An insight into the Genesis and Thames Valley merger process

Housing association mergers take time to move from concept and become reality. Neil Hadden from Genesis gives an insight into what’s involved when two major housing organisation start coming together.

In November 2015 we announced that Genesis and Thames Valley Housing Associations were in discussions about a possible merger.  The reality is that discussions began as far back as last February (and even before that on a no-names basis).  The point here is that these things take time.

When I discussed receiving an approach with the Board, they were keen to make sure it did not become a distraction, deflecting us from implementing the outcomes of the transformation programme we had embarked on the previous year.  I was authorised to continue the discussion on this basis (NB: this was all well before the NHF Code on Mergers was published).

In May we took an ‘Inception’ paper to the two Boards.  This essentially described the concept of the merger and the high level benefits it would bring – essentially being able to fund the delivery of many more new homes.  Both Boards agreed that we should move to the production of an Outline Business Case, the purpose of which was to prove the concept and demonstrate that the benefits could be delivered.

The OBC was considered by the two Boards towards the end of October and both agreed to move forward, triggering the announcement in November.  I think we did remarkably well to keep our discussions quiet given the febrile environment within the sector and many rumours of other mergers which may or may not take place.  So what has happened since?

A lot of hard work, meetings, discussions, due diligence, re-casting, reforecasting etc. etc.  Towards the end of January we produced the Full Business Case for consideration by the Boards.  A number of outstanding issues were identified or further information was requested.  These are in the process of being resolved.  We have appointed the Chair, Deputy Chair, and the remainder of the Shadow Board, which will meet for the first time at the end of the month.  I have been confirmed as the Chief Executive and Geeta Nanda as the Deputy Chief Executive of the new organisation, and we have started the process of recruiting to the remainder of the Executive team posts.  Reports are being produced on all the outstanding items ready for the next round of Board meetings.  We are still on track to merge on 1st July, subject to HCA and funders consents.

What have we not done?  We have not agreed a name or logo for the new organisation…. What was I saying about distractions?