believe – EDI Health Check

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"The whole process has been seamless from the list of documents requested, sessions held with our people through to the final report.  We are thrilled with the overall findings and at the same time have been given some great, tangible recommendations on how we can continue to progress our EDI work and support our corporate objectives.  Lucy and Karen were a pleasure to work with!" Louise Taylor, Director of Corporate Strategy and Assurance, believe

At a Glance

Positive About Inclusion was commissioned by believe to carry out a health check of the organisation’s current EDI position, alongside a deep dive into their diversity monitoring data for both colleagues and customers. The brief was to complete a comprehensive review of believe’s current approach to provide insight into where they are at on their journey to effectively embed EDI along with an understanding on further action that could be taken, aligned to sector best practice.

About the Client

believe housing is one of the largest housing associations in the north east of England, covering 862 square miles from the very rural west to the hustle and bustle of Durham city centre and the magnificent coastline in the east. believe housing exists to create a place where everyone feels they belong by challenging the assumptions of the past and present. With a vision of  ‘we believe in life without barriers’ equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of their vision, mission and values.

Challenges and Objectives

From our work in this area we have developed an approach which measures the essential elements to embedding EDI within the social housing sector, from the role of the Board and senior leaders to EDI in the supply chain. Our research methodology examines eight key elements from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective, identifying good practice as well as areas for improvement.

The quantitative elements involved desktop research of relevant policies/strategies, decision-making processes and believe’s presence on internal and external communication channels. On the qualitative side we carried out engaging workshops with critical groups including the Board, the Senior Leadership Team and tenants, supplemented by 1-2-1 discussions with key stakeholders.

There are two main challenges in completing a health check of this nature:

1. Timely access to documents and people

2. Effective engagement and challenge through workshops and discussions to triangulate findings

Solution

We provided believe with a list of the types of information we would need and the people/groups we would hope to engage with and they provided temporary Microsoft access to folders containing a significant range of information, access to diaries to facilitate 1-2-1 discussions and arranged workshops with relevant groups on our behalf.

We used a semi-structured framework of questions for the 1-2-1 discussions, ensuring some consistency but also fluidity to enable us to triangulate responses received. By setting the workshops within a societal context and through the use of real-life examples from our experience working in the housing sector the workshops provided an opportunity for open discussion and the sharing of best practice.

Having established the current position we collated our findings into a comprehensive report for believe that articulated the current position within the context of EDI best practice, identifying actionable insight and recommendations to progress believe’s EDI journey. Alongside the main report we provided the results of the data collection deep-dive exercise.

Impact

The health check established that believe has an excellent approach to EDI and that the organisation should be very proud of their achievements so far. The authenticity of believe’s approach to EDI was tangible, colleague passion and empowerment were evident in all of our interactions and these feelings were triangulated by the desk-top research. believe’s approach to EDI, embedding it throughout the culture and making it an integral aspect of day-to-day behaviours and service delivery, has had great effect and the health check established that believe is in a very positive position from which they can move the agenda forward.

“This has been a great piece of work for believe. The approach developed by Lucy and Karen was clear, engaging and insightful, covering all areas of the organisation. The feedback and the final report has given us confidence that we have lots to be positive about and continue doing together with some clear, practical recommendations to help us improve things further. Thank you.”

Alan Smith, Executive Director of Investment, Growth and Performance, believe

“The whole process has been seamless from the list of documents requested, sessions held with our people through to the final report.  We are thrilled with the overall findings and at the same time have been given some great, tangible recommendations on how we can continue to progress our EDI work and support our corporate objectives.  Lucy and Karen were a pleasure to work with!”

Louise Taylor, Director of Corporate Strategy and Assurance, believe

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