Optivo recognised in the New Year Honours List


30 December 2020

Our Chief Executive Paul Hackett and involved resident Monica Barnes have both been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Paul, who’s spent a decade transforming a previously failing housing association and is known as a national leader on resident involvement, has been awarded the CBE.

While Monica, who’s spent over a decade shaping and leading one of the most successful tenant involvement approaches in the social housing sector, will receive an MBE.

Paul Hackett, who was also Chair of the G15 group of London housing associations between 2017 and 2019, said: “I’m delighted Monica’s been recognised for her unswerving commitment to ensuring residents’ voices are heard. It’s great to see her determination to improving services for others has been recognised. Monica’s a remarkable person who’s dedicated her life to others and this honour is well deserved.”

“I’m truly humbled to receive the CBE. This award is a recognition of the hard work of many staff and residents who’ve helped Optivo become the organisation it is today and our efforts to become a sector-leader in resident involvement.” 

Monica Barnes, who is Chair of the Resident Strategy Group at Optivo, said: "This is a lovely honour, but it’s also dedicated to my family and friends both past and present. I’m from Jamaica and lost my own mother aged seven. I was brought up by my father and my aunt (my mother’s sister). My aunt had an opportunity to come to the UK in 1954 as part of the Windrush generation and took me with her. Housing was a major issue at the time.

My own personal experiences and being an involved resident at Optivo have helped me fully appreciate the importance of good housing for people’s emotional, social and physical wellbeing. As an involved resident, you don’t give up hours of your time to be recognised – you do it because you want to make a difference. We’ve all worked hard to improve services over many years, so it’s a real joy to see our work recognised like this."

In a decade of outstanding leadership, Paul was instrumental in the turnaround of AmicusHorizon, which had previous been under regulatory supervision, and then its merger with Viridian to form Optivo. 

The organisation is now consistently securing one of the highest customer satisfaction levels of any housing association, currently 95%.

Monica, as vice-chair of Optivo’s Resident Strategy Group, has ensured residents’ voices have been at the heart of our services. Monica has dedicated her life to helping others, serving as a youth worker in South London before volunteering her time with housing associations.