Steve Sheridan Equality and Diversity Service Improvement Group ( SEG )Chair and Board Member and Lisa Scully Assistant Director of Business Assurance receive their plaque from EW Group's Ruth Austen-Vincent.
City West Housing Trust achieve Excellence Level award in their Diversity in Business Accreditation
City West, a Housing Association based in the North West owns and manages around 14,600 homes. In July of this year, they decided to work towards achieving Diversity in Business Accreditation (DiBA), to have an external assessment of their performance. EW Group have designed and delivered DiBA, an accreditation designed to help companies manage diversity effectively and improve their business performance.
DiBA comprises a comprehensive set of good and exemplar practice standards that address a range of business functions: leadership, people and performance management, employee and community engagement, customer satisfaction, supplier diversity and Action Planning.
Judith Kerwick, Service Excellence Manager for City West said “Since our inception in 2008 Equality and Diversity has been an integral part of our core organisational values. We have developed robust policies that provide guidelines for the organisation to reach our long term goals. These policies ensure diversity and inclusion remains integral to City West, as a service provider, employer, a partner, a purchaser of goods and services and as a landlord. To test this commitment, it was agreed to have an external challenge on the ‘framework’ we set up. This investigation would need to include a continual development element and not just a one-off assessment so that the findings could be used to further embed and develop our equality and diversity strategy and our practices”.
She continued: “The abolition of the Audit Commission and the reduced role of the TSA as a Regulator has changed the regulatory landscape in the Housing Sector. We realised that this called for some forward thinking from City West to be proactive in implementing and embedding a framework and culture that is embracing and striving for excellence. We knew that going for accreditation with EW Group would be both supportive and challenging. “
“By going through the DiBA process we realised it would be a change from the structured and prescriptive approach to co-regulation and self regulation. We therefore took the decision to embark on this ‘excellence’ journey by going for the Diversity in Business accreditation award as a way of filling the regulatory gap left by the TSA and embedding equality and diversity into our day to day activities.”
The accreditation process involved a project team of 7 staff from across the business, who agreed the project outline and responsibility and roles. This team agreed the preparation for a document review and two days on-site assessment of interviews and focus groups with staff across the business and customers. EW Group supported City West in refocusing on the new Equality Act requirements, internal planning and development as well as identifying the next steps. All processes were linked directly to the day to day business activities of City West. The accreditation process is supportive but rigorous and has an independent review panel as well as being endorsed by SFEDI.
Sefa Amesu – Service Development Officer commented; “One of the great things that came out of this accreditation that really surprised us was the number of things we already do as an organisation that were identified as good practice. We soon realised that this is a result of practices that are naturally embedded into our culture and integral to what we do. DiBA’s primary aim is to build upon best practice in City West. We have found that it is an effective way of celebrating what City West already does and achieving recognition for this work.”
David Hierons, a City West customer commented on the Accreditation: “As an involved customer I was amazed to find out about the range of work City West is undertaking to ensure equality and diversity is woven throughout its services. I was proud to learn City West was awarded the DiBA Accreditation and at the highest level.
The partnership approach with EW Group in relation to training up DiBA assessors means that DiBA can be tailored to housing and housing related organisations through the support of the expertise in City West.
Steve Sheridan Equality and Diversity Service Improvement Group ( SEG )Chair and Board Member and Lisa Scully Assistant Director of Business Assurance receiving their DiBA Execellence plaque with members of City West's DIBA project group