ABOUT US

Established in late 2018 and operational from mid-2019, Capital Letters works with 17 London Boroughs and aims to increase the supply of good quality rented  London properties to homeless households across London.

We are a pan-London accommodation procurement and management company, set up and owned by councils across the capital. We have been supported by London Councils and the London Housing Directors’ Group and our work has been made possible by £38m of Flexible Homelessness Support Grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Our intention is to be financially sustainable in the medium to long term, with all surpluses reinvested in the service.

Handing over keys to a new property

OUR SERVICES

We minimise disruption to homeless people on a council’s waiting list by placing them as locally as possible, helping to reverse the trend in out-of-borough and out-of-London placements. By 2022, we expect to have helped 20,000 homeless households into accommodation.

We are owned by the boroughs we work with, helping to reduce costs through collaborative and efficient ways of working and, wherever possible, to end a council’s statutory homelessness duty.

We provide a high quality one-stop service to landlords and managing agents, offering them fast payment and other incentives, and assurance including protection of their rental income and insurance to safeguard their property.

Our Vision

Working in partnership to solve the homelessness crisis across the Capital creatively, innovatively, collaboratively and relentlessly.

Block of flats

Our Mission

The first choice partner for the Capital, leading the way to develop long-term sustainable solutions, providing local homes and supporting homeless Londoners to be successful.

Our values

We are the “go to” homeless accommodation service for the CAPITAL.

Collaboration   Accountability   Passion   Integrity   Trust  Agility   Learning

Our Governance

The Borough Representative Body has sovereign responsibility for the governance of the organisation. Its central role is to lead the organisation and approve the strategic business plan and key strategic policies. Membership of the BRB includes one nominated representative from each of the member boroughs.  

Oversight, scrutiny, direction and control of Capital Letters is delegated to the Board of Directors. The Board has responsibility for the governance of the organisation. Its central role is to lead, direct, control, scrutinise and evaluate the organisation’s work. This includes determining strategic direction and key policies, establishing and overseeing control and risk management frameworks, satisfying itself of the integrity of financial information and ensuring the organisation achieves its aims and objectives.

Governance

Our board

The Board is accountable to the Borough Representative Body and is made up of a chair, Jackie Odunoye, and vice chair, Kevin Murphywho are both appointed by the BRB. There are also five non-executive directors – one from each housing sub-region – and three independent non-executive directors with commercial and business experience. The Board is supported by the chief executive, Sue Coulson. 

Jackie Odunoye
Chair

Jackie
Odunoye

Kevin Murphy
Vice chair

Kevin
Murphy


Denise
Gandy

Julia Newton

Julia
Newton

Kenneth Beech

Ken
Beech


Laurence
Coaker

Paul Doe

Paul
Doe

The Team

The day-to-day running of the organisation is delegated to the chief executive, Sue Coulson, who leads the Executive Team.

Sue Coulson
Chief Executive

Sue
Coulson

Director of Finance

Philip
Smith

Elizabeth Harper
Director of Operations

Elizabeth Harper

You can apply for our latest vacancies and find out what it’s like to work here. If you want to know more about what Capital Letters does, you can read our business plan.

Mark Baigent

Mark is as an independent consultant, with over 30 years’ experience in UK public housing and regeneration. He works with local authority clients to deliver estate renewal, town centre regeneration and innovative council-led new build delivery companies.   

In 2018, as interim Director of Housing for Tower Hamlets, he led the establishment of two pan-London collaborative enterprises to provide improved outcomes for homeless families; securing almost £50m in grants from the GLA and MHCLG, and being appointed as Chair of both PLACE Ltd and Capital Letters (London) Ltd. 

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak we have taken the decision to close our office until further notice. We are planning to operate a ‘business as usual’ policy for as long as possible – please continue to maintain contact with our team by phone or email as you would usually do. We remain open for business and are continuing to procure properties. You can contact us on info@capitalletters.org.uk and one of our team will be in touch to discuss your property. We will regularly assess our operating status as we receive updates from the Government regarding COVID-19. All changes will be communicated via email, social media, and our website.

Jackie Odunoye

Jackie has been Operational Director of Housing at the London Borough of Redbridge since 2016, where the council has ambitious plans to increase the number of council homes. She has developed a new housing strategy and a fundamental change programme to radically reduce the numbers of families in temporary accommodation. 

Jackie is a qualified accountant and spent 16 years working in local authority finance before becoming a Director and subsequently CEO of Tower Hamlets Housing Action Trust – a government sponsored regeneration vehicle which redeveloped three council housing estates.  

Returning to local government, she led on major housing regeneration schemes and joint ventures with private sector partners, developed a housing strategy for an inner London authority and championed the development of closely aligned housing, planning and regeneration services. She also led on establishing council’s ALMO and homelessness and lettings service before taking up her current role. 

Kevin Murphy

Kevin is Head of Housing at the London Borough of Bexley and manages the housing and environmental health functions.  

Following graduation from Salford University with a BSc in Environmental Science, Kevin worked for two London boroughs as an environmental health officer. During this period, he also obtained a post graduate diploma in management studies and one in strategic marketing. He then went on to specialise in housing after obtaining an MSc in housing policy from the London School of Economics. In his spare time, he is a keen cyclist and a longsuffering fan of Manchester United. 

Denise Gandy

Denise has been Executive Director of Housing Demand at Homes for Haringey since 2014, with responsibility for front line advice and homelessness services, Hearthstone (a specialist domestic violence service) and the procurement and management of temporary accommodation.  

Denise has worked in housing for over 25 years, in a range of frontline and management roles relating primarily to housing needs and homelessness. She has also delivered service improvement projects and worked in strategy development. She is passionate about delivering excellent and inclusive services for households in housing need. 

Julia Newton

Julia is a chair, non-executive director and trustee of a number of companies and charities across a range of sectors.  She co-founded marketing agency, Shine Communication, which she helped grow over ten years from a team of two to over sixty, winning many awards including for people development.   

In 2009, Julia was appointed as a business advisor to the BBC One programme Village SOS, which was set up to help some of the UK’s most deprived communities.  She spent a year in a former coal‐mining village helping to raise funds  and set up a sustainable social enterprise. 

Currently Julia chairs GB Taekwondo, the organisation responsible for the preparation, management and performance of British athletes at the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and at World and European Championships.  She is also founder and chair of the Rural Refugee Network, which has worked both regionally and nationally to resettle refugees from Syria in the UK.  Her areas of specialism include governance, risk management, business startup and development, strategic leadership, people development and marketing.  Julia is passionate about supporting solutions to the crisis of homelessness and enabling people to start to rebuild their lives. 

Ken Beech

Driven by values, Ken is currently Director of Portfolio Management at Homes England, the government’s housing agency. He has substantial experience of financing housing in the private and social sectors and was previously a board member and vice chair of Tower Hamlets Community Housing.  

Ken is professionally qualified in corporate treasury and banking and has financed businesses of all sizes in most sectors, with a specialism in leveraged buyouts. He has led teams through substantial change and is a passionate advocate for inclusion and social responsibility, with further trustee experience with a children’s counselling charity.

Laurence Coaker

Laurence is the Head of Housing Needs at Brent Council and has over 35 years’ experience of working in Housing. Previously, he led the housing needs service at Harrow Council, where he implemented the “Harrow Model” of prevention of homelessness, which was adopted nationally and helped form future government policy and legislation. He was subsequently seconded to the Department for Communities and Local Government (now MHCLG) as a specialist advisor, where he was part of the team helping local authorities to reduce their use of temporary accommodation by 50%.

Laurence has directly managed and improved front-line council services and has significant experience of partnership working at both regional and local level and has been a member of the Locata Housing Services board for over ten years.

Paul Doe

Paul recently retired from his position as Chief Executive of Shepherds Bush Housing Group after twenty years in the role. Whilst as CEO, he was also a founder member of both Placeshapers, the national network of housing associations, and Homes for Cathy, a group supporting housing associations role in homelessness. Paul has also worked for the Housing Corporation and the London boroughs of Richmond upon Thames, Westminster and Hammersmith. He chaired St Mungos for five years during a ten-year period on their Board and has also been chair of Wandle Housing Association. 

Paul was awarded an MBE for services to housing and homelessness in 2016. He remains interested in homelessness with positions on two homelessness charities. 

Sue Coulson

Sue joined Capital Letters in June 2019 as its first chief executive officer. She has extensive experience in social housing, both operationally and as a non executive director, and her driving force has been to make a positive difference, working innovatively and creatively to do so.

Prior to joining Capital Letters, she was director of partnerships at Rentplus and she has held numerous senior level roles in social housing, including as group director of housing and communities at DCH Group and as managing director of Three Valleys Housing and OGL Housing. She is currently a non-executive director of Westward Housing Group.

Philip Smith

Philip has worked in the housing sector as a finance director and in other senior roles with Network, Aldwyck and CHS. In his roles he has increased development activity, improved the profitability of one provider and increased the commercial awareness of another provider. He has also worked as an interim, where he has carried out a restructure of the service, carried out due diligence for a merger and has improved the repairs performance for two providers and worked with Boards to implement change.  

Prior to this, he worked in the commercial sector, primarily in construction as financial director to property developers. He also ran an I.T. company and a sales business and has mentored a start-up construction business.

Elizabeth Harper

Elizabeth’s career in the voluntary and charitable sector has had a particular focus on homelessness and supported housing in London and the South.

 

Having held a range of roles which include having had responsibility for quality assurance, safeguarding, new business development, user involvement, volunteering and best practice she has spent the last decade as an Operational Director working collaboratively with Local Authorities to develop and deliver successful services.

She has also worked with organisations internationally to develop their practice in outcomes measurement and advising on homelessness policy implementation and brings a personal as well as professional commitment to endeavouring to make a positive difference to homeless people.