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RACE EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY

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					          REGULATORY CODE

    4     GOOD PRACTICE NOTE
          NOVEMBER 2002




RACE EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY


INTRODUCTION                                         WHAT IS THE CORPORATION’S ROLE IN
                                                     RELATION TO RACE EQUALITY AND
The Housing Corporation registers and regulates      DIVERSITY?
housing associations, legally known as registered
social landlords, in England. We set out our         The Housing Corporation is identified as a
expectations of housing associations in the          statutory body in the Race Relations
Regulatory Code and Guidance, published in           (Amendment) Act 2000. This means that we have
2002.                                                general duties to eliminate unlawful racial
                                                     discrimination; promote equality of opportunity;
In addition, we produce Good Practice Notes,         and promote good relations between people of
such as this one, which expand upon our              different racial groups. It also means that the
requirements and give advice to housing              Corporation must produce a Race Equality
associations on how they can be met.                 Scheme, in which we identify our core activities
                                                     and how we will ensure that we promote race
This Good Practice Note is about Race Equality       equality across all of these areas.
and Diversity. The note covers:
                                                     Regulation is central to the work of the
s    the Corporation’s role in relation to Race      Corporation. Therefore, in order to meet our
     Equality and Diversity;                         statutory responsibilities we must ensure that we
s    why Race Equality and Diversity are             regulate housing associations in a way that
     important for housing associations;             promotes race equality.
s    the standards of performance that
     associations must meet;                         Apart from this legal duty, we believe that Race
s    the target dates for meeting these standards;   Equality and Diversity are key to delivering good
s    how the Corporation will regulate               performance across the housing association
     performance on Race Equality and                sector, another of our main aims for regulation.
     Diversity;
s    other sources of Good Practice and
     information.                                    WHY IS RACE EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
                                                     IMPORTANT FOR HOUSING
A Good Practice Note covering wider Equality         ASSOCIATIONS?
and Diversity issues will be published at a later
date.                                                Achieving the highest standard of performance
                                                     on Race Equality and Diversity is important

                                                     s    because of the legal and regulatory
                                                          framework in which associations work;
                                                     s    because of the moral responsibility
                                                          associations have to work towards a just and
                                                          tolerant society;
                                                     s    because it makes good business sense.




                                                                                                     1
WHY DOES RACE EQUALITY MAKE GOOD                      Recruiting the best staff.  Only by drawing the
BUSINESS SENSE FOR HOUSING                            best talent from all sections of the community
ASSOCIATIONS?                                         can housing associations ensure that they have
                                                      the best staff for the job. This can only be done
There are a number of reasons why achieving the       by having fair recruitment processes and
best possible performance on Race Equality and        corporate commitment to encouraging and
Diversity is good for an association’s business.      supporting applications from a diverse range of
                                                      people.
Understanding the customer.   Central to delivering
continuous improvement of services is                 Delivering the best leadership.  The senior
understanding the views and needs of customers        management teams and governing bodies of
and using this information to drive forward           associations need to understand their customers
review and reform. Understanding the diversity of     in order to deliver clear business leadership. One
customers and their needs is, therefore, at the       of the best ways of achieving this is by ensuring
heart of any effective system of delivering high      these teams reflect the diversity of communities
quality services.                                     the organisations they lead work in.

Developing new products and services. Over    time    Building and protecting a good reputation.  Poor
associations need to look at the products and         performance on Race Equality and Diversity can
services they provide in order to ensure that they    lead to bad publicity and damage the reputation
continue to meet the needs of the communities         of a housing association. In contrast, good
they work in. Taking account of the diversity of      performance often delivers good publicity and
these communities will be crucial to developing       can enhance an association’s reputation.
the right products and services for the future.

Ensuring continued demand for products and            WHAT ARE THE STANDARDS OF
services. As well as developing new products and      PERFORMANCE ON RACE EQUALITY AND
services, housing associations need to ensure that    DIVERSITY THAT HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS
they keep the existing products and services they     ARE EXPECTED TO MEET?
offer relevant to the needs of the communities
where they work. Taking account of diversity of       Our expectations of housing associations are set
customers and their aspirations when doing this       out in the Regulatory Code and Guidance. The
will keep the appeal of these products and            relevant sections are:
services as broad as possible and help sustain long
term demand.                                          s    2.7 which includes general requirements as
                                                           to associations’ performance on the full
Winning new business.    Many housing                      range of equalities and diversity, plus
associations actively pursue new business from a           specific measurable expectations on race
number of sources from transfer of local                   equality;
authority housing and contracts for supplying key     s    3.2 which includes an expectation that
worker accommodation to providing affordable               associations’ governing bodies receive
housing in conjunction with private developers.            regular reports on all aspects of
Good performance on Race Equality and                      performance;
Diversity is increasingly becoming a criterion in     s    3.5 which includes an expectation that
the selection process for all these types of               associations’ services should be responsive
partnership.                                               to the individual characteristics and
                                                           circumstances of residents.




2                                                                    REGULATORY CODE GOOD PRACTICE NOTE
WHAT ARE THE TARGET DATES FOR                               HOW WILL THE CORPORATION REGULATE
ACHIEVING THESE LEVELS OF                                   HOUSING ASSOCIATION PERFORMANCE
PERFORMANCE?                                                OF RACE EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY?

All associations should seek to achieve the highest         We regulate to ensure good performance on Race
standards of performance at the earliest possible           Equality and Diversity using three principal tools:
opportunity. However, we recognise that
improved performance on Race Equality and                   s    Lead Regulation
Diversity may not happen overnight. In our                  s    Equality and Diversity Reviews
response to the Race and Housing Inquiry                    s    the Inspection Process
Challenge Report we said that our regulatory
requirement would be that associations should
work towards achieving targets over a three year            LEAD REGULATION
period. We indicated a phased introduction, and
the timetable (Table 1) sets out our expectations           Lead regulators and Financial Analysts have a
for improvement. If associations do not appear to           continuous engagement with associations and
be making the sort of progress envisaged, the               will take Race Equality and Diversity issues into
Corporation will expect to investigate.                     account when they carry out a range of activities,
                                                            including

                                                            s    Risk Reviews
                                                            s    Governance Reviews
                                                            s    Procurement Reviews
                                                            s    Reviews of the approach to Continuous
                                                                 Improvement



    Table 1

    Area of activity           By April 2003          By April 2004      By April 2005       By April 2006

    • Lettings                 Targets set            Action plans       Demonstrable        Continuous
    • Tenant satisfaction      and performance        to recify any      improvements        improvement
    • Dealing with racial      monitored              shortfall          in performance
    harassment                                        against target
    • Staffing
    • Governing body
    membership

    • Tenant and resident                             Targets set        Action plans        Demonstrable
    association membership                            and performance    to recify any       improvements
    • Employment of                                   monitored          shortfall           in performance
    contractors, consultants                                             against target
    and suppliers




RACE EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY                                                                                   3
They will also check on the implementation of               Diversity as set out in the Code and
recommendations made after Inspections and                  Guidance;
Equality and Diversity Reviews, and keep a             s    does not have in place adequate plans for
watching brief on progress. In this way, we hope            delivering improved performance within the
to send a clear message that good performance               required timescale and has fallen behind the
on Race Equality and Diversity is critical to good          timetable indicated in this note;
performance across an association’s activities and     s    refuses to accept its responsibilities with
not a separate, stand-alone exercise.                       regard to Race Equality and Diversity;
                                                       s    does not accept the findings of our review
                                                            or inspection and refuses to put our
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY REVIEWS                              recommendations for improvement into
                                                            place.
From time to time Lead Regulators may carry
out reviews looking specifically at performance
on Equality and Diversity. In some cases these         INSPECTION
reviews may be even more specific and
concentrate on Race Equality.                          The Housing Corporation introduced a
                                                       programme of formal inspections for housing
Both kinds of review will focus on the full range      associations in April 2002. Government has now
of requirements set out in the Regulatory Code         decided to introduce a new single housing
and Guidance and check that progress towards           inspectorate which will be based at the Audit
meeting these standards is in line with the            Commission. This is expected to start in April
timetable identified in this Good Practice Note.       2003. We will be working closely with the
                                                       Commission to deliver the programme, which
An Equality and Diversity Review could be              will continue to regard Equality and Diversity
included on an association’s Regulatory Plan for a     performance as key. The inspections, which will
number of reasons, some of the most likely of          be carried out periodically, are focussed on
which are:                                             assessing and improving the performance of
                                                       associations in terms of their services for
s    because we may be seeking to develop an           residents.
     understanding of performance across the
     sector on Race Equality and Diversity in a        As part of this process, inspection teams will
     particular area or at a specific point in time;   examine performance on the customer facing
s    because an association works in an area with      aspects of Equality and Diversity; make a formal
     a very diverse population;                        assessment of performance and
s    because we have received indications of an        recommendations for how services can be
     association’s poor performance on Race            improved.
     Equality and Diversity;
s    because we are aware that an association has      In particular they will look at:
     a good reputation and we want to identify
     Good Practice.                                    1.   how services are planned.
                                                            This will include:
As with Inspection and other forms of regulatory            s how information on the diversity of
review, poor performance identified as part of                customers and the broader community is
Equality and Diversity Review could lead to an                used to develop and improve products
association being placed under our supervision.               and services.
This might happen because the association:                  s what policies, guidance and training are
                                                              in place for staff on Equality and
s    is significantly failing to meet our regulatory          Diversity issues
     requirements relating to Race Equality and             s how Equality and Diversity issues are


4                                                                     REGULATORY CODE GOOD PRACTICE NOTE
        ‘mainstreamed’ into the business                s   that the performance of associations is at
        planning, risk and operational                      the same high level for all tenants and
        management of associations                          residents.

2.   how services are delivered.                   5.   how performance, policy and practice are
     This will include:                                 reviewed and evaluated.
     s how associations ensure that their               This will include:
       services are easily accessible to all.           s the programme and scope of service
     s that staff and governing body members               reviews carried out by associations.
       are aware of their obligations in respect        s how the views of tenants and residents
       of Equality and Diversity issues.                   from diverse communities are used to
     s that the quality of services provided is            inform service reviews.
       equally as good for all tenants and              s the targets for improvement that are set
       residents.                                          following service reviews.

3.   how tenants and residents are involved with
     and consulted on the management of their      WHAT OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION
     homes.                                        AND GOOD PRACTICE ON RACE
     This will include:                            EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY CAN
     s the range of involvement and                ASSOCIATIONS ACCESS?
       consultation techniques used by
       associations.                               The Corporation’s Bank of Good Practice for
     s how associations ensure that they involve   Continuous Improvement includes a section on
       and consult with vulnerable and             compliance with section 2.7 of the Regulatory
       marginalized communities.                   Code, which sets our expectations on Race
     s how associations involve and consult with   Equality and Diversity. The information includes
       a broad range of stakeholders, including    links to some of our recent publications in this
       those working with and on behalf of         area, guidance and good practice produced by
       vulnerable and marginalized groups          others and some useful websites and sources of
       within the community.                       information. It is continually updated.

4.   how outcomes for tenants and residents are    The Good Practice Bank can be found in the
     monitored.                                    Resources section of the Corporation’s website
     This will include:                            www.housingcorp.gov.uk
     s the range of Performance Indicators and
       other information on Equality and           Information on Race Equality and Diversity is in
       Diversity issues that are recorded and      element 2.7 of the Properly Governed part of the
       reported to the governing body, tenants     site.
       and other stakeholders.




RACE EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY                                                                           5

				
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