Quod Erat Demonstrandum – Key Themes from QED
Since QED was launched over 2 years ago, Tai Pawb has carried out Stage 1 QED assessments on six housing associations of varying sizes and structures, from under 1000 properties to over 10,000 properties. So far, two have completed Stage 2 to attain the QED Award, while others are working hard to carry out action plans before Stage 2 assessment. Despite this variety, some common themes have started to emerge, helping us identify key challenges and strengths of the sector in relation to equality and diversity.
Not all housing associations have the same issues, of course, but here are some emerging themes, and resources available for if these issues resonate with you:
Governance: While most associations have been very successful in achieving a good balance of men and women on their Boards, broader diversity is proving more difficult to achieve. Board scrutiny of issues through an equality and diversity lens is also an area requiring further focus.
Engagement: As with Boards, tenant engagement groups also face challenges in achieving diversity, missing out on the variety of experiences, outlooks, knowledge and understanding that would be gained through better involvement of under-represented groups.
Tenant Awareness: We have met some brilliant, passionate tenants as part of QED, but many have not had Equality and Diversity training. As a result, they do not always have the knowledge to apply inclusive practices, or the confidence to challenge if something feels instinctively wrong.
To help overcome the challenges around Governance, Engagement and Tenant Awareness, members can access Good Practice Briefings like “Board Diversity – an idealistic goal or realistic benefit for governance?” for ideas on how to increase board diversity or Inspirational Community Engagement for increasing tenant engagement group diversity.
Data Collection: The good news is that there’s lots of data being collected out there but it’s not always being scrutinised, or used to improve services.
Tai Pawb provides model equality monitoring forms to help members word their equalities questions in a way to get meaningful responses and customer profiling training to help housing associations understand how to use the data they are gathering.
Equality Impact Assessments: Our members and others have told us that they’re either not doing Equality Impact Assessments (a great use for your data), or they don’t feel confident that the assessments are meaningful or impactful in their approach.
If this an area you would like further guidance, Tai Pawb provides a free EIA toolkit for members, which includes a template form and a briefing on the thinking behind EIAs, as well as EIA training tailored to the housing sector.
Good Practice (our favourite!): QED not only focuses on areas for improvement but also highlights good practice. There is good practice everywhere and that is something to celebrate! Housing associations often don’t even realise that what they are doing is good practice but see it as business as usual. Through our helpline and events, Tai Pawb is able to share this good practice with others to help make good practice the norm.
In particular, it overwhelmingly come through that housing associations are responsive to individuals’ needs, and passionate about providing a good service for their customers, tenants, residents and service users, as well as for their staff and stakeholders.
This is an exciting time for QED as key themes start to emerge. Great work is being done by housing associations working towards achieving the quality mark, leading to improved outcomes for all. To find out more about QED, or for support with any of the identified themes or any other challenges, please take a look at the information available on the Tai Pawb website, or contact Helen Roach or Ceri Meloy