Staffordshire Housing Group was formed in 1984 to provide social housing and related services to local people. With a turnover approaching £20 million and over 300 staff and volunteers, Diane Lea is working with commissioners and partners to grow Staffordshire Housing and make a social and environmental difference in Staffordshire.
With Staffordshire Housing Group operating successfully as a housing provider, the business began to grow dramatically and acquired Arch, a local support services charity, in 2012. “We were looking to merge two companies so we had different staff structures, different business structures and different governance structures.” Diane worked with her team to wrestle with the logistics of managing a growing company in an environment of austerity and government cuts, focusing less on money and more on being able to help as many people as possible. “The charity world is different but the principles are exactly the same – it’s got to be well run, well managed and deliver really good quality services at the other side.”
A colleague who had already been a Vistage member for one year discussed the Vistage formula to Diane and she knew right away that this was what she needed. By becoming a part of a Vistage group, Diane was able to discuss the growth of the business with other CEOs and help her team to solve issues differently. “I think Vistage was absolutely right for me and for this business. We’re a public-private type organisation and while Vistage is predominantly private sector businesses, I think it’s given a new angle to how we think through business decisions.” Through Vistage, Diane also receives one-to-one expert advice from her group chair Alan Cook to discuss and implement effective actions.
“We’ve been able to drive deficiencies out of the business which has meant that we’ve turned a deficit into a profit. I think that this is significantly down to using the brains in Vistage”
- As a result of the Staffordshire Housing / Arch merger and integrating both organisation’s head offices into one, £48k was saved in direct office costs (rent and rates) in the first year.
- By merging both central corporate functions (ICT, Finance, Communications, HR) a cost-effective resource for the group was created which increased the capacity for future business development.
- By restructuring teams and reducing duplication of work and roles, Staffordshire Housing created greater capacity and reduced expenditure, including saving over 80% in Arch printing costs.