Board diversity and the Chairs' Challenge

Maggie Galliers, 14 July 2023

In February, the NHF launched a Chairs’ Challenge: a call for all housing association board chairs to commit to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into their work.

At recent our board away day we focused on the Challenge, as well as other materials from the toolkit, to create a plan for improving our ways of working.

Some of the actions that we included in that vision are:

  • Having a written statement of the agreed behaviours and values of the board.
  • Setting clear aspirations on the diversity of our board based on targets which reflect the general population and the population we serve in the social housing sector.
  • Regular EDI updates to understand better how diverse voices are heard withing the NHF.

Making our board culture as inclusive as possible will ensure that we get the most out of all our board members, and that we are more closely representing the communities the NHF serves.

As of July 2023, we now have 50 chairs signed up to the challenge – a fantastic achievement.

The NHF is encouraging participants to hold themselves to account for progress in this challenge, and our board’s performance will form part of my own professional targets this year. Taking this responsibility is a key part of how we can lead on this work.

I do hope all housing association board chairs will sign up and join me on a journey that will make our work in all areas more effective. If you’re already taking steps on this path, I shall be interested to hear about your experiences so that we can share best practice and learn from each other.