Local housing provider achieves national equality mark

Written by Ross Thomas

Social housing landlord, Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association (MTHA), has been successful in achieving a prestigious and nationally-recognised equality and diversity mark for housing providers.

The QED Award (Quality in Equality and Diversity), deQED logoveloped by Welsh housing charity, Tai Pawb, provides a comprehensive framework for improving the equality and diversity impact of an organisation. Awarded by an independent panel, it reports on strategic areas such as governance, leadership and culture as well as customer-facing service provision, including access and tenant involvement.

Staff and Board members from across the organisation, as well as tenants, contractors and partner organisations engaged in the 12-month accreditation process which included staff surveys, engagement with tenants, on-site visits, a review of policies and procedures and the production of an action plan. The award includes an annual check-up where Tai Pawb will monitor progress on MTHA’s action plan and offer support to meet challenges.

Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association – which manages more than 1,100 homes in the borough of Merthyr Tydfil – joins Melin Homes, Merthyr Valleys Homes and Cynon Taff Community Housing as the fourth housing association recipient of the award in Wales.

Commenting on its success, Chief Executive of Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association, Karen Courts, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded the QED accreditation. We have worked across our organisation to improve our approach to equality and diversity making a real difference to the way we run and manage our service provision for our tenants and the wider community. We have worked closely with Tai Pawb who have provided great support to enable us to continue making progress over the last 6 months which have been challenging due the changing working environment during the pandemic.

“We are committed to making a difference and have also signed up to the Deeds Not Words Pledge to help address long standing issues and tackle racial inequality. We will continue to learn and improve together as an organisation.”

Alicja Zalesinska, director of Tai Pawb, added:

“We are delighted to see another housing association receiving the QED award – now the fourth in Wales.

“Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association deserves congratulations for having demonstrated a clear commitment to prioritising equality and diversity.

“Staff in particular were open-minded to change and transparent about existing work as well as the challenges that lie ahead. Moreover, the organisation as a whole had enhanced and developed new and innovative partnerships with stakeholders across a wide spectrum of issues such as domestic abuse, health and wellbeing.

“In every part of the organisation, there was enthusiasm for the programme of work and a genuine willingness to learn from others.

“The award is testament to the high regard with which the organisation holds equality and diversity, all the more so having completed a large part of it throughout the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges that were brought with it”.