Meet our Board members
Elisabeth Buggins CBE DL, Chair
Elisabeth trained as a health service manager before leaving the NHS to look after three children with a variety of special needs. For 18 years she worked with the voluntary sector on local, national and European projects that interfaced with health services. Returning to the NHS, Elisabeth Chaired a Trust providing community, mental health and learning disability services.
As well as being Chair at Accord, Elisabeth also Chairs East of England Academic Health Sciences Network. She has previously been a Non-Executive Director for Simplyhealth Group, the NHS Blood and Transplant Authority and Chaired the UK Organ Donation Taskforce, publishing three major reports on ways to improve organ donation. She now Chairs the UK groups established to oversee and sustain improvements.
From 2002 – 2011, Elisabeth was also Chair of the local Strategic Health Authority, and in 2009, was appointed as Programme Lead for Board Development at the NHS National Leadership Council.
Elisabeth received a CBE in the New Year’s honours list 2008 and has been appointed Deputy Lieutenant (DL).
She has a keen interest in social justice and helping people to thrive in communities, as evidenced by being a leader in the Big Feed programme, Chairing Walsall Refugee and Asylum Seekers’ Support Association and as a member of the Walsall Integration Board.
Jon Crockett, Deputy Chair and Chair of the Care & Support Committee
Jon has a degree in economics from Staffordshire University. His public service career began in 1976 with Wolverhampton Council and he subsequently worked in a range of positions in the NHS, including as Chief Executive of Wolverhampton City Primary Care Trust from its creation in April 2002, until retiring in September 2011.
During his NHS career Jon served on a number of national and regional bodies. A qualified accountant, he was elected president of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy for the Midlands in 2003, and served on its regional council for over 15 years.
Jon continues to work actively across a wide range of organisations including Chair of Citizens’ Advice Wolverhampton, the City of Wolverhampton Academies Trust and Believe to Achieve (B2A) a children’s charity. He is also a Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), Health Futures UTC and City of Wolverhampton College.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree by the University of Wolverhampton in 2010 for his considerable contribution to the provision of health and wellbeing in the region and is Visiting Professor in Health Management and Leadership at the University, where he has been working on projects including leadership, public service commissioning and dementia.
Gabrielle Berring, Board Member
Gabrielle joined Homes England in September 2019 as Director of Loans, supporting delivery of the Agency’s strategy to accelerate housing supply in England. Previously Gabrielle headed up the Real Estate Finance business at Metro Bank, having joined with a mandate to build the team and move the business to the next phase of growth. Prior to that role, Gabrielle was Head of the Major Private Groups team within Commercial Real Estate at Lloyds Bank, Gabrielle has been focused on the real estate lending sector since 2006.
Having graduated from Warwick University with a degree in Accounting & Financial Analysis, Gabrielle started her career on the graduate scheme in commercial property lending at Commercial Union (now part of Aviva). She has worked in many different financial institutions including BNP Paribas, where she was involved in capital markets issuance alongside senior debt lending.
Her experience spans commercial real estate, housing association finance, and local authority structures. She has also sat on the board at Midland Heart Housing Association, and the Finance Committee at Metropolitan Housing Trust.
Simon Eastwood, Board Member, Chair of Remuneration & Nominations Committee and Growth Champion
Simon is a Chartered Surveyor with over 30 years’ experience in the property development, regeneration and construction sectors.
He currently runs his own development consultancy business providing services to major development companies. He has previously held a number of senior roles including as Managing Director of Carillion Developments, with responsibility for the property development business in the UK and Canada, and as a Director of Manchester based Ask Real Estate.
Simon is a Board member of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and takes a keen interest in the planning, development and funding work steams of the LEP, including serving as Chair of the Board’s Funding Sub-Group.
Dr Christopher Handy OBE, LLM, Chief Executive
Chris has a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master of Law degree and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing. He received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 and in 2010 was made a Professor of Governance by Birmingham City University’s Business School. He has been Chief Executive of Accord and its precursors for over 25 years, previously working in other housing organisations and local government.
Chris is a published author with titles including ‘Housing Association Law’ Fifth Edition, published in January 2019 with Professor John Alder, and ‘Discrimination in Housing’. He is also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Housing Law. Chris is a Non-Executive Director of the Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group having previously been a Board member for the Strategic Health Authority for the Midlands and East of England. He is also a Board member of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership Board, Chairing the Board during 2018-2019, leading on housing, enterprise and the green growth agendas for the region.
Ninder Johal, Board Member and Communications Champion
Ninder is CEO of the Nachural Group - a music and media production company.
Until recently he was the President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce (two-year term) and was runner up in the Sunday Times Non-Executive Director of the Year.
Ninder is Chair of the Black Country LEP Broadband Group, Chair of Charity Steps to Work, Vice Chair of Sandwell College, Governor of Wolverhampton University, Trustee of Victoria Park Academy, Trustee of the Albion Foundation, a Board member of the West Midlands Growth Company and Director of the Black Country Consortium. He also holds Board positions on the Black Country LEP and the West Midlands Combined Authority and is a patron of the charity Access to Business.
Mushtaq Khan, Board Member & Chair of Homes & Communities Committee
Mushtaq is a distinguished solicitor, former President of Birmingham Law Society and an experienced Board Director.
He has over 20 years' of legal practice experience including at a senior level at a national corporate law firm. He is highly recommended as a leading lawyer in the respected legal directory of Chambers & Partners UK.
Mushtaq cares passionately about improving lives in communities. He actively supports organisations and initiatives with shared values, he has for more than 10 years, supporting organisations in the housing, education and NHS sector as a board member.
He is the founder of the schools initiative, “Inspiring Communities” which he works in partnership with Birmingham City University and Central England Law Centre. It is an outreach school project to inspire students to consider a career in the legal profession and to get involved in helping their local communities.
Mushtaq is a current Board member of Birmingham Education Partnership that is focused on school improvements to over 500 schools. He is also an NHSI Director of West Midlands Ambulance University NHS Foundation Trust.
Stella Layton, Board Member
Stella runs her own consultancy business, SLSP Ltd. Her expertise is in change management & business turnaround; acquisitions & dispositions; manufacturing; systems and global business.
As well as being an experienced Non-Exec Director and Chair, her previous positions include Chief Executive and Assay Master of the Birmingham Assay Office, where she and her team drove the relocation of the business from its 130 year home to a new purpose built building. As well as upgrading systems and business processes to be fit for the 21st century, the relocation was so successful it resulted in an industry award for customer service.
Stella holds an Honorary Doctorate of Science for achievements in international business and has an MBA.
With over 30 years’ experience of the global precious metals industry, she was Global Precious Metals Divisional Director for Cookson Group PLC, a division that spanned eight territories, 1,000 employees and generated a turnover of £2.5 billion.
She has held Non-Exec positions in the NHS, at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust and the Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
Stella is also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and has been a Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council and Chair of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust in Birmingham. She held the position of Chair of the British Jewellery Association from 2004 - she was the first women to hold this role - and she was also the inaugural winner the Confederation of the British Industries First Woman of Manufacturing in 2005.
Christina Patterson, Board Member
Christina Patterson is a writer and broadcaster. She writes for The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Daily Mail about society, culture, politics, books and the arts. A former chief executive of The Poetry Society and columnist at The Independent, she has interviewed Nobel laureates, poets, rock stars and politicians. She was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for her campaigning work to raise standards in nursing and has contributed to books on poetry, literature and health.
She’s a regular commentator on radio and TV news programmes and a regular guest on the Sky News press preview. Her first book, The Art of Not Falling Apart, published last year, was picked as a Book of the Year by The Mail on Sunday and The New Statesman. It was hailed by The Times as “a beautifully written and uplifting memoir” and by The Mail on Sunday as “a manual on how to survive in the 21st century”.
She also does writing and consultancy work for businesses and charities. She has been to Ethiopia to interview coffee farmers, to Sicily to interview trafficked sex workers and wrote the 2018 World Alzheimer Report about the state of global dementia research. She has been on a number of boards, most recently Shaw Trust, a charity which helps people enter work, develop their career, improve their wellbeing or rebuild their lives.
Sean Pearce, Board Member and Chair of the Finance, Risk & Audit Committee
Sean is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, Ofqual. Sean has over 25 years’ experience of working with and in the public sector and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Council and their Chair of the Standards and Financial Reporting Board.
Sean’s background includes being a Governor and Chair of Audit Committee of a large Further Education College in the Midlands as well as working across local and central government whilst at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the late 1990s and 2000s. More recently as an experienced Finance and Corporate Services Director Sean has held senior positions as a Deputy Director of Resources in the NHS, the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at a County Council and the Finance Director at the West Midlands Combined Authority. Sean is passionate about public service and providing services to residents and service users in our communities.