The Board of Directors of the team at ECL.
Peter Fairley - Interim Managing Director
Peter joined ECL as interim managing director in April 2023, in a part-time role with Essex County Council (ECC).
Since 2017, Peter has been Director for Strategy, Policy and Integration (Adult Social Care) at ECC, where he has led the Council’s work with NHS partners and integrated care systems, as well as leading the strategic planning for adult social care and leading its data, digital and technology agenda. Peter has led the nationally award-winning programmes for care technology transformation in adult social care in Essex, and the Connect transformation programme for improving outcomes for older people by improving hospital discharge outcomes and improving the effectiveness of intermediate care services. He has also overseen the £173m per year Better Care Fund plan with NHS partners to support improved outcomes for Essex residents via access to post-hospital discharge services and access to homecare services.
Peter is the Essex County Council local authority partner member of the Mid and South Essex NHS integrated care board (ICB). He has also served as a member of the Suffolk and North East Essex integrated care partnership.In previous roles at ECC, Peter has been Head of Corporate Policy and Strategy, leading Essex County Council’s corporate strategy work and policy work on the Care Act and health and social care integration, child poverty strategy and the Essex voluntary and community sector framework.
Peter has also previously been Head of the Leader’s and Cabinet Office, providing strategic advice and support to the then Leader of Essex County Council and their Cabinet.
Prior to joining ECC in 2008, Peter worked in a variety of public affairs consultancy roles advising both private and public organisations on their business strategies and has also worked in the House of Commons as a parliamentary researcher. He has excellent knowledge of both local and national political processes.
Peter has a First Class degree in History from Cambridge University and in his spare time enjoys cooking, reading widely, doing artwork, and playing guitar. He is also a big fan of football.
Wendy Thomas, Interim Director of Corporate Development
Wendy returned to ECL in August 2023 as Interim Director of Corporate Development.
Formerly our Director of Quality and Governance, Wendy has an extensive background in nursing and care, becoming a registered nurse in 1985 and working in various roles within the NHS for 27 years.
During this time, she worked in acute and community settings in positions ranging from Staff Nurse, Ward Sister, Discharge Co-ordinator, Progressing to Assistant Director of nursing and then Director of Nursing at Newham Community Trust, a post she held for 12 years. She was also a commissioner of services.
Wendy left the NHS in 2012 and worked for herself for a couple of years. But she missed working within a team and so, joined ECL as Director for Quality and Governance in 2014.
She held this post until she retired in March 2020 but has come out of retirement to re-join our Senior Leadership Team on a short-term basis.
Joe Coogan - Director of Operations
Joe Coogan joined ECL as Director of Operations in August 2016. Joe has 20 years’ experience working in social care in a variety of roles as a provider, commissioner and leading social work teams. Joe has held senior leadership roles in the public, private and voluntary sector and is committed to providing excellent outcomes for people with social care needs.
Joe joined ECL from PwC where he was the lead consultant for social care, supporting transformation, integration and efficiency projects for councils and the NHS. Prior to that he was the Director of Operations for a charity called Kisharon that operated supported living services, wellbeing hubs, social enterprises, special needs schools/colleges, supported employment and integrated early years provision and was able to improve financial stability, whilst ensuring all services were rated outstanding or good by both the CQC and Ofsted.
Joe fulfilled the role as Assistant Director Transformation (Commissioning) at the London Borough of Havering for five years from 2008-2013 driving significant performance improvements and achieving savings through investments in prevention. For two years prior to joining Havering, Joe held the Head of Adults role at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham leading all social work teams and commissioning budgets.
In his spare time Joe is a keen sports person, playing football in the Essex veterans league, tennis and golf. His family supports guide dogs for the blind and act as puppy walkers, taking the young dogs in for a year to give them basic training and socialisation before they go to the main training centre at Woodford Green. Joe says ‘It’s always hard waving the dogs off when they leave but it is so rewarding when they qualify as fully trained guide dogs and help visually impaired people maintain their independence’.
Michael McDonagh - Chairman
Michael joined ECL as Chairman of the Board in September 2019. He is a Fellow of Chartered Certified Accountants and has an extensive career with KPMG and more recently with Deloitte. At KPMG Michael held a number of senior positions including Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Executive Committee. Following this he held the position of Managing Director of Anchor Trust; the UK’s largest not-for-profit care provider and is currently a Non-Executive Director of Housing 21; a leading, not-for-profit provider of Retirement Housing. Michael is also a Trustee of Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
Vineeta Manchanda - Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair
Vineeta joined ECL in October 2020 and brings strong financial management, commercial and entrepreneurial skills developed over 25 years in blue chip global firms, such as Merrill Lynch, as well as at niche start-up emerging market investment banks.
Since 2011, Vineeta has held Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair positions across a variety of public and voluntary sector organisations. Some of her current roles include the Chair of the Audit and Finance Committees and a Board member of Waltham Forest and East London CCG; Chair of the Audit Committee at Sandwell Children’s Trust and Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee for the States of Jersey.
Vineeta gained an M.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University and was trained as an internal auditor at Unilever.
Bruce Moore - Non Executive Director
Bruce joined Housing 21 as Chief Executive in 2013 with a track record of successfully managing change and addressing challenges in order to improve the provision of housing and care services for older people.
Bruce has previously been Chief Executive for Hanover Housing Group, Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Homes and Deputy Chief Executive of Anchor Trust.
Bruce has served as a Board Member for a number of housing associations and charities including twice serving as an appointee on behalf of the regulator.
He completed a PhD considering the differences in attitudes and expectation of the governance role of boards of housing associations in 2017 and is currently studying for a further PhD on the priorities and preferences of residents of Retirement Housing and Extra Care.
Bruce lists some of his key achievements in housing:
- Successfully changing strategy and structure to reflect challenges in the retirement housing and care sector, and the future expectations of older people
- Improving levels of staff satisfaction and engagement
- Consistently delivering strong results and value for money
- Identifying and delivering major growth and development projects, including corporate acquisitions and the negotiation and implementation of PFI contracts.
Bruce’s early career was as an in-house lawyer and he is a qualified solicitor, he is also a keen runner and supporter of Bath Rugby.
Steve Bennett - Non Executive Director
Steve joined ECL in April 2021. He has 30 years’ senior human resources management experience in market leading organisations, including Duracell Inc, EMI Music plc, Esselte AB, and Laird Group plc. Between 2002 and 2016 Steve held Group Human Resources Director posts in large multi-site health & social care provider companies, including Care UK plc and The Lifeways Group.
Steve now operates his own HR interim, project, and consultancy services company. He is also a director of an international R&D infrastructure company, a trustee of a regional charity supporting disadvantaged children and families, and a trustee of a multi-academy trust of schools for children with social, emotional, and mental health needs.
Steve has an Honours degree in Business Studies, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.