Geoff Raw to become the new Managing Director at Be First, London

Following an extensive search that saw several impressive candidates, Be First, the regeneration arm of Barking and Dagenham Council, are delighted to announce that Geoff Raw will be joining Be First, in May, as the new Managing Director.

Geoff has been Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service for Brighton & Hove City Council, since 2015. He began his career with Brighton & Hove City Council in 2010 as Director of Environment, Development & Housing accountable for the commissioning and delivery of Housing, Regeneration, Planning & Building Control, Transport, Waste Management & Parks services. Previously Geoff has worked in various posts at a range of organisations including, the Mayor of London, the Housing Corporation, HM Treasury and the London Borough of Brent.

Lord Bob Kerslake, Chair of the Board, at Be First said: “Geoff is a highly experienced Chief Executive and brings significant skills, experience, strategic insight that will be critical to the next stage in Be First’s evolution. His passion and enthusiasm for place making was evident throughout this process and has been a central theme throughout his career. We believe Geoff will build on the success of Be First to date and help us to continue deliver on the significant opportunities within Barking and Dagenham and to accelerate regeneration in the borough, so that no-one is left behind.”

Geoff Raw said: “I am delighted to be taking up the role of Managing Director.  Place making, enabling economic opportunity, and developing housing to meet the needs and aspirations of diverse local communities are passions that have inspired me throughout my career.  I am very much looking forward to joining the Be First team which has a great reputation and delivery track record, as well as to working with a high calibre board and a strong, ambitious Council leadership to enable the borough to thrive.”

The role was previously occupied by Pat Hayes, who departed in October 2022, it is currently being temporarily filled by Acting MD, Kevin O’Brien.

Barking and Dagenham’s battle against climate change continues

A major milestone has been reached in the building of Barking’s greenest housing block this week.

The housing block in the redeveloping Gascoigne neighbourhood, features 124 affordable homes and will be the first net zero carbon building to be delivered by Be First, which is managing the redevelopment on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council.

And to celebrate the achievement deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Cllr Saima Ashraf met Steve Kitchen of contractors Willmott Dixon and Jared Birch of Be First at a topping out ceremony.

Cllr Ashraf, Deputy Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is a huge step in our march towards Barking and Dagenham becoming the green capital of London, and cementing our position as London’s largest builder of council homes.

“Once finished the new Gascoigne estate will be one of the greenest, most affordable neighbourhoods in town.”

Steve Kitchen, Operations Director, Willmott Dixon, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating this milestone with both Barking and Dagenham Council and Be First. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Willmott Dixon, so to be constructing Be First’s first net zero carbon building is something we’re very proud to be a part of.”

Jared Birch, Deputy Construction Director, Be First, said: “It’s a tremendous achievement by Willmott Dixon to get to this stage in the current economic climate. But it’s crucial we deliver not only affordable homes for local people but eco-friendly buildings too, to play our part in the battle against climate change.”

The 124 homes feature one-, two- and three-bedroom flats with rents starting from £168 a week at today’s prices.

The new Gascoigne neighbourhood will be one of the most sustainable * ’15 minute’ neighbourhoods in London.

It will feature:

  • Three new parks, tree lined streets and courtyards and walkable routes
  • Community gardens and orchards
  • Photovoltaic panels on roof spaces.


* The 15-minute neighbourhood – will provide residents access to most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home, making life more liveable for residents, by improving air quality and making neighbourhoods safer, quieter, more diverse, inclusive and economically vibrant.