Paul Hackett Suit Bondi
Paul Hackett CBE Chief Executive at Southern Housing

"Merging two large organisations at a time when the operating conditions we face are among the toughest I can remember has been one of the biggest professional challenges that I’ve undoubtably faced in over 30 years in housing.

Yet as I reflect on the first anniversary passing of when Optivo and Southern Housing Group merged – I find myself still extremely excited about what the future will offer under Southern Housing.

The major driving force for coming together was the opportunity to create a resilient organisation that enhanced the service offer for residents by leveraging our scale and density. To that end, we’ve been working tirelessly to integrate systems, workforce and improve processes over the past 12 months.

We co-created an extensive new resident governance structure to involve residents in scrutiny, decision-making and the shaping of services. To ensure residents’ voices are embedded into the heart of our new organisation we’ve appointed an unprecedented four residents to our Board. Co-creation projects prioritising service improvements and complaints handling are already under-way with residents and our first pieces of co-created work such as the Building Safety strategy are out for consultation. 

Dockley Street View CGI

We’ve invested more in existing homes to ensure they are safe, energy efficient and up to the Decent Homes Standard, and will have built over 1000 new homes this year – several of which have won awards for design and affordability.

Our people change programme is 83% complete and has been driven by the premise of retaining skills while we also add resources to front line teams such as Repairs which is of such importance to resident satisfaction.

Importantly 95% of our colleagues have been through our Southern Service training programme which underpins our commitment to delivering amazing customer service.

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I’m enormously proud that we’ve also placed a comprehensive commitment to diversity and inclusion at the heart of Southern Housing. We believe that a diverse workforce will enables us to better serve our residents and communities. We will continue to drive this at every level of Southern Housing.

We’ve also made significant strides in integrating legacy systems while investing in a new data roadmap and the technology that will make our decision making quicker, resident access easier, and ultimately the services we offer more effective in the future.

In the wider world we’ve also not been shy in talking to government about the importance of long-term financial certainty for our sector so we can continue to deliver new homes and great service to residents.

There are many other elements to share that I am equally proud of, so I am going to ask my colleagues over the next few weeks to share their year one stories with you too.

Southern Housing was built on a shared commitment between two organisations to building homes and communities that people feel proud to live in.

We’ve begun our journey towards that goal in very turbulent times, but I could not be more grateful to the colleagues, residents, contractor partners and others who have helped us achieve so much during our first 12 months."

Our news

All Articles
  • 16 February 2024

Technology: the engine of a merger

Puneet Rajput Quote
  • 08 February 2024

Blog: Delivering effective resident governance

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  • 06 February 2024

Blog: A merging opinion -  they work best when residents are at their heart

  • 28 January 2024

Blog: Reflecting on the successes and challenges of the merger journey

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  • 26 January 2024

Blog: Hoping to achieve a balance in the relationship of equals

  • 23 January 2024

Blog: Delivering an effective ASB handling service

  • 16 January 2024

Blog: Improving our data input

Social Media Posts Dave Burton
  • 09 January 2024
  • Resident Involvement

Blog: The Resident Scrutiny Panel – our year one journey

Lonliness And Isolation Launch 21
  • 09 January 2024

Blog: Listening to and acting upon residents’ feedback to shape our care services

  • 21 December 2023

Blog: Repairing trust

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  • 18 December 2023
  • Sustainability

Our new Environmental Sustainability Strategy

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  • 30 November 2023

Our annual review 2022-23

Featured in the photo (from left to right): Bunmi Atta (Director of Construction at Southern Housing), Mike Link (Chair of the ABE CLT), Cllr Michael Warden (Chair of Aldingbourne Parish Council) and Steve Underwood (Development Manager at Southern Housing).
  • 25 October 2023

New homes delivered at Wings Wood development in Chichester

  • 19 September 2023
  • New developments

Final brick laid at New Kent Road development

Milestone At Southwark Development
  • 15 September 2023
  • New developments

Milestone at our Southwark development

Rosemary House
  • 18 July 2023
  • Sustainability

Topping out at The Green Quarter

The Mannings
  • 11 July 2023
  • Sustainability

Topping out at new low carbon housing project