Council, Steve led the team responsible for consultation with tenants that resulted in the formation of North Lincolnshire Homes as a housing association and the transfer of 10,000 homes from the council. In total, Steve has over 20 years experience in social housing – starting his career as a rent recovery officer at Wakefield Metropolitan District Council back in 1990.

Kacper Merta

Kacper has lived in the area for most of his life and has developed strong ties with many local communities of multiple ethnicities.  As an Ongo tenant from a young age Kacper became familiar with the way the housing association operates and was impressed with how it contributes to improving the lives of local communities.  He also gained insight through his own experience and those of others about issues tenants might be facing as well as areas Ongo could improve in order to deliver even better services to local communities.

Kacper is an active member and voluntary worker of the Polish Cultural Centre in Grimsby (PCCG).  His responsibilities include organising events and trips, managing resources and finances of the organisation, childcare during field trips, organising charity events and recently the Help for Ukraine collection.  He plans events benefiting local communities by working with other institutions such as Consulate General of the Republic of Poland.  Kacper has studied and graduated from UCNL with the FDA degree in Leadership and Management.  He is currently finishing a Bachelors Degree in Business Studies. University education has allowed him to obtain knowledge in accountancy, finance, economics, marketing and leadership & management skills which he intends to use and implement in his future career within the property business sector.

Ongo Developments oversee our new build schemes and acts as a common board for the legal entities of Ongo Developments Ltd and Ongo Homes Ltd.

Gerraint Oakley (Chair)

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Natalie Cresswell

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Moya Jones

With over 30 years public and private sector experience in housing development and mixed tenure sales; Moya has worked at a senior level for PLC developers such as Gleeson, McLean Homes and George Wimpey.  Moya has also worked for organisations such as HBOS and Southdale Group and brings a passion for supporting people into decent housing.   Moya worked up to 2007 for Derwentside Homes, where she was Development Director taking a lead in securing Homes England grant funding.    A strong believer in having a commercial head and social heart, she places her work  with housing associations and community engagement projects, as a major focus.

More recently, Moya has taken up a role in ENGIE and their Places & Communities division, where she is Sales & Marketing Director – focused on delivering homes for people over 55, that will meet their lifelong needs and assist them to remain independent for longer.  Moya is fully committed to  ENGIE’s Zero carbon ambitions and is keen to develop innovative ways to deal with fuel poverty in older age.


Ongo Communities Board acts as a Common Board to look after community investment activities of Ongo Communities Ltd and the legal entities of Ongo Recruitment Ltd and Crosby Brokerage Ltd.  Our members are:

Natalie Cresswell (Chair)

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Kacper Merta

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Jan Williams

Jan has worked in the voluntary and community sector since 1998 and set up her own social enterprise, Crosby Employment, in 2005 to support local people into employment. She was also Chair of Governors at a primary school for 11 years and has been involved in a number of community roles including being a member of the North Lincolnshire foster panel and Director of an ex-offender run project, Inspiring Intelligence. In 2014 Crosby Employment joined the Ongo group and Jan now leads a team of 40+ staff in Ongo Communities who deliver a range of projects and services that help people in our communities to make a difference to their lives.

Karen Locking

Karen has worked in both the public and the private sector in North Lincolnshire for over 20 years. For the past 10 years Karen has been the Director of her own business supporting others with their Marketing and Social Media. Alongside this business Karen also ran a success Business Networking event every month for 8 years enabling her to make amazing local business connections across North and North East Lincolnshire. Karen lectures on a casual basis at the University of Lincoln & Bishop Grosseteste University specialising in Leadership, Managing People, Marketing and Business in general, she is also a fundraising and publicity volunteer for Scunthorpe Samaritans.

Debbie Clegg

Debbie has lived in the Scunthorpe area for over 30 years spending her teenage years living in a council house like many of her friends did and attended Foxhills School in Scunthorpe.  Debbie now works for the NHS and has done for many years, both locally at NLAG and now in Lincolnshire.  She is a Medical Workforce Manager and the experience of working at the NHS has helped her develop skills she hopes will be an asset to Ongo.  Debbie was delighted to be part of the Ongo communities Board and be able to support the outstanding work they do.  Until joining the Board Debbie did not realise the amount of support that is available to the community and she’s proud to be a part of that.  Debbie feels fortunate to have visited many of the projects and see first-hand what great things are on offer and how involved members of the communities are.  She’s seen the success stories and heard first hand from people who have received help and support.

Our Ongo Commercial Board look after the commercial businesses which include Ongo Commercial Ltd, Ongo Heating & Plumbing Ltd (trading as Hales & Coultas Heating and Plumbing) and Ongo Roofing Ltd (trading as Ashbridge Roofing). Our members are:

Paul Warburton(Chair)

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Paula Gouldthorpe

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Bob Walder

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Ashley Harrison

Ashley is our Director of Resources & Commercial Services which means he looks after the finance, procurement, IT and commercial areas of the business.

He has vast experience in working in the financial sector and is a member of the Fellowship of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (ACMA). He joined Ongo in 2015, initially joining as Head of Finance, before becoming Director of Resources and Commercial Services in 2018 after a short spell as interim Director.

A family man and part time golfer, Ashley gets a buzz from the great bunch of people he works with at Ongo.

Lee Coulson

Lee has over 25 years’ of Commercial development experience in both the private and public sector. With a wide range of roles including sales, marketing procurement, IT and operations across a variety of sectors covering fleet, office products, computer systems, waste and social housing.

Our Governance & Remuneration Committee is tasked with reviewing and making recommendations on matters concerning remuneration of non-executive members and executive staff of Ongo Group. Our Members are:

Rachel Cook (Chair)

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Melvin Kenyon

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Tracy O’Neill

Tracy began her career in Housing in 1985 securing a job with Langbaurgh Borough Council after leaving university.  She’s held a number of different positions over the last 35 years including roles in strategic housing, community regeneration, community investment and customer services.  In 2000 she was part of the stock transfer team to transfer Redcar & Cleveland BC housing assets to the newly created Large Scale Voluntary Transfer organisation Coast & Country Housing.  As the Director of Customer Services at Coast & Country she successfully led the organisation as a member of the Leadership team, achieving national accreditation for community investment, being recognised as number 6 in the Times Top 100 public sector organisations and achieving G1 V1 regulatory assessment in 2014.  In 2015 she was part of the merger implementation team to create a new 15, 000 organisation Beyond Housing.  As Executive Director for Customers & Communities at Beyond Housing, she manages over 580 colleagues and leads on repairs and maintenance, customer experience,  independent and supported living, housing management, income management and employment and skills.  Tracy has held positions on local regional and national boards including, Local Strategic  Partnership Board Tees Valley, Stronger Communities Partnership Vice Chair, Chair of the North East National Housing Federation Employment & Skills Board and the Give US A Chance National Board representing the North East.

Our Audit & Risk Committee advise the Group Board on whether the Group has robust risk management, internal control and assurance frameworks in place. Our members are:

Michael Finister-Smith (Chair)

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Rachel Cook

See info under Ongo Homes Board

John Wright

See info under Ongo Homes Board

Martin Gore

Martin is a qualified accountant, and was Finance Director to a variety of private, public and third sector organisations, prior to retiring as Director of Corporate Services at Humberside Probation Trust. Shortly after he was appointed to the board of Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and became Chair of their Audit Committee.

He is currently a board member of Together Housing and Hull Churches Housing Association, as well as being the Independent Member of the Audit Committee of UK Anti- Doping.

Having left school at sixteen he is passionate about personal development, and founded the Hull based Song for Hull project as part of the Hull City of Culture in 2017. He is also actively involved in amateur dramatics, writing several pantomimes and plays, and has published three novels.