An insider’s view into achieving QED
Charysse Harper, Financial Inclusion Officer at Cynon Taf Community Housing, gives us her insight into achieving the QED Accreditation. Cynon Taf were presented with their accreditation in February 2020, one year on from beginning their journey to meet the QED standard across all areas of the organisation, including governance, service delivery, customer experience, engagement and employment.
This February we were thrilled to receive the news that we had successfully been awarded the Quality in Equality and Diversity Accreditation (QED) by Tai Pawb. It had been 12 months since we started our journey; a journey full of research, evidence gathering, policy making, rule changing, training and much more. Here’s a bit more about our experience and the results.
What we did
Our first task was to set up a working group across all departments to be the driving force towards our accreditation. This group would eventually become the Equality and Diversity Forum, consisting of senior management, officers, and assistants with varying levels of experience and experiences.
This Forum was a safe space where queries, questions, and concerns could be talked about openly and where members, no matter what their level, could make amendments, give constructive criticism and compliment different practices and procedures.
Our next task was to work with Tai Pawb through the whole QED process. This included: Staff, Board, and Stakeholder surveys; focus groups with tenants, officers and managers; and one-to-one interviews with our Chair, Vice-Chair, CEO, heads of departments and some external partners. Additionally, Tai Pawb carried out a desk top review of all the documentary evidence that we could amass, to ensure that our approach to equality and diversity was well and truly checked.
The third and probably largest task was to work through the resulting QED Action Plan, ensuring that we made the changes and improvements we needed to become an organisation that is even more focused on equality and diversity.
How we feel
No one said that the road to accreditation would be a smooth one. There have been challenges, but it has been a journey that we knew we needed to take. Tai Pawb were there at every bump in the road to let us know that our foundations were solid, and our intentions were good.
The QED has been our guide; like a good friend, it sat us down, peeled away our layers and encouraged us to reflect on ourselves. It showed us our strengths, revealed our blemishes and ultimately, it guided us to a place where we were able to look back at ourselves in that mirror and be proud of what we saw.
As our Chief Exec, Victoria Slade, states “applying the framework has definitely improved the way we think and do things – with constructive challenge along the way from Tai Pawb. This is a great marker of progress and the hard work of teams across the organisation – but we know we can always do more around fairness and equality.”
What has changed?
The shift in culture is palpable. Equality and Diversity is now at the “forefront of our thinking” says Adrian Jones, our Infrastructure and Systems manager. We now work in a more “proactive environment” and this has led to staff thinking about how we spread the message.
“We realise this is bigger than just ourselves.”
Where to go from here…
We are not complacent, and we know that the QED was only ever the starting point for change. The Equality and Diversity Forum has not suddenly disbanded because we have achieved this accreditation. We may never be the tour de force when it comes to E & D, because we know that no organisation is perfect, but it won’t stop us from trying. By utilising the tools that we’ve been given by Tai Pawb and the commitment to our tenants, staff, partners and community, we continue to strive to be the best we can.