Malachy McReynolds, Chief Executive of Care and Repair

Each month, we use our extensive network of business leaders to bring you the latest insights on the challenges and triumphs facing executives today. We hope you find inspiration from their experiences. This month, Malachy McReynolds, Chief Executive of Care and Repair tells us about supporting the vulnerable to live independently, the changing landscape of public sector funding and keeping your personality in the world of accountancy.

Hello Malachy, tell us about Care and Repair and your role as Chief Executive

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Care and Repair’s remit is to ensure that the elderly and disabled can live independently for as long as possible. We manage interventions into our customers’ private homes, making modifications to support mobility. This can be anything from fixing taps, installing grab handles, putting in rails and ramps, making bathrooms level access to lessen trips and falls, to complete conversions such as building new rooms on the ground floor or installing lifts. Costs can be anywhere from £10 for minor repairs to over £75k for conversions.

As Chief Executive, my role is to keep the business on an even keel, pointed in the right direction. Our business employs 70 people, most of whom are professionals with a clear view of what they need to do. My job is to co-ordinate our staff and make sure they have the resources they need.

How has the current economic climate impacted your activities?

50% of our revenue is publicly funded from Local Authorities, but significant cuts in that funding have not actually happened yet. We have received a 5% cut from Bristol City Council this year, and will get another 5% cut next year. We expect South Gloucestershire to impose a significant cut next year. Our privately funded income stream has been growing, notwithstanding the recession. 

What challenges are you facing over the next 12 months?

I am aware of the changing nature of public funding - Care and Repair will have to adapt to survive and continue providing services to our customers. We will need to look at expanding other revenue streams such as charitable fundraising and increasing client contributions. Self-funding customers may have to provide more, but we will protect them from full costs as much as possible.

We are currently developing a Strategic Review, which should be completed in September. This will outline the direction of the business from 2015-2020. We also need to adapt to the Care Act 2014 and the Better Care Fund, which will involve working closer with health providers, especially in clinical care to reduce the number of people in long term hospital care.

Do you think that the government is doing enough to support your business or sector?

The cuts to public sector funding are inevitable, but it is important that the government sees the big picture. We are fortunate that Bristol West MP Stephen Williams is highly supportive of our business and as Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, he is ensuring we have input into government housing policy. Baroness Stowell, current Leader of the House of Lords recently presented us with the Home Improvement Agency Service of the Year Award from Foundations, the national body for Home Improvement Agencies. She also has a great appreciation for the work we do. 

What is your view on the South West business scene?

I very much enjoy the creativity and quirkiness of the region and the Bristolian way of doing things. I also appreciate the excellent work life balance you can get here. I’m currently entertaining some visitors to Bristol and they are amazed with all the city has to offer. It’s a hidden gem!

Do you have any non-Executive Directorships or advisory roles?

I am the Chairman of the Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust, where we are trying to raise a £1m endowment. I am also on the Executive Board of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, which is a considerable amount of responsibility. 

Do you have any advice that you’d pass on to a newly appointed company director?

When you join an executive team, remember that you are now contributing to the whole of the business and you are not just the head of your department. You have to be a team player and if you are new, make sure that you take the time to listen and understand the rule of the game!

What do you like to do outside of work?

Like a lot of people in my position, I have to say that my work is also my hobby. My work covers many different subjects and I like to keep up to date on everything as much as I can. It keeps my mental faculties sharp.

Who is your hero/personal inspiration?

I’m an accountant by background. When I was a teenager, the Chief Finance Officer of BP was someone that I looked up to. He was an accountant, but had an air of mystery and quirkiness and was usually referred to by a codename rather than his real name. I thought that if you could reach the top of your profession while still retaining your personality, accountancy was the job for me.

What are you reading right now?

I read The Economist every week, cover to cover.

What has been your experience of working with Moon Consulting?

Moon Consulting recruited two senior management roles for Care and Repair, and a Marketing Manager role for Arnos Vale. I am delighted with the level of service provided by Moon Consulting and enjoyed working with Vanessa, Sam and Simon. I have known Vanessa for over 10 years, so this shows the value of long-term networking!