Our mission and purpose

As the professional body for people who work in housing, the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards, we exist to support housing professionals to create a future in which everyone has a place to call home.

We promote the art and science of housing and act in the interest of our members and  the wider public.

View our corporate plan 2021-2024

We have outlined our objectives for the next three years in our corporate plan.


Who are we?

CIH is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. This means that the money we make is put back into the organisation and funds the activities we carry out to support the housing sector.

We have a diverse membership of people who work in both the public and private sectors, in 20 countries on five continents across the world.

How we are run

We were granted a Royal Charter in 1984 and our work is governed by our Royal Charter and Byelaws, overseen by the Privy Council.

We are also a registered charity, with education at the core of our charitable status. That means we must comply with the requirements of the law relating to charities. Our activities are regulated by the Charity Commissioners in England and Wales, and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in Scotland.

England charity number 244067/R and Scotland number SCO40324.

Meet the team
Governing board

Our governing board works closely with the executive team to set the strategic direction of our business. The board meet four times a year, to guide the work of CIH and ensure we continue to provide excellent support for our members and the wider housing community.

The members of the board come from across the UK, from the public and private sectors, and bring with them a wealth of unique experience and knowledge.

Geraldine Howley FCIH - chair. executive chair, The GEM Programme

Anne Chapman CIHCM – chair Audit and risk committee. assistant director - governance and compliance, Golding Homes

Evie Copland CIHM - CX lead, Berwickshire Housing Association

Aileen Evans CIHCM - chief executive, Grand Union Housing

Hannah Louise Harvey CIHCM - executive director operations, Saffron Housing Trust

Jill Haley FCIH- CIH vice president 

John Hannigan FCIH - chief executive officer, Circle Housing Group

Chan Kataria OBE, BSc (Hons), FCIH, MBA - group chief executive, EMH Group

Elly Hoult FCIH - executive director, Peabody

Jo Richardson FCIH - professor of housing and social research

Lara Oyedele CIHCM - CIH president and chair, Hope Housing

Foluke Sangobowale CIHM, LLB (Hons), MBA - head of neighbourhood management (London), Network Homes Limited


Executive team

The executive team is made up of senior colleagues from across the business and drives the strategy set by our governing board.

Our mission at CIH is simple - we support housing professionals to create a future in which everyone has a place to call home.

We conduct research, provide policy analysis, training, qualifications, events and much more to equip our members and the wider housing profession with the skills, knowledge and expertise they need to be the best that they can be. We are also one of the leading voices on housing policy across the UK. 

The executive team is responsible for driving this mission and our strategy to make it a reality. 

Gavin Smart - chief executive officer

Josie Twinning - director of membership and partnerships

James Prestwich - director of policy and external affairs

Sarah Dunkerley - director of knowledge and learning

Sue Leppington - director of finance and central services

Jo Munns - company secretary

Presidential team

Our presidential team are the ambassadors for CIH. Find out more about their roles and meet the president and vice-president below.

The president and vice-president should each:

  • Be an effective leader for the profession and an ambassador for CIH
  • Be an inspirational figure for CIH members and the wider housing sector and provide "challenge" for improvement
  • Be a "champion" for housing issues
  • Lead CIH’s international relationships and development work
  • Be one of the "public faces" of CIH alongside the governing board chair and chief executive and attend CIH and other events as a speaker and spokesperson
  • Promote the housing profession and seek to ensure that the profession is not brought into disrepute and use their best endeavours to protect CIH’s reputation
  • Have some responsibility for seeking to ensure that the broad governance of the CIH is effective
  • Be regarded as an informal natural arbiter
  • Communicate with members and the wider housing sector on important matters of housing policy and professionalism
  • Undertake international liaison (including overseas visits) in line with CIH objectives and policies decided by the governing board
  • Be an ex-officio (non-voting) governing board member, with a right to attend and speak and be bound by its decisions and support the task of recruiting trustees
  • Set, or have set, a specific strategic objective or project to be undertaken during their term of office

CIH president 2022/23 – Lara Oyedele

CIH vice-president 2022 - Jill Haley

Our history

The history of housing management, and the Chartered Institute of Housing, was sparked by the work of pioneers of social reform opposed to appalling housing conditions in the second half of the 19th century.

The 1800's

In 1884-1885 the Royal Commission on the Housing of Working Classes published a report that detailed with shocking clarity the poor conditions in which many people were living.

At the same time, forward-thinking social reformers like Victorian socialist, philanthropist and educationalist Octavia Hill, recognised the need for improved housing for the poor and the reform of housing in England began.

The end of the 1800's

Octavia Hill (1838-1912) initiated the profession of housing management, first managing two small groups of dilapidated houses in Marylebone, London in 1865 and 1866.

She rented her properties on weekly or short-term tenancies, employing trained female housing managers, who were equipped to deal with repairs, welfare issues and rent accounting, to collect rents in person.

The start of the 1900's

She continued this pioneering work throughout her life and in 1916 women who had trained under her founded the Association of Women Housing Workers.

The association grew and changed its name to the Society of Housing Managers in 1948.

Mid 1900's

In 1931, a group of local government officers from housing departments in the West Midlands established the Institute of Housing.

The roots of CIH were in the Institute of Housing, which held the first Housing conference in 1931, developed its own qualifying examination and published the first issue of Housing magazine in 1938.

Late 1900's

The institute worked alongside the Society of Housing Managers until finally the two groups merged on 24th February 1965, forming the Institute of Housing Managers. This marked the start of the modern era for CIH.

In 1974 the organisation was renamed the Institute of Housing to reflect the wider role being undertaken by housing professionals.

The institute received its Royal Charter in 1984 and reflected this in its name in 1994, when it became the Chartered Institute of Housing.

That’s how we became the organisation we are today.

In February 1999 CIH merged with the former Institute of Rent Officers and launched HouseMark later that year.

The 2000's

CIH responded to the devolution agenda by establishing national business units in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales from January 2006

To meet the growing interest in the housing profession worldwide, CIH introduced international membership in January 2007. We now have members in five continents and branches in Canada, Hong Kong and China.