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Inclusive Futures campaign

New Inside Housing research reveals a lack of diversity at senior levels of the housing sector. Our Inclusive Futures campaign aims to address this

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New @InsideHousing campaign on #ukhousing leadership diversity #InclusiveFutures

How diverse is your sector's leadership? #ukhousing #InclusiveFutures

Sign up to our new campaign to promote greater diversity in #ukhousing leadership #InclusiveFutures

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Inclusive organisations consistently perform better.

It stands to reason: diverse businesses are able to attract people from the widest pool of talent, and employees who are free to be themselves are happier, more authentic, and more productive. They innovate more, and in the private sector inclusive organisations are more profitable.

The housing sector strives to be culturally diverse, reflecting tenants and wider society.

In a number of areas, it performs better than the FTSE 100 and other sectors. Yet there remains a challenge.

Inside Housing’s latest research demonstrates that people from BME backgrounds, women, people with disabilities and those identifying as LGBT remain under-represented at the most senior levels.

Landlords also face the continued challenge of ensuring tenants are represented on boards.

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Technological and social change continue at pace, meaning tomorrow’s leaders will face new challenges and the workforce and customers of the future will look and behave differently.

It is estimated that by 2020, half of the workforce will be ‘millennials’ – those who came of age after the 2008 financial crisis.

They have different expectations about careers and are often described as value driven.

Among their concerns is diversity.

It is time for housing to address this critical issue.

Inside Housing’s Inclusive Futures campaign aims to promote and celebrate diversity and inclusion.

We recognise that the media industry has an important role to play.

So we are pledging to publish diversity audits of our own coverage.

We are also committed to proactively promoting positive role models.

We will do this through the pages of Inside Housing. But we will also seek to support other publications and events organisations to be more inclusive.

Our Inclusive Futures Bureau will provide a database of speakers and commentators from all backgrounds, for use by all media organisations.

We are also challenging readers to take five clear steps to promote diversity, informed by the Chartered Institute of Housing’s diversity commission and the Leadership 2025 project.



We will take proactive steps to promote positive role models from under-represented groups and provide information to support change.

We pledge to:

Publish diversity audits: We will audit the diversity of the commentators we feature. We will formalise this process and publish the results for future audits twice a year.

Promote role models: We will work to highlight leading lights from specific under-represented groups, starting in early 2018 with our new BME Leaders List.

Launch Inclusive Futures Bureau: We will work with the sector to compile a database of speakers, commentators and experts from under-represented groups. The bureau will be available to events organisers, media outlets and publications to support them to better represent the talent in the sector.

Take forward the Women in Housing Awards: Inside Housing has taken on these successful awards and will work to grow and develop them.

Convene Inclusive Futures Summit: Our new high-level event will support organisations to develop and implement strategies to become more diverse and inclusive.



of housing association chief executives are female


of housing association executives have a disability


of housing association board members are LGBT

Women make up 46% of the UK workforce, but Inside Housing research found that they are under-represented on housing association boards (36%), executive teams (39%) and among chief executives (34%).

Almost a fifth of working-age adults have a disability (18%), yet associations reported only 1% of executives and 4.5% of board members with a disability. Many were unable to provide details.

Nationwide, 14% of the working-age population come from a BME background, climbing to 40% in London and Birmingham. Yet our research found that 6.8% of board members identified as BME, compared with 4.5% of executives.

Statistics on representation of LGBT people in the workforce are in short supply, but official statistics suggest that 2% of the total UK population identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, rising to 4.1% for 16 to 24-year-olds. Our survey found that 1.6% of board members and 10 executives were LGBT – but most organisations were unable to provide figures.

Click here to read the full research


Inside Housing calls on organisations to sign up to an inclusive future by taking five steps:

Prioritise diversity and inclusion at the top: commitment and persistence from chief executives, directors and chairs in setting goals and monitoring progress.

Collect data on the diversity of your board, leadership and total workforce and publish annually with your annual report. Consider gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, age, and representation of tenants on the board.

Set aspirational targets for recruitment to the executive team, board and committees from under-represented groups.

Challenge recruiting staff and agencies to ensure that all shortlists include candidates from under-represented groups.

Make diversity and inclusion a core theme in your talent management strategy to ensure you support people from under-represented groups to progress their careers.


The following people have signed up as ambassadors for the campaign:


  • Sahsa Deepwell, Irwell Valley
  • Chan Kataria, chief executive, EMH Group
  • Steve Stride, chief executive, Poplar Harca
  • Terrie Alafat, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Housing
  • Geeta Nanda, chief executive, Metropolitan
  • Raj Patel, chief executive , Housing Diversity Network
  • Cym D'souza, chair, BME National


“Housing organisations have a unique and privileged role in their communities and that means leading by example and doing everything we can to promote equality and diversity. The sector has made important progress in recent years, but there is so much more we can do."

Terrie Alafat, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Housing

“Attracting and developing diverse talent is vital to achieving our sector’s collective ambition. It’s fantastic that Inside Housing is championing this through the Inclusive Futures campaign. Together as a sector we have so much to offer to, and even more to gain from, the diversity of talent in our communities.

Steve Stride, chief executive, Poplar Harca

“This campaign is not just about improving inclusion, but how we respond to it and shape it. It’s as much for those who exclude, probably inadvertently, as it is for those marginalised. I’m proud to be an ambassador so our sector can again be at the leading edge of equality, diversity, and inclusion – positively demonstrating and influencing a future in which inclusivity works for all.”

Raj Patel, chief executive, Housing Diversity Network

“I’m so pleased to see diversity back at the top of the agenda after what feels like years of absence. Understanding how far we still have to go is the start. Inside Housing rightly sees its role as both direct, with publishing and promoting, and indirect – through challenging. As social businesses we must take the lead and show it’s not acceptable for diversity to be a side issue.”

Geeta Nanda, chief executive, Metropolitan

"I believe that the housing sector should be at the forefront in showing how a diverse workforce should result in creating diverse leadership. Can you hand on heart say you are making the best of your workforce? If you have a majority white, male senior team and board – what is that telling your staff at junior levels about their role and worth within your organisation."

Cym D'souza, chair, BME National

"During my career I have been fortunate to work with and support many diverse groups and make great strides in ensuring equality in the workplace. But there is much more to do and it’s time for change. That’s why Irwell Valley is supporting the Inside Housing Inclusive Futures campaign and why I am proud to be an Ambassador for this important cause. Together we can make a difference and make the housing sector truly representative of the customers and communities we serve."

Sasha Deepwell, chief executive, Irwell Valley





Leading Diversity by 2020: CIH presidential commission report, blogs and challenges:

Leadership 2025: leadership development programme for senior leaders from BME backgrounds

How to get ethnic minority employment data, Department for Work and Pensions

Race in the workplace: The McGregor-Smith Review

Women in the workforce: Business in the Community factsheet:

Diversity and Inclusion, NHS Employers

Building diversity in senior leadership: Civil Service

Building a truly inclusive organisation: HR Magazine

Futures Forum

Diverse Futures


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