Tackling equality, diversity and inclusion in housing

Kate Henderson, 02 December 2021

The National Housing Federation (NHF) is holding our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Housing event on 9 December, bringing together leaders from across the social housing sector to reveal the results from the first national picture of the diversity of the housing association workforce in England.

I’m looking forward to having honest conversations at the event with senior leaders - under one roof and virtually - about what we can do to tackle inequalities in our sector to drive progress towards a more equal, diverse, and inclusive workforce.

Social housing is rooted in addressing inequalities, and as a sector we provide millions of homes for people across the country. We are a sector that serves so many diverse communities, including LGBTQ+ people, people of all ethnic backgrounds, disabled people, people of all genders and all ages. But it’s clear the housing association workforce, especially at the leadership level, does not represent wider society or the communities we serve.

Our ambition is to inspire diverse talent, driving progress towards a more equal and diverse cohort of leaders and a culture of inclusivity. This will build trust within our communities and workforces, attract new talent to our sector, allow better business decisions and ensure our people flourish.

As part of the EDI in Housing event, we’ll reveal the results from our first ever sector-wide analysis of the diversity amongst housing association staff in England. This report sets out the scale of the challenge ahead; allowing us to see where we are currently, and to better understand the key areas of focus to make progress and become a truly equal, diverse, and inclusive sector.

Throughout the day, delegates will hear from stimulating and inspirational speakers, engage in honest and open panels, and participate in workshops where we’ll work together to develop an ambitious vision to help form the basis for the NHF’s future EDI work.

EDI report from sector wide analysis

The NHF has been working with our members to better understand the diversity of the housing association workforce in England.

Our solution to overcoming data gaps in the sector, highlighted in our insight review, was to develop an EDI data tool. We asked housing association members to complete our data tool and submit their workforce data.

We collected EDI data from 174 organisations, representing 71% of housing association stock in England. The findings will be revealed at our EDI in Housing event. On the day I’ll provide a breakdown of what the data tells us including analysis of the key findings and recommendations.

I would like to thank all member housing associations who submitted their EDI data as it provides a baseline from which to measure progress on our journey to becoming a more equal, diverse, and inclusive sector. By being transparent and accountable, we show how serious we are about representing the communities we serve, building greater trust, and unlocking the benefits of a diverse sector.

Our intention is that this new EDI report marks an important milestone in our EDI journey. We are a sector who listens and learns in order to grow and develop. The key findings and recommendations in our report will help housing associations to put the relevant strategies in place and track progress moving forward.

I’m really looking forward to launching the report, seeing many members at the event, and working with housing associations in the months and years ahead as we become a more equal, diverse and inclusive sector