Deeds Not Words
A Pledge to Action
The race equality challenge for social housing in Wales
Recent events have shone a new light on the racial inequalities and racism experienced by BAME communities across the globe, in the UK and in Wales.
The impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on Black, Asian and other Ethnic Minority groups have been profound, with BAME communities up to two times more likely to die from the disease than others. Many of the reasons for this impact are linked to long standing socio-economic disadvantage, structural racism and lack of BAME representation within decision making to influence better outcomes. The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified these inequalities.
The murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement and the subsequent protests across the globe, have also highlighted the systemic inequalities and injustice, with BAME communities in the UK and Wales demanding lasting changes to how we tackle systemic racial inequality.
Since its inception in 2005 Tai Pawb has been working with the housing sector to tackle race inequality but it is clear that we need a clear leadership commitment to make tangible changes to how we work and what we do.
To make this happen we are calling on our members in Wales, to sign up to the pledges below and deliver on them in the next 5 years. We see these as the necessary first step to begin the process of addressing the concerns of communities threatened due to racial inequalities.
We are calling on housing associations, local authorities, housing support and all other member organisations to sign up to the pledge. We are aware that some of the actions will only pertain to housing associations, some to housing providers and others can be undertaken by any housing or third sector organisation which is a member of Tai Pawb. Join us in tackling racism and racial inequality.
We are acutely aware that in undertaking the below work we need to challenge and ask ourselves and the sector why some of the past initiatives haven’t worked, what has been successful and this learning should be at the core of addressing the below challenges. We know for example that in some organisations gender pay gap reporting and subsequent action lead to tangible outcomes. Our QED staff surveys also show the impact of the work undertaken by organisations as part of their QED journey. We know that Wales has much more female CEO’s than England. We know that we saw a marked increase in female representation on boards following regulatory and leadership focus on this area. And we know that the Rooney Rule has made a real difference in the NFL.
Nevertheless, there are more lessons to be learned and at the core of this learning should be an honest reflection on the role of leadership in the failed initiatives of the past and in driving this change. We are keen to work with and support the sector in seizing this opportunity as we might not get another one.
The pledges below have been developed based on the data and evidence on inequalities and experiences we have been obtaining through our QED Award work as well as wider consultancy, support and engagement work we carry out with our members. The multiple events and conversations we’ve had with people of colour in housing and beyond paint a concerning picture of significant and persistent impact of systemic racism and discrimination and the need for systemic change.
We are also aware that we need a full and concrete picture of where we are on race and housing in Wales so that we can measure progress. We know for example that only 3% of RSL board members are BAME compared to 6% of population, but we need more concrete data about our starting position, therefore our first step will be to carry out a survey to obtain a clear baseline of where the sector is on race equality. This will inform how we measure progress and whether we can develop initiatives to support the change going forward. We will carry out regular surveys and engagement to assess what has changed and publish the results. We are also keen to explore whether there is a role that the regulator can play in helping to lead this change.
We would also like our work to be further driven by BAME people linked to housing and we plan to do this through the Deeds Not Words panel.
- Adopt the All Wales Covid-19 Risk Assessment Tool which recognises the increased risk of COVID-19 to BAME staff and act on findings (ensure concerns of Black, Asian and other minority ethnic staff are treated seriously and addressed in a compassionate way, without the fear of being disadvantaged if work is realigned)
- Commit to wellbeing/psychological and other support to Black, Asian and other minority ethnic staff who might feel affected or vulnerable right now
- Investigate reasons for overcrowding and worse housing conditions amongst some BAME groups. Start acting on findings
- Adopt the Rooney Rule in at job levels where you identify under representation
- Report annually and act on findings:
- ethnicity pay gap (where pay gap reporting is not possible due to small sample sizes – report BAME employee ratios at different levels)
- recruitment, promotion and retention ethnicity data
- Invest in recruitment channels to bring in more Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority applicants
- Train all staff and board in Unconscious Bias and raise awareness of white privilege
- Ensure ethnically diverse recruitment panels
- Invest resources in positive action initiatives aimed at improving BAME representation at levels showing gaps. This can include leadership development programmes, mentoring/shadowing opportunities and internal talent pipeline initiatives
- Publicise your support for racial equality including: voiced support for Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff and tenants/people you serve, commitment to anti-racist practice and awareness of specific challenges facing your organisation or community
- Together with above – publish your commitment to take specific actions to tackle the challenges you identified. Report on progress annually
- Disaggregate ethnicity data in your tenant/service user satisfaction surveys and other tenant/service user surveys. Use other channels to learn about the experiences of BAME tenants/service users. Act on findings
- Build links with and support BAME community groups in the area and beyond, invest in building their capacity to support local communities and bring in community knowledge and challenge to the organisation
- In asylum dispersal areas, commit to donating or leasing housing to refugee housing initiatives (where these exist)
- Chief Executives, senior leaders/Heads of Housing and boards to take a proactive role in championing and monitoring progress on these pledges.
- Chief Executives, senior leaders/Heads of Housing and boards to actively support and promote an inclusive culture where people are comfortable talking about race and can bring their whole self to work
- Actively support and promote a culture where Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority staff and tenants/service users are comfortable to voice concerns related to race and are believed when this happens
- Invest in reverse mentoring schemes to share experiences and improve opportunities
A big thank you to these organisations who have signed up to the pledge:
What happens next?
Sign up by e-mailing our Policy & Public Affairs Manager, Ross – firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you’ve signed up, we’ll be touch to find out more about your organisation and ways we can support you to achieve these goals, we will keep you updated on research and events we are conducting. We will also send over some campaign materials so you can publicise your support. In the meantime please get in touch if you have any questions!
We would like to thank the following people for the time and support they have given us to develop these pledges:
Uzo Iwobi OBE