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29 June 2015

CHC welcomes challenge to improve diversity in leadership

Four leading Welsh housing organisations have joined forces with Minister Lesley Griffiths to welcome a national challenge to improve diversity in leadership.

The Chartered Institute of Housing Presidential Commission report was launched in Wales today by CIH Cymru, Tai Pawb, Community Housing Cymru and Chwarae Teg. It calls for social landlords to adopt ten challenges as targets to improve leadership diversity by 2020.

The commission found three key aspects making the business case for increased diversity in leadership:

  • improving governance and risk management, decision making and problem solving
  • driving forward organisational performance
  • supporting staff retention and recruitment

Commissioners heard from a range of people giving evidence, including some housing professionals who believe that they were still experiencing direct and indirect discrimination, and dealing with unconscious bias within industry promotion and recruitment practices. The new report also illustrates the many examples of good practice found during the evidence gathering to improve the situation; providing talent management programmes, supporting mentoring and networks and investing in training and education for staff and communities.

Michele Reid, Chief executive at Cynon Taf Community Housing Group, who was one of ten CIH commissioners from across the UK, said:

“Organisations without diverse leadership fail to properly represent the communities that they serve and are not taking advantage of the demonstrated economic, business and performance benefits that diversity provides. We need to be honest about our workforce, we need to recognise what we could be doing better to champion diversity and foster talent and we need to act now.”

Launching the report in Wales, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Lesley Griffiths said:

“In order for organisations to serve their communities well and recruit and retain the best staff, they must represent the full range of people within their communities. This is why the Welsh Government supports organisations such as Tai Pawb and Chwarae Teg to promote equality and diversity in the housing sector across Wales.

“I welcome this report from the Chartered Institute of Housing which highlights what more can be done to champion diversity and foster talent, creating opportunities for people from under-represented groups in our workforce and governance structures. I look forward to seeing how the housing sector rises to the challenge.”

Stuart Ropke, Group Chief Executive of CHC, said: "We welcome this report. We recently launched our sector Code of Governance and Come on Board campaign which both promote diverse leadership and better representation of the communities we serve. It’s imperative that our leaders have a varied combination of skills and experience to drive the strategic direction of their organisations, influence the wider policy agenda and make a positive difference to Welsh communities. Diversity in leadership is an essential component of good governance, and the launch of this report and the consequent ten challenges for the sector support our ambition for housing associations to be recognised as the best governed organisations in Wales."