Equality and diversity
Equality and Diversity are integral to all our activities and in every aspect of the work that we do. We aim to respond to the wide social diversity within the communities in which we operate, and ensure that we fully reflect this in our policies and procedures and through the day-to-day delivery of services.
We aim to treat everyone with respect and value their differences. We do this by providing excellent customer service, in which everyone's quality of life is considered to be of great importance.
Equality and Diversity Strategy
Our Equality and Diversity Strategy reflects our values and provides a framework through which we work to fulfil our obligations. It demonstrates our commitment to dealing with discrimination, ensuring no one feels disadvantaged or excluded, and providing opportunities for our customers, staff and Board Members.
Equality and Diversity Working Group
Our Equality and Diversity Working Group is made up of both customers and staff, who meet once a month. The Group manage Paradigm's approach to equality and diversity and support staff and residents in recognising and valuing the diversity of our communities.
Faiths and Cultures
Sometimes people belong to a religion because they are born into it. Others follow a faith because they have chosen its ideals and ways of life. We should not make assumptions about a person’s religion, or if indeed they have one, from their ethnic background.
This Quick Guide to Faiths and Cultures aims to teach us about some of the main religions of Paradigm customers, so that we can better understand the diverse cultures and faiths held by our neighbours, and how they are observed.
Access to Our Services
We aim to ensure everyone has equal access to our services and in particular take into account the needs of disabled, vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.
- All our communications are available in large print, on CD and audio tape, in Braille or translated into another language.
- If you call us we can arrange an interpretor and customers can also contact us using Typetalk.
- If you visit our offices we provide portable hearing loops.
Our Customer Access Strategy details what we are currently doing to provide the very best services in a way and at a time that is convenient for our customers. We are committed to ensuring that our customers have a choice in how they access our staff and our services and that we tailor the way we provide services and information to meet individual customer needs wherever possible. This strategy incorporates the views of our customers.
What is an Equality Impact Assessment?
Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) are the method we use to review our services to ensure that they are equally available to any customer who needs to use them irrespective of who they are and where they live. We look at the customer characteristic groups defined by the Equality Act 2010 which are:
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnerships
- Maternity and pregnancy
- Religion or belief
- Sex (Gender)
- Sexual Orientation
Where any barriers to accessing our services are identified we look to see how we can remove or overcome them. If we find that one group of customers have a different experience of our service and express lower satisfaction than other customer groups we will investigate further to identify potential reasons for this and whether further action is needed to address this difference in experience.
We complete an equality impact assessment for new strategies, policies and procedures. Our Resident Forum and Board will review the outcomes of the equality impact assessment as part of the approval process required for new strategies and policies.
Paradigm Housing has a rolling programme of Equality Impact Assessments that involve both staff delivering the service and customers. Using the customer profile information provided by customers is a key part of the equality impact assessment process.
Some of the improvements we have made in 2012-2013
We are continually making improvements to the accessibility of our services to all sections of the community steered by our staff Equality and Diversity Working Group.
Along with a range of other changes, in the last year we have:
- delivered four imaginative and impactful awareness campaigns through 2012, these were around:
- International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in March
- International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) May
- Youth Day in August
- Mental Health Awareness Day in October
- closed our Ruislip office, making all Paradigm offices fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act
- completed Equality Impact Assessments for:
- anti-social behaviour
- estate management
- customer involvement
- delivered awareness training for staff regarding racial harassment hate crime, domestic abuse and mental health
- updated our customer profile questionnaire on questions relating to disability, so the information is more usable
- ensured text alerts are used consistently in repair visits for residents who have told us they have hearing problems
- made our residents magazine, Paradigm People, available in large print and audio formats
- provided large print versions of letters to customers requesting them and other documents in Braille upon request.
- updated our Victim and Witness Support policy
Priorities for action
Some of the things we are planning to achieve over the next year and beyond include:
Involvement, Consultation and Communication
- Continuing to increase the involvement of a wider cross-section of age groups e.g. younger people
- Using customer profiling and information from partner agencies to ensure that communications take into account the needs of different customers
- Developing different ways to enable those underrepresented to get involved
- Ensuring that all communications are in Plain English and avoid jargon
- Addressing the differences in customer satisfaction levels between different groups to improve outcomes
- Working with tenants with alcohol and drug issues to provide greater support
- Building support and trust between different communities to encourage reporting of domestic abuse · Improving the information about the support available to tenants, not living on PHG estates, who are the victims of anti-social behaviour
- Improving partnership working by building stronger links with other agencies
- Promote events to build trust and communications between different customers and communities Data and Information
- Continuing to improve the information on the profile of residents and staff members
- Ensuring that profile information is used effectively to address the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged
- Use the information from housing officers and others on the ground to build intelligence about neighbourhoods and individual needs
- Ensuring that all Paradigm staff are aware of the support systems that are in place and use them where appropriate
- Ensuring that all staff policies meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and continuing to monitor the pay levels of women and men. Governance and Culture
- Ensuring that Paradigm Housing Group identifies the needs of its diverse customers and staff
- Training all staff and customers involved in scrutiny and service delivery in equality and diversity issues
- Ensuring that all processes and policies meet the requirements of the Human Rights Act