Our Equality and Diversity strategy 2010 strategy was approved by our Board in May 2010. It contains six key objectives:
- Fulfil our statutory and regulatory responsibilities and attain the ‘excellent’ level of the Social Housing Equality Framework;
- Ensure effective engagement with all groups of residents and increase satisfaction;
- Provide accessible services that are responsive to residents’ needs, particularly those who are vulnerable;
- Ensure that equality and diversity issues are addressed by partners and contractors providing services on behalf of and in conjunction with us;
- Maintain a progressive and diverse workforce and Board that reflects our client groups at all levels;
- Enhance awareness amongst staff on the importance of equality and diversity so that they put into practice our approach in the delivery of services.
The strategy includes details of information we used to developed our key objectives. This includes:
- The population profile of the borough of Lewisham and profiles of our tenants and leaseholders
- Profiling for the people who work for us
- Community needs as set out in needs assessments and reviews
- Performance data about services and outcomes
- Perspectives from tenants and leaseholders
Updates on these are regularly reported to our Board.
How the strategy will benefit residents
Some of the actions within the strategy include:
- Increasing the information on our residents so that we can deliver more effective services
- Developing a programme of surgeries within the community for Vietnamese and Somali residents;
- Working with young residents to develop a young people’s section on our website;
- Reviewing the Resident Compact to ensure that opportunities for involvement are improved;
Promoting accessible services
- Kiosks in the Pepys and Holbeach offices giving details of our services to those who have problems with vision, literacy or where English is not their first language
- Induction loops installed in all reception areas and interview rooms
- Front entrance doors of all offices open and close automatically to assist wheelchair users and others who may be disabled
- Key signs in offices are translated into Braille;
- Leaflets and statements in audio, large print and Braille when required;
- A website that features BrowseAloud technology which means you can listen to our web news;
- Dexterity kits that provide visual aids for reading and writing, minicom and induction (hearing loops) in all our reception areas and interview rooms;
- Staff who are trained in British Sign Language;
- A decoration scheme for older and disabled tenants where two rooms can be decorated subject to certain criteria;
- Referrals to external organisations such as Lewisham Reach who can help tenants who may be vulnerable maintain their tenancy.
Supporting vulnerable people
We are currently strengthening how we support people who are vulnerable, particularly during any disruption associated with major works. For example we ensure contractors working on our Decent Homes programme identify disabled and elderly residents before the works commence and have employed additional Occupational Therapy resources to support this.
Why do you want to know my details?
We collect information on our tenants and leaseholders to help us understand our customers and the community we serve. This is sometimes referred to as customer profiling. We are required by law and by those who regulate us to request our customers’ details so that we can provide the best possible service to them.
We may ask about your age, disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion as well as any vulnerability, language and communication needs. We gather this information at sign up, through surveys, open days and meetings and sometimes when you contact us.
We are committed to the protection of personal information and guarantee your information will be held securely, in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998).
We use this information to help us:
- Check if we are providing a fair and accessible service to all;
- Reduce barriers to groups accessing and participating in the service;
- Work out how to deliver services that can continue to meet any changing needs;
- Understand residents’ preferred means of communication with us;
- Check that people who are using our services are satisfied with them and investigate if there are any apparent differences in satisfaction for some groups.
Examples of where we have used information includes providing:
- A DVD about our services at sign-up to tenants – this has also been translated into local community languages;
- A basic adaptations service for those who are disabled;
- Welfare benefit and debt advice;
- A flexible repairs service;
- Better targeting our translation and interpreting services