CIH were granted a Royal Charter in 1984 and our work is governed by our Royal Charter and Byelaws, overseen by the Privy Council.

We are also a registered charity, with education at the core of our charitable status. That means we must comply with the requirements of the law relating to charities. Our activities are regulated by the Charity Commissioners in England and Wales, and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in Scotland.

Presidential team

Our presidential team are the ambassadors for CIH.

Jill Murray BA FCIH - president

"I am very honoured to be elected by our members as the next vice president and it is with the sincerest gratitude that I will take up the role. I have worked in housing for 41 years and I have been a qualified CIH professional for the majority of that time.  I really want to give something back to the profession, by raising the profile of housing and increasing awareness of the sectors social value and purpose."

Jill Murray BA FCIH - president


For this year's presidential campaign, Jill Murray BA FCIH has developed Be EPIC. Be EPIC champions the elements that make us competent professionals, highlighting how technical competencies must be coupled with personal competencies and behaviors, continued learning and hard work to be successful.

Find out more

Elly Hoult FCIH - vice president, chief operating officer, Peabody

Elly Hoult FCIH, CIH vice president, chief operating officer, Peabody

Elly Hoult is Group Director of Assets and Sustainability at Notting Hill Genesis (NHG), focusing on compliance, sustainability, strategic asset investment and energy provision.

Prior to this role, Elly led the integration process post-merger of Notting Hill and Genesis, also worked at Orbit Group and A2Dominion Group. She is a Governing Board Member at the Chartered Institute of Housing and a representative on the sounding board for the new Decent Homes Standard. Elly is a champion of diversity and sits on the National Housing Federation EDI steering group.

Presidential campaign - Be EPIC

No matter who you are, home is the place where everything begins and if you work hard, you can achieve anything you want, no matter where you come from. The work we do as housing professionals is so important, that's why for this year's presidential campaign, Jill Murray BA FCIH has developed Be EPIC.

Be EPIC champions the elements that can make us competent professionals, highlighting how technical competencies must be coupled with personal competencies and behaviors, continued learning and hard work to be successful. The campaign will promote how an incredible career in housing can be achieved, alongside the diverse range of job opportunities that are on offer in the sector.


Find out more about their roles and meet the president and vice-president below:

The president and vice-president should each:
  • Be an effective leader for the profession and an ambassador for CIH
  • Be an inspirational figure for CIH members and the wider housing sector and provide "challenge" for improvement
  • Be a "champion" for housing issues
  • Lead CIH’s international relationships and development work
  • Be one of the "public faces" of CIH alongside the governing board chair and chief executive and attend CIH and other events as a speaker and spokesperson
  • Promote the housing profession and seek to ensure that the profession is not brought into disrepute and use their best endeavours to protect CIH’s reputation
  • Have some responsibility for seeking to ensure that the broad governance of the CIH is effective
  • Be regarded as an informal natural arbiter
  • Communicate with members and the wider housing sector on important matters of housing policy and professionalism
  • Undertake international liaison (including overseas visits) in line with CIH objectives and policies decided by the governing board
  • Be an ex-officio (non-voting) governing board member, with a right to attend and speak and be bound by its decisions and support the task of recruiting trustees
  • Set, or have set, a specific strategic objective or project to be undertaken during their term of office

Governing board

Our governing board works closely with the executive team to set the strategic direction of our business. The board meet four times a year, to guide the work of CIH and ensure we continue to provide excellent support for our members and the wider housing community.

The members of the board come from across the UK, from the public and private sectors, and bring with them a wealth of unique experience and knowledge.

Ria Bailes, bailes Partners Consulting

Ria bailes, Bailes Partners Consulting

Ria is the founding director of BPC and has spent 16 years in the housing sector. Her previous role was Executive Director at One Housing, a member of the G15. Ria has executive and non-executive director experience and specialises in improving business performance through effective leadership and people strategies.

James Ballantyne, chair, CIH Futures and process design lead, Legal and General Affordable Homes

James Ballantyne, chair, CIH Futures and process design lead, Legal and General Affordable Homes

James is a Housing Professional based in Somerset, in the Southwest of England, who specialises in projects and business design. James currently works for Legal & General Affordable Homes, has worked for a number of housing providers in London and the Southwest of England, and is a Non-Exec Director for Magna. A firm believer in the power the housing sector has to support and grow communities across the country, James champions good housing quality and innovation in housing delivery. Passionate about supporting young professionals to reach their potential, and ensure that professionalism is seen as a key part of your career when looking to make a difference in the housing sector.

Joseph Carr, Savills Housing Consultancy

Joseph Carr, Savills Housing Consultancy

Joseph is a qualified accountant of 30+ years with Big Four accounting experience. He has been associated with the sector on and off for the majority of his working life – very early on in the finance team of the Hyde Housing Group and more than a decade heading up finance policy at the NHF. He has since worked for Altair Consultancy, for MORhomes, the housing association bond aggregator, and he’s currently with Savills Housing Consultancy

He has also held Board a number of roles, serving as the Chair of Longhurst’s Treasury and Finance Committee and he currently sits on the group Board of mhs and Chairs the Finance Audit and Risk Committee

From these roles, he has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in the finance and business models across the spectrum of social housing providers. His experience includes advising and working closely with exec teams, Boards and the regulator on financial accounting and reporting, treasury, pensions, tax, risk management, compliance, governance and mergers

Aileen Evans CIHCM, vice chair, group chief executive, Grand Union Housing Group

Aileen Evans CIHCM

Aileen Evans is the chief executive officer of Grand Union Housing Group. At the end of June 2021, she completed her term as the president of the Chartered Institute of Housing, the professional body for those working in housing.

A qualified coach and NLP master practitioner, she is interested in understanding healthy organisational cultures and the impact on performance. As an emerging mental health campaigner, she was, as part of her presidential campaign, working with the mental health charity MIND to guide housing organisations on creating mental health organisations and had set a fundraising target of £50K to support MIND.

John Hannigan FCIH - chief executive officer, Circle Housing Group

John Hannigan is a well-known leading voice and driver in the delivery of social and affordable housing in Ireland. As CEO of one of Ireland’s top 5 Approved Housing Bodies, Circle VHA and as chair of The Housing Alliance, he strives for the industry to ‘do more’ in its contribution to ‘Housing for All’, to challenge the barriers to delivery and to be innovative in its approach to meet social and affordable housing targets, providing much needed homes to those in housing need.

During his 6 year tenure at the helm of Circle VHA, John has exponentially grown the portfolio of the company’s social and affordable homes and managed services, delivered on its growing direct construction projects, engaged in creative collaborations and partnerships and agreed innovative funding deals with national institutions.

John has over 30 years’ experience in the housing sector, including senior roles with Sunbeam House Services and Respond Housing Association, Senior Executive Level roles with KPMG, Grant Thornton and EY, and as Group Director and Company Secretary in the UK for large Registered Social Landlords (Accord and Prime Focus), leading him to esteemed titles as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing, a Fellow of the Association of Certified Accountants and a Chartered member of the Institute of Directors. John is also a member of the Board of ICSH, Chair of the CIH Ireland and a member of the CIH Governing Board and Chair of its Audit and Risk Committee

Hannah Louise Harvey CIHCM - executive director operations, Saffron Housing Trust

I have been in the housing sector for 10 years and it’s fair to say am inspired by it every day. However, I have come to recognise the responsibility that I have as a leader, who also identifies as LGBTQ+, for raising awareness of the deep inequity that still exists in our sector. Figures recently published by The Williams Institute highlight that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+.  This disproportionate reality got me thinking about service design, the challenges the housing sector has attracting and retaining diverse talent and the role that we play as the CIH in creating a positive, professional culture within our industry.  

We need to challenge government, stakeholders and our members to think creatively about the capacity challenges that exist in today’s complex environment, both to attract and retain a diverse talent pool of professionals and aspiring advocates. We also need to position housing as a professional career of choice that is inclusive and proactive in attracting underrepresented communities, such as LGBTQ+, BAME and young people. When the leadership across our sector reflects the demographic of our social housing communities, I feel that we will have achieved something important.

My proudest moment was sitting at a table at the Housing Heroes Awards in Manchester and seeing Saffron tenants winning ‘highly commended’ in the tenant of the year category for a new pioneering approach to service, involvement structures and the development of a new Tenant Charter, created by the tenants and only enabled by myself and colleagues.  That is a clue to how I like to work and what matters to me

As CIH vice president I would advocate, promote and challenge:

  • A sector where our leadership and governance structures reflect the demographic in the housing communities that we support
  • Housing as a career of choice for diverse entrants at all levels
  • Encouragement and practical support for our members to go beyond ‘involvement and co design’ and work with tenants and residents to design services together that improve standards, access and experience for all
  • Work with the media, our members and other professional bodies to drive the national agenda and support the sector in tackling the challenges shaped by the unprecedented operating environment.
  • Shift the sector narrative from issue-led individual news stories and problems to cohesive, compelling, trends with clear solutions. Positioning CIH as a credible, prestigious professional body who can harness sentiment, tackle complex objectives and channel multiple influence groups to make a difference to the challenges the sector is facing.

I am a working mum with four children, one of whom has type 1 diabetes. My wife and I are used to juggling multiple balls, against a backdrop of discrimination and assumption. Through this, I have developed a drive, energy and style that does not leave any voice unheard or any platform underutilised. It would be a privilege if I could use this to advocate on behalf of the CIH and the positive things that we are all achieving to help our sector at this challenging time.

Geraldine Howley FCIH - chair. executive chair, The GEM Programme

Geraldine Howley FCIH, chair, executive chair of the GEM Programme

Geraldine Howley was appointed chair of the Chartered Institute of Housing governing board in 2018, with associated global responsibilities. She is also co-founder and executive chair of the GEM Programme, which develops upcoming housing talent in the U.K. and overseas. Geraldine is an active member of the International Housing Partnership with a special interest in talent development. She is also a board member of MORhomes PLC an innovative borrowing vehicle for the UK social housing sector, Chair of the International Housing partnership and Chair of the Housing Partnership UK and Ireland.  Geraldine has recently been appointed as Chair Designate for Together Housing Group. 

Chan Kataria OBE, BSc (Hons), FCIH, MBA - group chief executive, EMH Group

Chan is the group chief executive of emh group, a housing and care group with a turnover of £130m, 1,100 employees and over 20,000 homes in management. The group is a major developer of affordable homes and a provider of care and support services in the East Midlands. Prior to this role, Chan worked for various local, regional, and national housing organisations. He is also a non-executive director in several organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) professional body and Housemark. Outside of the sector, Chan is a Board member of a regional hospice, an FE college, and the CBI regional council.

Foluke Sangobowale CIHM, LLB (Hons), MBA - head of neighbourhood management (London), Network Homes Limited

Foluke Sangobowale

Foluke has worked in the social housing sector for an extensive number of years starting her career at Peabody Trust and has experience dealing with specialist and complex housing management cases.

Foluke is currently the head of neighbourhood management  (London) and support services at Sovereign Network Group. Foluke has supported equality, diversity and inclusion projects, led change and worked on a number of housing management projects such as the Welfare reforms rollout project, service delivery projects, Community safety projects, IT implementation projects and most recently the merger integration project. She has qualifications in law, risk, governance, compliance and business management.

Foluke is passionate about having more professionals join and stay in the housing industry and for that reason, she actively mentors other aspiring leaders. Also, she is passionate about having more representation of diversity on Boards. She is a member of the Governance, Ethics, Remuneration and Nominations (GERN)  committee of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) as well as the chair of a school board. She also sits on CIH’s Awarding Organisation Committee as the link Trustee to the CIH board.  Foluke was co-opted to the governing board in May 2023. 

The executive team

The executive team is made up of senior colleagues from across the business and drives the strategy set by our governing board.

Our mission at CIH is simple - we support housing professionals to create a future in which everyone has a place to call home.

We conduct research, provide policy analysis, training, qualifications, events and much more to equip our members and the wider housing profession with the skills, knowledge and expertise they need to be the best that they can be. We are also one of the leading voices on housing policy across the UK. 

The executive team is responsible for driving this mission and our strategy to make it a reality.

Gavin Smart - chief executive

Gavin Smart, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Housing

Gavin Smart CIHCM is chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Housing. Prior to joining CIH, Gavin was assistant director of research and futures at the National Housing Federation from 2004 to 2012. Born in Cardiff, Gavin studied public administration at the Polytechnic of Wales and then gained an MSc in sociology at the University of Bristol, where he worked as a research associate on projects for the Department of the Environment, Housing Corporation, Scottish Office and local authorities.

James Prestwich - director of policy and external affairs

James Prestwich, director of policy and external affairs, Chartered Institute of Housing

James Prestwich joined CIH in early 2020 from the National Housing Federation (NHF) where he held the role of head of policy. Before joining the NHF in 2016, James had roles at the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Homes and Communities Agency and several housing associations.

Sarah Dunkerley - director of knowledge and learning

Sarah Dunkerly, director of knowledge and learning, Chartered Institute of Housing

Sarah Dunkerley CIHM has been the director of professional development at the Chartered Institute of Housing since April 2019. With a passion for vocational education and professional development, throughout her career Sarah has been involved in delivering, developing and quality assuring qualifications and standards across a range of occupational areas – from energy efficiency to procurement and supply. Prior to joining CIH, Sarah held various roles in the further education, awarding and professional body sector, always striving to achieve valuable opportunities for individuals to improve and progress in their career.

Jo Munns - company secretary

Details to follow.

About us
Find out how we support our diverse membership of housing professionals to create a future in which everyone has a place to call home
Become a member
As a CIH member you will gain access to the latest sector-leading knowledge and best practice, free attendance our events and training, and much more.
Work for CIH
Our work is driven by a passionate belief that our contribution as housing professionals is vital to making communities great places to live and work.