Nottingham City Homes (NCH) has been awarded an Excellent level accreditation from the Social Housing Equality Framework (SHEF) in recognition of its commitment to promoting equality and diversity.
SHEF accreditation is awarded by the Local Government Association and aims to help organisations integrate their commitments to equality and diversity into their day-to-day work.
This is the first time NCH has undertaken such an accreditation and has achieved the highest level possible. The Excellent level acknowledged commitment from the Board and colleagues and recognises equality and diversity is truly embedded throughout the organisation.
The SHEF accreditation is evaluated through a peer challenge process which validates an organisation’s self-assessment by looking at documentation evidence as well as carrying interviews and focus groups with employees and other stakeholders.
Anita Hodson, Equality and Diversity Lead at Nottingham City Homes said: “To have achieved accreditation at this level is a testament to the work being carried out across the organisation every single day. Our approach means that we focus on tackling disadvantage through everything we do, it’s based on needs and is delivered with tenant participation through all levels of the organisation.”
NCH’s peer evaluation was carried out by peers from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Leicester City Council, South Lakes Housing, Newcastle City Council and the Local Government Association.
The peer challenge benchmarks against five areas of performance:
• Knowing your customers and equality mapping
• Leadership, partnership and organisational commitment
• Community engagement and satisfaction
• Responsive services and customer care
• A progressive and diverse workforce
The external challenge noted significant areas of strength across the organisation’s work with customers, partners and staff alike.
The panel found NCH to be a self-aware and inclusive organisation commenting that the Chair of Board and Chief Executive visibly promote and demonstrate clear leadership and ensure focus is on outcomes not just processes.
They also highlighted areas where NCH goes beyond its statutory responsibility through initiatives including Safer Notts Partnership, Future Leaders programme, employability and tenant involvement.
Many tangible outcomes were recognised across each of the five areas benchmarked and areas for future consideration to build on the success achieved were discussed.
Anita concludes: “The fact that this is a peer evaluated accreditation means that we can learn from other organisations and share our experiences with them too, which helps us all to continually improve. We are privileged to work in a diverse city and want to reflect and serve all our residents as best we can.”