Castles & Coasts Housing Association – Creating and Embedding EIAs

Image shows Karen (a white female wearing glasses with dark blonde hair), Adam (a white male wearing a grey jumper) and Allison (a white female with blonde hair) standing together after a training session. They are all smiling.

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"The training was thorough, challenging and supportive and they’ve helped us develop such a pragmatic approach to this crucial activity, thanks again" Adam Gould, Castles & Coasts Housing Association

At a Glance

We were delighted to be asked to support Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) with their ambition to embed Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) throughout the organisation. CCHA approached us requesting assistance with the creation of a bespoke EIA template and associated guidance notes and subsequently to provide training for key staff who were to be responsible for embedding the approach.  

About the Client

Castles & Coasts Housing Association was created in July 2017 as a result of merging Two Castles and Derwent and Solway Housing Associations. They employ nearly 200 staff, and own and manage more than 7,000 properties in rural and urban communities across the North of England, with around 75% located in Cumbria.

Challenges and Objectives

The main challenges when introducing Equality Impact Assessments in an organisation are apprehension and understanding. It’s critical to overcome these elements to get buy-in as it’s through buy-in that the most positive impact from EIAs can be realised. Our approach to overcome these was to effectively involve key stakeholders from the outset.

Solution

We initially held an ‘EIA Introduction Workshop’ for relevant CCHA personnel, this workshop helped to demystify the EIA process and provided participants with the opportunity to start to shape a draft EIA framework for CCHA. Following this workshop, and armed with the feedback we had collated, we designed a bespoke EIA template and associated guidance notes for the organisation.

We then held a second workshop called ‘Practice Makes Perfect’. The second workshop was very practical, utilising the newly co-created EIA template and taking the learning and increased confidence established during the introductory workshop, participants were provided with the opportunity to embed the learning by putting the theory into practice. Adopting this approach demystified the process and enabled participants to see for themselves how effectively completing an EIA can deliver impact and value for the organisation. Both of the workshops were half day sessions, delivered in person.

Impact

The approach we adopted worked really well, holding two sessions and involving key stakeholders in thinking about the design of a template that would work for the organisation proved to be very effective.

Participants told us how anxious they had been in advance of attending and how they were not looking forward to having to complete EIAs but that after the workshops they felt confident and that they could see how useful the process of completing an EIA would be beyond the EIA itself.

“So great to continue to work with Positive About Inclusion on helping develop our Equality Impact Assessments, the training was thorough, challenging and supportive and they’ve helped us develop such a pragmatic approach to this crucial activity, thanks again”

Adam Gould –  Head of Customer Service and Engagement, Castles & Coasts Housing Association

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