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We’re committed to diversity – not through words but actions

Fiona Deal Current Photo to use - March 2018.jpg

If we don’t represent the diversity of our customers at the highest levels of our businesses, how can we be sure our decisions are providing the best solutions for our communities?

Fiona Deal, Executive Director of People and Technology

When you think of the diverse range of people housing associations serve you would expect their leadership teams to reflect that diversity.

Not the case. Only 4% of senior leadership roles in housing associations are held by individuals from BME backgrounds, compared to 14% in the UK population.

 If we don’t represent the diversity of our customers at the highest levels of our businesses, how can we be sure our decisions are providing the best solutions for our communities?

This is why Network Homes has signed up to Leadership 2025 - a nine-month intensive senior leadership development programme which aims to grow BME talent and create a housing sector with more BME leaders. It seeks to positively challenge the sector to acknowledge diversity is good for business, not just a tick-box exercise.

Leadership 2025 encourages housing organisations to become leadership diversity champions by signing up to a 5 point plan based on the recommendations of the Altair Review

  1. Report annually on key diversity statistics
  2. Set aspirational targets for their board and committee recruitment from under-represented groups
  3. Interview more diverse pools of candidates
  4. Develop the leadership pipeline of junior and middle-management BME individuals in their organisation
  5. Chief executives and boards should lead by example, taking a proactive and visible role in promoting, monitoring and endorsing the recommendations from the research.

We signed up to the plan in January, and I joined the steering group alongside the founder members, L&Q, Optivo and BME London Group.

It was important to us at Network Homes to get involved with this initiative at the earliest opportunity because we want to demonstrate our commitment to diversity - not just by talking about it, but by doing something that has the potential to create a more ethnically diverse leadership across the housing sector. 

We see this as a win-win: opportunities for executive-ready future BME leaders to secure a place at the top table; and for our organisation and the whole sector to benefit from a broader range of skills, perspectives and solutions that truly reflect our communities and the people we house.

Find out more at www.leadership2025.co.uk