Black and minority ethnic employment in social housing

Author(s): Ronny Flynn;  

Briefing series: Better Housing Briefing Paper 1

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: February 2007

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Black and minority ethnic employment in social housing
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Black and minority ethnic staff are underrepresented in the social housing sector, particularly at senior officer and management levels.  This can have a knock on effect on the provision of appropriate services, and the prevention of racist discrimination. This paper outlines methods to increase diversity in the housing workforce, including positive action in recruitment and retention; regulation and legislation; management and leadership techniques; and increased representation on steering groups and boards.  Work is also needed to increase representation amongst contractors, suppliers and consultants employed in the sector.

Key messages:

  • Black and minority ethnic users of social housing want similar things to majority ethnic users, but they do find added value in having staff that share their own background
  • There are compelling arguments for increasing staff diversity that include valuebase and ethical ones and a business case; but no approach on its own is enough
  • Positive action in recruitment and retention does work, but needs sustaining and following through to ensure staff and volunteers reach top levels
  • Regulation and legislation can be a strategic tool for effective organisational change. Tried and tested management and leadership techniques exist, but practice still lags behind
  • Provider governing bodies such as steering groups and boards are still not reflective enough of the people they serve. Increased confidence in the sector through this kind of representation can lead to increase in workforce diversity
  • There is work to be done to increase representation amongst contractors, suppliers and consultants employed in the sector.

Sections:

  • Black and minority ethnic staff add value to an organisation
  • The moral and ethical and business case for race equality and diversity are both important
  • Positive action in recruitment and retention does work
  • Regulatory frameworks, leadership and management strategies
  • Better representation on steering groups and boards is needed
  • There needs to be more minority-led representation amongst contractors, suppliers and consultants