New Housing Executive chairman is chosen

Nelson McCausland The chair and deputy chair of the Housing Executive have been chosen by Nelson McCausland

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The new chairman of the Housing Executive has been chosen by the Social Development Minister.

He is Donald Hoodless, who is currently based in London. The new vice-chairman is Professor Peter Roberts from Huddersfield.

Mr Hoodless was formerly chief executive of Notting Hill Housing Trust.

The previous Executive chairman, Brian Rowntree, resigned before his term of office was due to expire.

In an email to its 3,000 staff, Mr Rowntree wrote of "personal stress" and "a challenging relationship" with the Department for Social Development.

He left in advance of a Public Accounts Committee report which revealed there had been "serious weaknesses" in the management of Housing Executive contracts worth more than £200m.

It also said the housing body was exposed to fraud because of major problems in the oversight of work carried out by contractors. Some of the claims related to its former contractor Red Sky.

The new appointments will be seen as key to pushing through reforms at the Housing Executive which owns and maintains around 90,000 publicly-owned houses in Northern Ireland.

Details of a Department for Social Development review which will involve significant restructuring of the organisation are expected to be announced before the end of the year.

It is understood that a paper has been circulated to the Northern Ireland Executive at Stormont setting out the minister's proposals for the future of the organisation.

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