Diversity work earns award nomination

Our work to improve diversity and inclusion across our organisation has seen us shortlisted for a national Chartered Governance Institute (CGI) award. 

The Diversity and Inclusion Initiative of the Year award recognises those who put these issues at the core of their work and draw on input from customers, investors and stakeholders. 

Our work to empower residents and staff has included: 

  • A governance review that agreed each of our committees should have at least one resident member, with two resident members of our group board. More than 120 people applied, with 20 being shortlisted and interviewed. All roles have now been filled. 
  • Working with other large housing associations in London to increase diversity in leadership by launching the G15 Diversity Pledge. 
  • Redesigning our 2020 annual general meeting to be virtual with an in-person option.  To ensure maximum participation we offered the chance to come into an office and borrow a laptop with one-to-one support, and each shareholder was called in advance to ensure they were comfortable using Zoom or if they needed support. 
  • Our response of the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement it inspired. It provoked intense, sometime painful, conversations within our organisation and we were determined to respond in a way that empowered our staff and residents. 

Following the death of George Floyd we listened to our staff and their stories of inequality and unfairness within society, which inspired our Stop the Clock event. This saw all staff invited to an online, all-day conference to allow learning and conversations to take place. Those who couldn’t attend on the day were offered other ways to engage with it. 

As a result, we created our Race at Work action plan and a key member of the governance team was seconded full-time into a new role as diversity transitional project manager. 

Our board considered the findings of this work and agreed their own diversity action plan, which now means: 

  • Each committee has at least one resident and one BAME member 
  • Our non-executive director board is currently 44% female and 33% BAME, which rises to 45% female and 45% BAME once executive staff are included 
  • Board recruitment specifically targets areas of under-representation 

Vipul Thacker, group director of central services, said: “We are very proud of the work we’ve put in to ensure diversity and inclusion is at the centre of our philosophy and a core element of our corporate strategy. We want every level of our organisation to be more reflective of our staff and residents and we are already seeing progress. 

“We have made a concerted effort to listen to our colleagues and those who live in our homes so we better understand the challenges faced by different groups and learn what we can do to tackle inequality where we find it.” 

The other shortlisted groups are Girls Friendly Society and the Institute of Hospitality. 

The awards will be held on 16 November.