Structure & Governance


C25 - Is the Housing Provider registered with a regulator of social housing?

Aster is a charitable registered society, registered with the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH). 

C26 - What is the most recent viability and governance regulatory grading?

We hold the highest possible ratings for governance (G1) and viability (V1), which was reaffirmed by the RSH in December 2020 following an in-depth assessment, and again in January 2022 following Central and Cecil Housing Trust (C&C) joining the Group. 

C27 - Which Code of Governance does the Housing Provider follow, if any?

Our governance framework is structured on the UK Corporate Governance Code. This is a set of principles of good corporate governance that we follow in our governance arrangements, including those around Board leadership and effectiveness, remuneration, accountability and stakeholder relations. 

C28 - Is the Housing Provider Not-For-Profit?

We are a not-for-dividend housing provider.  

C29 - Explain how the Housing Provider’s Board manages organisational risks

We manage organisational risks through our Risk Framework, which takes an enterprise risk management approach. It’s a way of working that enables us to recognise, and consider response to, uncertainties and obstacles as they arise and it supports the exploration of potential opportunities arising from changes in both the internal and external environment. By working like this, we can successfully navigate through all situations, achieving our goals and overcoming threats to success. 

We know that risk management is an integral part of good management practice and it is integrated into strategic and service planning processes and performance management, with a Risk Register maintained and regularly discussed. 

The Aster Group Ltd Board ensures operational threats are managed appropriately, and are supported by our Group Risk & Compliance Committee and Treasury Committee undertaking a more detailed review of risks that may positively or negatively impact on the business’s strategy, operations or legislative compliance. 

C30 - Has the Housing Provider been subject to any adverse regulatory findings in the last 12 months (e.g. data protection breaches, bribery, money laundering, HSE breaches or notices) – that resulted in enforcement or other equivalent action?

We have not been subject to any adverse regulatory findings in the last 12 months that resulted in enforcement or other equivalent action.  

Aligns with SDG goal:

Board & Trustees


We believe that we have an effective, accountable and transparent governance structure, and our Board is integral to this, independently scrutinising and challenging decision making where it is required.

C31 - What are the demographics of the Board? And how does this compare to the demographics of the Housing Provider’s residents, and the area that they operate in?

Figures below relate to Aster Group Board Entity level

C32 - What percentage of the Board AND management team have turned over in the last two years?

We have a stable Board and executive management team, with one person joining our Board in the last two years, and no-one has left the executive management team.  

C33 -  Is there a maximum tenure for a Board member? If so, what is it?

We have the standard maximum tenure for Board members, which is nine years. 

C34 - What % of the Board are non-executive directors?

70% of our Board are non-executive directors and are able to bring in their valuable expertise and impartial views on governance and management decisions.  

C35 - Number of Board members on the Audit Committee with recent and relevant financial experience

We have four Board members on the Audit Committee who have recent and relevant financial experience, ensuring that our audit is fully compliant with appropriate laws and regulations.  Experience includes: 

  • Seven years in corporate finance and continuing financial responsibilities within many subsequent and current positions. 
  • The Head of RBS/NatWest before retirement in 2016, working within the social housing finance market for over 20 years and recognised as a leading figure in that sector. In addition to his roles with Aster, the Board member also holds other non-executive positions and was also a consultant director with one of the sector’s leading treasury advisers for a short while.
  • A qualified and experienced CIPFA accountant working with a top ten accounting firm providing Governance, Risk and Assurance services to a wide variety of public and private organisations.
  • A Chartered Management Accountant and Chartered Internal Auditor.
  • A Chartered Accountant and academic lawyer, with substantial Board-level social housing experience. 

C36 - Are there any current executives on the Remuneration Committee?

We have no current executives on the Remuneration Committee, meaning that we do not have any conflicts of interest.   

C37 - Has a succession plan been provided to the Board in the last 12 months?

A succession plan has been provided to the Board in the last 12 months ensuring that we are prepared for future changes in the makeup of the senior management team. 

C38 - For how many years has the Housing Provider’s current external audit partner been responsible for auditing the accounts?

Our current external audit partner (KPMG LLP) has been responsible for auditing our accounts for five years. 

C39 - When was the last independently-run, Board effectiveness review?

The last independently ran Board-effectiveness review was carried out in November 2018. At the time of publishing this statement, we are currently undertaking an independent governance review, focussing on efficiency and effectiveness. 

C40 - Are the roles of the Chair of the Board and CEO held by two different people?

The roles of chair of the Board and CEO are held by two different people (Mike Biles and Bjorn Howard), allowing for each to carry out their duties and ensure that there is sufficient accountability and corporate responsibility.  

C41 - How do you handle conflicts of interest at the Board?

We manage conflicts of interest at the Board under the Board Code of Conduct.  

Aligns with SDG goal:

Staff Wellbeing


C42 - Does the Housing Provider pay the Real Living Wage?

We strive to pay our people fairly and provide both them and our customers with tools and resources to help manage their finances. While we don’t currently pay the Real Living Wage for all our colleagues, it is something that we are very aware of for the minimal number of colleagues who this relates to and are working towards realising this in the future. 

C43 - What is the gender pay gap?

The median gender pay gap for all Aster colleagues in 21/22 was 11.46%. For more detail please see our gender pay gap reports

C44 - What is the CEO-worker pay ratio?

The CEO:median-worker pay ratio (based on the 50th percentile full-time equivalent remuneration of our employees) in 21/22 was 8.42:1

C45 - How does the Housing Provider support the physical and mental health of their staff?

We know that our people and our culture are our strength, and we want to empower our colleagues to thrive. We support physical and mental health of our colleagues by: 

  • Partnering with Plumm Health to provide colleagues with Mental Health support when they need it.  It includes access to 1:1 video counselling/therapy sessions with accredited therapists with appointments in as little as 24 hours.  Chat therapy via the platform, unlimited access to a growing library of therapist-led psycho-educative digital courses, guided meditations, and live monthly workshops. Plumm is both GDPR and HIPAA compliant. So, all conversations on Plumm are totally confidential and encrypted.  
  • Providing the Thrive app, which is the only NHS approved mental health app. We provide it free to colleagues so they have around the clock, 24/7 support with their emotional wellbeing. Thrive: Mental Wellbeing provides colleagues with the tools to manage their mental wellbeing, empowers colleagues to understand their emotions, differentiate between helpful and unhelpful thoughts and be the best they can be.  
  • Training 90+ Mental Health First Aiders who are colleagues who have been trained to spot the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and are armed with signposting information to help colleagues get the support they might need.    
  • Having a 24/7 employee assistance programme in place which is a freephone telephone number to a counsellor available to all colleagues with a dedicated website full of tools and resources.  
  • Running a number of live sessions on mental health including Increasing emotional resilience and mental health champion training to arm colleagues with the tools to spot the signs and symptoms of poor mental health.  
  • Providing access to 24/7 virtual GP for colleagues and their dependents; virtual physio appointments via the Simplyhealth app; cashback for physio/chiro/osteo appointments up to £150; cashback for consultants appointments, routine tests and prescription charge; access to recorded yoga, Pilates, HIIT workouts via the Perkbox wellness hub; recorded webinars on nutrition. 
  • Being a Menopause Friendly Employer with support, training and information widely available. 

C46 - What is the average number of sick days taken per employee

For Aster colleagues, the average number of sick days (including both long and short term sickness) was 6.57 days for the 12 month rolling period ending April 2022. 

Aligns with SDG goal:


Supply chain management 


C47 - How is Social Value creation considered when procuring goods and services?

We responsibly procure goods and services by ensuring that they are procured not only on a cost–benefit analysis, but with a view to maximizing other benefits, including:   

  • Economic (e.g. corporate governance, ethical trading, payment on time), 
  • Social (e.g. diversity, inclusion, human rights),  
  • and Environmental (biodiversity, carbon footprint, climate change).   

We are bringing social value to the heart of what we do within procurement activity, ensuring integrity, ethics and transparency is embedded into our tendering requirements. To do this, within our tenders we will request bidders to:  

  • provide details of how Modern Slavery and Responsible Procurement is monitored within organisations and their supply chains,  
  • provide information about activities, the social value created and how this is measured, in line with Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. This includes what benefits will be delivered to the communities that bidders will be working in, what skills and training or employment opportunities will be created, and specific community initiatives that will be delivered during the contract term. We also ask bidders to provide information on how they support social enterprises or SMEs within a supply chain, 
  • and specifically ask bidders to confirm how they will meet the aims of a particular strand of our Aster Foundation Strategic Plan (Strategic plan | Aster Foundation), where this is appropriate. For example, when we ran our hardwire alarms tender, we asked for examples specifically referencing our Ageing Well strategy (Ageing well | Aster Foundation). 

With that information available to us, we are able to appropriately incorporate social value into our assessment of bids and understand the value that can be delivered to our customers and the communities we serve.   

C48 - How is environmental impact considered when procuring goods and services?

We ensure that environmental impact is considered in every tender process that we carry out through:  

  • Our head of environment and energy is actively involved at every stage through the tender, from producing the tender documents to evaluating bids, and we ask all bidders to confirm their agreement to Aster’s Environmental Sustainability Policy.
  • We request environmental information as part of every tender, including whether a bidder (or any named sub-contractor) has breached environmental legislation, and whether there are environmental management systems, processes and policies in place.   
  • Bidders are also asked environmental questions which are specific to that tender. For example, on a recent waste services tender, we asked how waste would be kept safe in transit, what the emergency responses to spillages would be, and for details of waste carrier registrations and site permits. We also used the tender process to set out our specific environmental performance reporting expectations (such as the quantities and types of waste removed or tipped and where it would go). 
  • The information we collect enables us to make informed decisions about environmental impact of any procurement activity.  

To support Sustainable Procurement, we insist on adherence to the following Policies from all of our suppliers on all tenders with an estimated value of £50k and over:  

  • Aster Group Data Protection and Confidentiality (including GDPR)  
  • Aster Group Equality and Diversity  
  • Aster Group Environmental Sustainability 
  • Health and Safety Declaration  
  • Modern Slavery Act Compliance 

Aligns with SDG goal: