The Democratic Body is made up of eleven tenant representatives, eight employee representatives and two local authority representatives. The Democratic Body are there to represent the Members and make key decisions on vital services, such as:

  • Supporting the development of the business plan
  • The approval of the Corporate Strategy (this is the values and plan that Merthyr Valleys Homes will work to)
  • Reviewing vital services that tenants receive
  • Getting involved in reviewing future rent setting
  • Approving future appointments of Non-Executive Directors and the Chief Executive

Democratic Body Representatives

Tenant RepresentativesEmployee Representatives
Nigel Phillips-Gunter Marcus Powell (Chair)
Fran Bevan Julie McCarthy (Vice Chair)
Tracey Powell Jo Crumb
Sue Patman Leah Wilson
Julie Haynes Nicholas Lyons
Marlene Burns Andrea Jarvis
Mark Williams Sarah Williams
Linda Bedford Taryn Williams
Barbara Griffiths



The Board are appointed by Democratic Body to deliver the Gyda’n Gilydd strategy, which sets out what our Members want our Mutual to focus on over a 3-year period. Board delegate responsibility for achieving this strategy to the Executive Team at MVH but meet with them regularly to ensure that not only are those objectives being delivered, but that the organisation is regularly gathering feedback from our tenants, employees and wider communities. This is to ensure that decisions made by Board take into account the views and wishes of those who live in our homes and communities, and those that work for and with our Mutual. Board also ensures that the Mutual is compliant with all laws and regulations applicable to a community housing provider, that we provide good quality homes and services to tenants, and that our business is sound and financially viable both now and in the future for tenants and their families.

Chris is the Good Practice Exchange Manager at the Wales Audit Office (WAO), and is responsible for the development and implementation of the Wales Audit Office approach to sharing good practice across public services. This led to a significant shift in the role of the WAO and has been recognised as effective and innovative by stakeholders and peers in addition to independent reviews. In 2018 Chris was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to study large scale cooperatives in the Basque Country (NE Spain) and New England (USA). Chris truly believes that the future of Wales lies in economic activity that is rooted in, and democratically controlled by its communities, cooperatives and mutuals.

Chris is a Trustee Board Member of Cartrefi Cooperative, which supports people to live good lives in the community, and is also a member of the Co-production Network for Wales Advisory Panel.

Chris was born in Nelson, and has been connected with Merthyr Tydfil all of his life.

Carol has been a HR professional for over 30 years having worked in various sectors (not for profit; NHS, education and commercial) and is a Fellow of the CIPD. She brings a wide range of skills and experience to the role of board member which she has gained by working in the UK, Australia, USA, Argentina, Netherlands, Switzerland and Singapore.

Carol was born in Cardiff and lived in Wiltshire for a short time, but returned to Cardiff to finish her school education locally. Carol then moved to Australia for 7 years before returning to Wales. She returned to Australia on two more occasions to live and work but finally settled in Cardiff when she had her daughter. Carol is married and now blessed with a grandson and a granddaughter.

Carol also has a long history with the Scout Association having been a Cub Scout Leader, Assistant Area Commissioner for Leader Training and a District Commissioner. She is currently the Chair of the Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Scout Council Appointments Committee and a trainer covering aspects of leadership and working with adults.

Rhiannon’s background spans public and third sector roles with a focus on sustainable development and community development. Currently, Rhiannon is a Change Maker with the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales with the remit of climate, nature and decarbonisation. Her role supports public bodies including the Welsh Government to deliver policy in line with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act as well as delivering on their own well-being objectives. Prior to joining the Commissioner’s Office Rhiannon was Wales Manager with Living Streets, a charity advocating for everyday walking, clean air and transport decarbonisation. During this time, Rhiannon undertook an 8-month secondment to the Senedd Environment and Transport research team supporting Members of the Senedd with their work on decarbonisation and fuel poverty, including the Warm Homes Programme. Prior to this Rhiannon spent ten years leading on the Rural Development Programme for Bridgend County Borough Council and four years with Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales. Rhiannon is currently renovating and retrofitting a Victorian terrace house in Cardiff where she lives with her husband and two children.

Neil is an IT Professional with over 30 years public service experience, delivering large scale organisational change with positive outcomes into the community. Recently working regionally and nationally to deliver the Welsh Community Care Information System (WCCIS) into all Welsh Local Authorities and Health Boards. This national system will provide one golden record for Wales between Social Care and the NHS.

Neil has a Computer Science Degree from Swansea University, is a practitioner for Prince2/MSP/AgilePM and is also a LEAN Black Belt from Cardiff University in continuous improvement. Neil believes that if you continuously improve there is less need for transformation, everyone should have the autonomy to improve things; also, too much focus is made on shiny new IT systems when we should concentrate on good leadership and positive behaviours to successfully deliver change.

Neil is originally from Swansea but now lives in Bridgend.

Jon has worked solely within the fields of community safety and housing and has a strong belief that society should protect the vulnerable (wherever possible). This belief continues to drive him and his interest in community safety has grown stronger since obtaining an MSc in the subject along the way. Jon started his career in community safety at the 2006 launch of the 101 contact centre in Cardiff and subsequently worked for Cardiff Council, Newport City Homes and Trivallis. In 2019, he moved to Monmouthshire Housing Association as Head of Neighbourhoods.

Some of Jon’s key achievements include the implementation of a UK first information sharing pilot with South Wales Police (winning ‘Innovation of the Year’ 2018 at the Chartered Institute of Housing UK Housing Awards); development and successful implementation of case management software with a Cardiff based company (now being trialled by the NHS for UK rollout); and helping to shape the ‘Review Together’ pilot looking and trauma informed approaches to housing.

Jon lives in Cardiff. He is married, and is a proud dad to two children. He has represented Wales and Great Britain in Fullbore target rifle, and spends his ‘spare time’ training for the occasional marathon or obstacle course race, and most recently has become a committed road cyclist and downhill mountain biker.

Gemma has worked in the housing sector for over 15 years both within a local authority setting and at a senior level within a community based housing association. Gemma has a degree in Housing Studies, and graduated with a Masters in Public Sector Leadership and Management. She is a qualified project manager and has been an organisational lead for “Lean thinking and Lean reviews” to drive continuous improvement.

Gemma has been a CIH mentor for junior housing staff and first time line managers and has a keen interest in organisational growth projects, community investment and is passionate about equality issues, tenancy sustainability and delivering resident centred services.
Gemma is currently the Director of Housing & Communities at Aelwyd Housing Association. Gemma was born in Jamaica but has lived and worked in Wales her whole adult life. She currently resides in Cardiff with her husband and young family.

Adebola is a proud single Mum of 4 beautiful children and a British Citizen of African Origin.

Professionally, she is an ACCA Chartered Accountant (Fellow), 4th year Doctorate in Data Science Student and Senior Consultant with over 20 years’ experience in Transformation, Change, Mergers, Acquisition, Divestment and ERP Programme delivery experience.

She has successfully partnered with Global organizations to shape enterprise-wide strategies and aligning Transformation roadmaps to enable global, regional and corporate goals with successful projects deployed to over 72 Countries in European, Africa, APAC, US, Canada, Australia and Middle East countries.

Her industry experience includes Pharmaceutical; FCMG; Investment and Retail Banking and Management Consulting with functional expertise focussed on Technology, Finance; Sales, Distribution, Value chain optimizing CRM, Supply Chain, Risks and Financial Regulation.

For the past 18 months, Adebola has been serving as Non-Executive Director to a South Gloucestershire based Renewable Energy Cooperative. In 2021 served as Chairman of the Finance Working Committee and she continues to provide expertise and support to the Board.

Adebola champions, loves, respects and appreciates Cultural, Racial, Religious, Sexual difference, views and perspectives.

Osian is a qualified solicitor who specialises in property development. During his career he has worked for a number of firms of solicitors and for the last 20 years has been working as an in-house property solicitor and currently works for a large plc housebuilder. He has gained considerable experience of the housebuilding industry and has worked on many large scale residential led development projects in South Wales and across the border in England.

Osian corresponds in both English and Welsh and cares about social justice and the environment. Osian is based in Cardiff and enjoys spending time with his family, travelling, gardening and keeping fit.

Anthony was born in Aberdare in the Cynon Valley. He studied at Aberdare Boys’ Comprehensive School prior to going to Swansea University to complete a degree in Economics in 1990. Straight from University, Anthony joined Ernst and Young in Cardiff where he worked for three years in their Insolvency Practice.

Anthony moved on to join an accountancy firm in Cardiff where he studied and became a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in 1995. Following a secondment, Anthony joined District Audit in 1996 (and subsequently the Audit Commission in Wales) where he worked as a Technical Audit Manager. In 2003, Anthony joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a senior manager in their public sector practice before moving to the Wales Audit Office / Audit Wales in 2008. Anthony is currently their Financial Audit Director and has a wide-ranging portfolio of audits across the whole of Wales including central government, local government and the NHS. He is also the Technical Director for Audit Services. During his career, Anthony has been involved in a number of change management projects securing improvements to corporate governance, financial and performance management arrangements.

Outside of work, Anthony is a keen sports fan with a particular passion for Liverpool Football Club. He’s married with two daughters who are 21 and 19 - his eldest daughter is hoping to join the police force while my youngest daughter is studying medicine at Barts and the London.



The Democratic Body is a group of 11 tenants, 8 employees and 2 representatives from Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. The tenant members elect the tenants, and the employees elect the employees, the council tell MVH every year who the council representatives will be.

Yes, all tenants and employees must be a Member to serve on the Democratic Body. You also need to be a Member to be able to vote others on to the Democratic Body. To find more about Membership and how to join all the information can be found on Membership.

When MVH changed over to a housing mutual (May 2016) the Democratic Body was created to give tenants and employees more control over the running of the organisation. The Democratic Body work with the Board and the Executive Management Team and are there to represent the Members of MVH by influencing decisions that affect both tenants and employees and setting our strategic goals.  They also interview and appoint Board Members to deliver the Gyda’n Gilydd strategy.

The group have interviewed and appointed our Chief Executive, Board members and our new Board Chair, been involved in setting tenants’ rent, influenced our capital program, exploring what energy efficiency measures can be added to our homes, written our corporate strategy called ‘Gyda’n Gilydd’, and developed the Brighter Futures Programmes allowing tenants across the Borough to access skills  and training opportunities that relate to employment, DIY or other skills of interest which also have a social aspect. They are also involved in reviewing budgets and interviewing Senior Manager Positions, including recruitment of Executive Team members.

There are some business items that go onto a rolling agenda which sets out the topics being discussed at each meeting over a 12 month period.  These include items such as discussing the rent increases each April and budget setting for the business.  However, Democratic Body still have the power to add additional items for discussion onto the agenda and also have use of 3 days of our Internal Auditors time to look into matters further on your behalf.  The Brighter Futures programme came into existence after Democratic Body requested it be established and we are pleased to see it being accessed by tenants across the Borough.  Democratic Body are also involved on working groups including the Complaints Appeals Panel so have a good oversight of any services that may need scrutiny or improvement.

The term of office for all representatives is 3 years. So, we have spaces from those whose term is up, as well as spaces for others who have had to step down for other reasons.

As a tenant or employee of MVH you already have a wealth of knowledge and experience of our services.  We want representatives to feel conformable and confidence to participate in the meeting, so yes, all members on the Democratic Body are offered training in various areas, for example, housing management, IT, and finance. You’ll also have the option of attending conferences and networking events to help you gain more experience. You will also have the option to ‘buddy up’ with another Democratic Body Representative so they can support you and provide insight into past decisions.

The meetings take place normally every six to eight weeks and last for about two hours; currently the meetings are held on a Thursday morning at 10.30am (this may change in the future). You’ll be given notice in advance for all meetings.

All employees who are on the Democratic Body get their time accredited.

Yes, we can arrange for you to observe a meeting of Democratic Body so that you can get a feel for the meetings and discussion topics before you put yourself forward for election.  We can also arrange for you to chat informally to some of our Democratic Body representatives.

We’ll strive to support you throughout your time on the Democratic Body, but if for whatever reason you found yourself unable to continue just talk to the team who are here to help you. If you just need a short break away from the Democratic Body then we can offer you a special leave of absence, which will allow you to step down for a little while but keep your seat.  If however you wish to resign, you will need to notify us in writing, and your position will either go to the next person with the highest votes or go back out to an election.

We hope this information has answered any questions you may have had, if however, you still have any questions here is how to get in touch contact Zoe your Membership Involvement Officer on 01685 727786 for all matters related to membership and Democratic Body or Rachel Thomas for Brighter Futures on 01685 727896.