Equality Diveristy & Inclusion Annual Report | 2020-2021

Page 1

Swan Housing Association Annual Equality Diversity and Inclusion Report 2020/21 1


Contents 3 Introduction 4

Diversity in Leadership

4

Gender Balance

5

Race Equality and the Altair Review Recommendations

5

Future of London Speaker Diversity Pledge

6

The CIH Leading Diversity by 2020 Challenges

6

Our employees, Executive Team, Board and Committees

12

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Training for Board, Committees and Executive Team

13

Innovation, Aspiration and Best Practice

13

Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA)

14

HouseProud Pledge

15

Equality Outcomes

16

Equality Analysis and complaints

16

Customer satisfaction – general needs tenants

19

Customer satisfaction – leaseholders (including shared ownership leaseholders)

19

Customer satisfaction – supported housing

20

Customer satisfaction – Major adaptations and Assisted Decorations Assistance Scheme

21

Our Workforce

21

Opportunities for employees to engage with our customers as volunteers

21

Swan’s Diversity Action Forum and SwanProud

24 Intranet articles / blog posts about equality, diversity and inclusion awareness days / weeks / months 25

Supporting our Customers

25

Supporting customers through the ongoing changes to the welfare benefits system

27 Supporting our local communities: Employment opportunities, training and guidance 27

Coronavirus Kindness Project

28

Warm in Winter Campaign

28

Coronavirus – Meeting the needs of our supported housing customers

29

Supporting customers affected by domestic abuse and hate crime / hate incidents

29

Hate crime training opportunities

30 Conclusion


Introduction

Our vision is to deliver a truly inclusive customer service offer that improves lives as well as an employment offer which meets good practice. Our Equality Scheme 2018-2022 focuses on achieving the following five key objectives over the four-year period 2018-2022: •  Promote diversity in leadership; •  Be innovative, aspirational and meet best practice; •  Measure equality outcomes and publish what we do; •  Develop our workforce to deliver our values and embed these in all that we do; and •  Support our customers to ensure equality outcomes in times of change. We have published this report to show the progress made during 2020/21 in achieving these objectives by delivering our Equality Scheme 2018-2022 Action Plan. We started the year in a strong position, having retained our Housing Diversity Network Accreditation for excellence in equality and diversity (which is re-assessed every three years) in August 2019 and our Investors in People Gold accreditation, and having been once again recognised as one of the Top 100 Not for Profit companies to work for in the UK by the Sunday Times. We are passionate about customer service and having the best people to deliver it is crucial. We want to have engaged employees who are well trained, appropriately rewarded and feel they can take decisions to deliver great services for us, our customers and our partners. Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will help us to recruit and retain the best people and to ensure that they are trained to meet the needs of our diverse range of residents and customers.

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Diversity in Leadership

Equality Scheme 2018-2022 OBJECTIVE 1: Promote Diversity in Leadership •  Continue to ensure that we create an environment that is transparent and strives to deliver against external best practice.

During 2020/21 we: •  Published our gender pay gap data in line with legislative requirements and continued our Gender Balance work; •  Contacted all employees for whom ethnic origin is not currently held and encouraged them to provide it as the first step towards calculating our ethnicity pay gap; •  Continued to act in accordance with the pledges we have made under the Future of London Speaker Diversity Pledge; and •  Continued the delivery of our training programme for the Board, Committees and Executive Team to support the promotion of Diversity in Leadership.

Gender Balance We published our Gender Pay Gap Supporting Statement (including our April 2020 gender pay gap data), along with a Gender Pay Action Plan ahead of the publication deadline. The analysis of our gender pay gap figures reveals that our gender pay gap as at April 2020 (median gender pay gap of 9% and mean gender pay gap of 37%) arises because women hold fewer senior roles than men. Similarly, our bonus gap is driven by fewer women in senior roles as bonuses are a percentage of salary. We also have a higher proportion of women working in part-time roles, which generally fall within the lower quartile of pay. We shall continue to focus our attention on increasing the number of women in senior roles within our organisation and managing better our talent pipeline. Our aim is to provide an inclusive and diverse culture in which everyone is able to thrive and succeed in their career goals. Women are represented at our highest levels, both as members of the Board, including the Chair of the Board, and the Executive Team. We also have a number of women within our Senior Management Team, Development Management Team and Heads of Service. Two of the women on our Senior Management Team founded and colead our internal Inspiring Swans network that helps women shine within the workplace. We do however acknowledge that we can always do more to encourage more women in senior roles. We recognise that meaningful and lasting change will only happen over time and only with the 4


Diversity in Leadership (cont.)

involvement of the whole organisation. During 2020/21 we completed a number of actions including the following: •  During the Coronavirus pandemic we introduced even more flexible ways of working to help those with care responsibilities to balance home schooling. We also introduced Wellbeing Wednesdays which enabled everyone at Swan to take an additional hour off each week to focus on their wellbeing. •  We arranged a Menopause lunch and learn with an external speaker. •  We continued to ensure that all salaries are benchmarked regularly in line with market rate pay. We are open, honest and transparent in what these benchmarks are with our employees and all salary increases are approved by the People Director to ensure consistency of approach. For further information please see: https://www.swan.org.uk/publications/corporate-publications/

Race Equality and the Altair Review Recommendations We support the five recommendations of the Altair Review, which encourage organisations to create more ethnically diverse leadership across the sector and during 2019/20 we added three actions to our Equality Scheme Action Plan to address gaps in our staff data and (from April 2021) draft an ethnicity pay gap report. For further information about the Altair Review recommendations, please see: www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing-and-land/leadership-2025

Future of London Speaker Diversity Pledge We remain signatories to the Future of London Speaker Diversity Pledge and as such we continue to avoid participating in sessions which feature only one demographic group, and to put forward speakers from under-represented groups to represent our organisation, including at senior levels and across disciplines.

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Diversity in Leadership (cont.)

The CIH Leading Diversity by 2020 Challenges Having completed the work required to meet the ten Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Leading Diversity by 2020 challenges1 in 2019/20, our work in this area is ongoing. Diversity-related data on the composition of our Board, Executive Team and total workforce is considered annually, included in the annual report and in this annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusion report. We met the challenges through the diversity of our Board and Committees, delivery of mandatory diversity training for staff, using our corporate communications and culture strategies to ensure diversity is embedded within the organisational values, providing appropriate mentoring and coaching opportunities for staff and Board members, championing the case for a diverse workforce and leadership and encouraging colleagues, peers and partners to sign up to the challenges.

Our employees, Executive Team, Board and Committees Data about the diversity of our employees, Executive Team, Board and Committees (as at April 2021) is set out on the next pages. We also recognise the importance of considering our diversity data through an intersectional lens. We have used the new NHF (National Housing Federation) EDI data tool to compare the diversity of our workforce, Executive Team and Board to the communities we serve, based on the characteristics of the population where we own and manage stock. The data shows a significant under-representation within our workforce of employees who are disabled, Asian / Asian British (particularly those who identify as ‘Asian / Asian British – Bangladeshi’ and ‘Asian / Asian / British – Indian’) and Muslim, which we will seek to address.

1

6

http://www.cih.org/leadingdiversityby2020


Swan Housing Association employees

Swan Group employees (total including Swan HA)

Executive Team (6)

Board members (9)

All Committee members including Board members (17)

16-24

5%

6%

0

0

0

25-34

23%

24%

0

0

0

35-44

34%

33%

1 (17%)

1 (11%)

3 (18%)

45-54

23%

22%

2 (33%)

1 (11%)

4 (24%)

55-64

13%

14%

2 (33%)

5 (56%)

7 (41%)

65+

2%

1%

1 (17%)

2 (22%)

3 (18%)

Sex

Swan Housing Association employees

Swan Group employees (total including Swan HA)

Executive Team (6)

Board members (9)

All Committee members including Board members (17)

Female

63%

55%

1 (17%)

3 (33%)

7 (41%)

Male

37%

45%

5 (83%)

6 (67%)

10 (59%)

Age (April 2021)

(April 2021)

We currently collect data on sex in accordance with the categories (female and male) used in the Census and required to meet HMRC payroll requirements. We do not currently collect data about gender identity and this is something that we are reviewing.

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Ethnicity (April 2021)

Swan Housing Association employees

Swan Group employees (total including Swan HA)

Executive Team (6)

Board members (9)

All Committee members including Board members (17)

Asian or Asian British

4%

3%

0

0

3 (18%)

(2% Bangladeshi, 1% Indian, 1% Pakistani)

(1% Bangladeshi, 1% Indian, 1% Pakistani, 0.5% Any other background)

Black, Black British, Caribbean or African

8%

6%

(3% African, 3% Caribbean, 2% Any other background)

(2% African, 2% Caribbean, 2% Any other background)

White

75%

77%

(62% E/W/S/ NI/B*, 1% Irish,

(65% E/W/S/ NI/B*, 1% Irish,

12% Any other background)

11% Any other background)

Mixed or Multiple ethnic groups

3%

3%

(1% White & Asian, 1% White & Black African, 1% White & Black Caribbean, 1% Any other background)

(1% White & Asian, 0.3% White & Black African, 1% White & Black Caribbean, 1% Any other background)

Other ethnic group

1%

2%

(1% Arab, 1% Any other background)

(1% Arab, 2% Any other background)

Prefer not to say

1%

Not known

8%

(1 Bangladeshi, 2 Indian)

0

1 (11%)

2 (12%)

(Caribbean)

(Both Caribbean)

6 (100%)

7 (78%)

11 (65%)

(All E/W/S/ NI/B*)

(All E/W/S/ NI/B*)

(All E/W/S/NI/B*)

0

1 (11%)

1 (6%)

(White & Asian)

(White & Asian)

0

0

0

1%

0

0

0

8%

0

0

0

* E/W/S/NI/B = ‘English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British’ We collect ethnic origin data using the Census categories. We recognise that deciding how they identify within this framework and whether to share that information with us is an individual decision for our employees, Board members and Committee members. In this context, we are encouraging individuals who have not provided this data to do so by selecting an option, which can be ‘prefer not to say’.

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Swan Housing Association employees

Swan Group employees (total including Swan HA)

Executive Team (6)

Board members (9)

All Committee members including Board members (17)

Disabled

3%

3%

0

0

1 (6%)

Not

72%

74%

5 (83%)

9 (100%)

16 (94%)

Prefer not to say

0

0

0

0

0

Not known*

25%

23%

1 (17%)

0

0

Disability (April 2021)

disabled

* We collect disability data for employees, Board members and Committee members. We recognise that deciding how they identify within this framework and whether to share that information with Swan is an individual decision. In this context, we are encouraging individuals who have not provided this data to do so by selecting an option, which can be ‘prefer not to say’. Please note: Not everyone who meets the definition of a disabled person set out in the Equality Act 2010 consider themselves to be disabled.

9


Swan Housing Association employees

Swan Group employees (total including Swan HA)

Executive Team (6)

Board members (9)

All Committee members including Board members (17)

No religion

35%

37%

3 (50%)

3 (33%)

8 (47%)

Buddhist

0%

0.2%

0

0

0

Christian

46%

43%

2 (33%)

5 (56%)

8 (47%)

Hindu

1%

1%

0

0

1 (6%)

Jewish

1%

1%

0

0

0

Muslim

3%

3%

0

0

1 (6%)

Sikh

0%

0%

0

0

0

Other religion

1%

1%

0

1 (11%)

1 (6%)

Prefer not to say

10%

9%

1 (17%)

0

0

Not known*

4%

7%

0

0

0

Religion (April 2021)

* We collect religion data for employees, Board members and Committee members using the Census 2021 categories. We recognise that deciding how they identify within this framework and whether to share that information with Swan is an individual decision. In this context, we are encouraging individuals who have not provided this data to do so by selecting an option, which can be ‘prefer not to say’.

10


Swan Housing Association employees

Swan Group employees (total including Swan HA)

Executive Team (6)

Heterosexual or Straight

84%

86%

5 (83%)

8 (89%)

16 (94%)

Gay or lesbian

3%

2%

1 (17%)

0

0

Bisexual

1%

1%

0

0

0

Other sexual

1%

1%

0

0

0

Prefer not to say

8%

5%

0

1 (11%)

1 (6%)

Not known*

4%

5%

0

0

0

Sexual orientation (April 2021)

Board members (9)

All Committee members including Board members (17)

orientation

* We collect sexual orientation data for employees, Board members and Committee members. We recognise that deciding how they identify within this framework and whether to share that information with Swan is an individual decision. In this context, we are encouraging individuals who have not provided this data to do so by selecting an option, which can be ‘prefer not to say’.

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Diversity in Leadership (cont.)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Training for Board, Committees and Executive Team A further Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training session was delivered for the Board and Executive Team in October 2020.

We believe that Equality and Diversity should be embedded within all aspects of the business, and this belief is a continuous thread that runs all the way from our Board to our customer facing employees delivering on the ground.

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Innovation, Aspiration and Best Practice Equality Scheme 2018-2022 OBJECTIVE 2: Be innovative, aspirational and meet best practice •  Understand where our strengths lie and help others by sharing our knowledge and expertise •  Identify where we have areas of improvement and develop ways forward to address these

We started the year having retained our Housing Diversity Network (HDN) accreditation for excellence in equality and diversity following our three-yearly re-accreditation assessment in 2019, with eight distinctions for good practice (an increase from the five distinctions we were awarded in 2016). During 2020/21 we: •  Continued to share knowledge and expertise through the London and South East Diversity Group, which is supported by HDN; •  Continued to deliver the work plan that was developed in 2018/19 by using the Stonewall Workplace Index to assess our progress on LGBT equality and identify opportunities to do more; •  Were awarded HouseProud pledge pioneer accreditation (see next page); •  Retained our Disability Confident Employer Status; •  Continued to support customers affected by domestic abuse, having previously used the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) online toolkit to assess our response to domestic abuse and identify opportunities to do more (please see page 29); and •  Set out our commitments to support members of staff who may be experiencing domestic abuse in our new Health and Wellbeing Policy (Published May 2020).

Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) We continue to fully meet the commitments we made by signing up to the ‘Make a Stand’ pledge, launched in June 2018 by DAHA in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Women’s Aid, to show our commitment to people experiencing domestic abuse. For further information please see the domestic abuse page on our website.

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Innovation, Aspiration and Best Practice (cont.)

HouseProud Pledge We are signatories to the HouseProud Pledge Scheme and in January 2021, we were one of the first seven organisations in the UK to achieve HouseProud Pledge Pioneer status in recognition of the substantial progress we have made in delivering three core commitments: Formal arrangements in place to consult with LGBT+ residents, visible promotion of our commitment to LGBT+ resident inclusivity, and staff training to improve understanding of LGBT+ lives. If you are interested in helping Swan to deliver brilliant customer care and great places to call home for the LGBT+ community, or have any other suggestions to help us take this work forward, please contact the Customer Involvement and Community Development Team involvement@swan.org.uk or call 01277 844242. For more information about the HouseProud pledge and HouseProud’s ‘No Place Like Home’ research that led to the development of the pledge please see: www.houseproud-lgbt.com.

Our ongoing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will enable us to deliver our Social Purpose by being a successful, innovative and growing housing organisation that continues to put our diverse residents and customers at the heart of everything we do.

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Equality Outcomes

Equality Scheme 2018-2022 OBJECTIVE 3: Measure equality outcomes and publish what we do •  Ensure that we can evidence the impact that we have by reporting and publishing our Annual Report and summary of our Equality Analysis results

In 2020/21 we: •  Completed an equality analysis of each of the following service areas: Customer Relations, Income / Rents and Estate Services; and •  Carried out customer satisfaction surveys of: ○  General needs tenants ○  Leaseholders including shared ownership leaseholders ○  Supported housing residents ○  Customers we assisted with major adaptations or through our Assisted Decorations Scheme. Information about the findings of these analyses and surveys is set out on the following pages. In terms of methodology and sampling, the customer satisfaction surveys of general needs tenants and leaseholders (including shared ownership leaseholders) were conducted online, with a link sent to all general needs tenants and leaseholders for whom we hold email addresses by the Institute of Customer Service. In previous years these surveys have been carried out with a random sample of customers by telephone. Conducting the surveys online enabled us to offer more tenants and leaseholders the opportunity to give us their feedback and resulted in a higher number of responses (further information is provided on the following pages) but we acknowledge that this approach excludes customers who don’t or can’t use email. During 2021/22 we will be working with M-E-L Research to further develop our understanding of what is most important to our customers and how we are doing – where we are getting things right, but also where things could be improved to ensure that we deliver the best possible, consistent and reliable customer service. As part of this work M-E-L Research will be aiming to get responses from a representative sample of 2,500 Swan Group customers to a new Customer Services Survey, the largest customer survey ever carried out by Swan. Responses will be sought by contacting customers by email and phone.

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Equality Outcomes (cont.)

Equality Analysis and complaints In line with our Equality Analysis programme, we completed an equality analysis of each of the following service areas in 2020/21: Customer Relations; Income / Rents; and Estate Services. No negative equality impacts were identified. All 225 stage 1 complaints received during 2020/21 were acknowledged within target and responded to within target and three raised equality issues: •  One complaint was made by a couple living in a Swan property managed by a managing agent who felt that the managing agent was taking longer to deal with a reported leak because one of them is trans (no evidence was found to suggest that this was the case); and •  Two complaints were made by customers about the time taken to restore lift service (one by a wheelchair user and one by an older resident with mobility issues) – The lifts were repaired as quickly as possible and, while they were out of service, we provided assistance with tasks that they needed help with – carrying shopping up the stairs and taking rubbish down to the bin shed. I n one of our blocks, planned lift replacement work meant that the lift was out of service for eight weeks. Liaison with customers who live in the block identified one customer (a wheelchair user) who would require additional support. In accordance with her wishes, we paid for a private ambulance to take her to and from college in order to enable her to continue living in her home while the lift replacement work was completed. During 2020/21, a random sample of complainants were contacted by the Customer Relations Team by phone to measure satisfaction with Swan’s complaints process. Of the 86 complainants that the team spoke to (38% of all complainants): •  93% were satisfied with the complaints procedure; •  86% were satisfied with the outcome; and •  100% felt that it was easy to complain.

Customer satisfaction – general needs tenants During 2020/21 an online customer satisfaction survey was sent to all general needs tenants for whom Swan holds email addresses, by the Institute of Customer Service, an independent customer experience consultancy. In previous years, our customer satisfaction surveys of general needs tenants have been carried out with a random sample of tenants by telephone.

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Conducting the survey online enabled us to offer more tenants the opportunity to give us their feedback and resulted in a higher number of responses (638 responses in total: 397 (62%) from Essex tenants and 241 (38%) from London tenants). As noted on page 15, in 2021/22 we will be giving customers the opportunity to give us their feedback through customer satisfaction surveys online or by phone. As illustrated in the following table, responses were received from a diverse range of tenants in terms of household type, age group, gender and ethnic group, and from disabled and nondisabled tenants. As also illustrated in the following table, responses given to the question ‘How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with Swan Housing overall?’ (on a scale of one to 10) ranged from one to 10 for: •  Single tenants, tenants living with a partner and tenants living as part of a family; •  Tenants from all age groups; •  Male and female tenants; •  Tenants from all ethnic groups; and •  Disabled and non-disabled tenants. The average satisfaction score (out of ten) given by tenants from each household type, age group, gender, and ethnic group and by disabled and non-disabled tenants is shown in the following table. A review of comments provided by tenants who responded to the 2020/21 general needs customer satisfaction survey identified 13 tenants who had made comments that suggested equality-related reasons for dissatisfaction. The majority of these comments were made by tenants who felt that Swan should do more to meet disability-related / age-related needs, with four specifically mentioning mental health. Of these 13 tenants, only two gave their name and address in order that Swan could contact them to discuss their comments. These two tenants have been contacted. The review of comments provided by tenants identified no suggestion that any tenants felt that they had been treated unfairly due to race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

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How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with Swan Housing overall? (on a scale of 1-10)? No. of responses (as % of total 638)

Range (1- 10)

Average

Couple

90 (14%)

1 - 10

6.66

Family

407 (64%)

1 - 10

5.77

Single

141 (22%)

1 - 10

6.35

18-30

77 (12%)

1 - 10

5.18

31-50

335 (53%)

1 - 10

5.51

50-65

175 (27%)

1 - 10

6.92

Over 65

51 (8%)

1 - 10

7.59

Female

452 (71%)

1 - 10

5.89

Male

186 (29%)

1 - 10

6.36

Asian

77 (12%)

1 - 10

4.87

Black

53 (8%)

1 - 10

6.32

Mixed

21 (3%)

1 - 10

5.76

Other

38 (6%)

1 - 10

6.13

Unknown

18 (3%)

1 - 10

6.89

431 (68%)

1 - 10

6.16

Disability - Yes

72 (11%)

1 - 10

6.21

Disability - No

566 (88%)

1 - 10

6.00

White

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Equality Outcomes (cont.) Customer satisfaction – leaseholders (including shared ownership leaseholders) During 2020/21 an online survey was sent to all leaseholders (including shared ownership leaseholders) for whom Swan holds email addresses, by the Institute of Customer Service, an independent customer experience consultancy. In previous years, our leasehold satisfaction surveys have been carried out with a random sample of leaseholders by telephone. Conducting the survey online enabled us to offer more leaseholders the opportunity to give us their feedback and resulted in a higher number of responses (116). As noted on page 15, in 2021/22 we will be giving customers the opportunity to give us their feedback through customer satisfaction surveys online or by phone. No equality monitoring questions were asked as part of this survey. A review of comments provided by leaseholders who responded to the 2020/21 satisfaction survey of leaseholders identified one comment that suggested a possible equality-related reason for dissatisfaction: The customer (a shared ownership leaseholder) gave the response ‘Treat everyone equally regardless of their background’ to the the question ‘What is the one thing Swan Housing could do to improve their service?’. We have attempted to contact this customer by phone and email to discuss their feedback further but received no response.

Customer satisfaction – supported housing During 2020/21, we offered all of our supported housing residents the opportunity to give us their feedback through a customer satisfaction survey. A review of comments provided by the 132 respondents identified no equality-related reasons for dissatisfaction. All dissatisfied customers who gave their name and address have been contacted to discuss their concerns. Of the 29 respondents living in supported housing for older people: 28 (97%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall service provided by Swan and one was dissatisfied. Of the 58 respondents living in supported housing for people with learning disabilities: 51 (91%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall service provided by Swan, two (4%) were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and three (5%) were dissatisfied. Of the 45 respondents living in Swan’s foyers (supported housing for younger people): 37 (82%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall service provided by Swan, 6 (13%) were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, one (2%) was dissatisfied and one (2%) was very dissatisfied.

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Equality Outcomes (cont.)

Customer satisfaction – Major adaptations and Assisted Decorations Assistance Scheme In 2020/21 36 households were assisted with major adaptations (adaptations costing more than £1,000, for example shower installations, stair lifts, ramps) and two households were assisted through the Assisted Decorations Scheme. The Assisted Decorations Scheme offers tenants who are over state pension age or in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment the opportunity to have two rooms of their choice decorated where they are unable to carry out their own decorating and have no other person in the household or otherwise who is physically able to assist. Neither of the two households assisted through the Assisted Decorations Scheme in 2020/21 completed a satisfaction questionnaire. 32 (89%) of the 36 households who were assisted with major adaptations in 2020/21 completed a satisfaction questionnaire. 100% of customers who completed a satisfaction questionnaire were satisfied.

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Our Workforce

Equality Scheme 2018-2022 OBJECTIVE 4: Develop our workforce to deliver our values and embed these in all that we do • Develop a culture of inclusivity where our staff and residents thrive by delivering a programme of training and events that help to raise awareness and knowledge around equality and diversity • Utilise our Diversity Action Forum to add value and further embed Equality and Diversity into all roles

During 2020/21 we: • Provided a number of opportunities for employees to engage directly with our customer base in a voluntary capacity, to enable them to build closer links to our customers; • Agreed and delivered an action plan for project work to be undertaken by our Diversity Action Forum; and • Continued to publish articles / blog posts on the intranet that relate to various equality, diversity and inclusion related awareness days / weeks / months that include positive diversity messages.

Opportunities for employees to engage with our customers as volunteers During 2020/21 staff from the Resident Involvement and Community Development, Neighbourhood and Supported Housing teams contacted general needs residents over 70 and other residents identified as potentially needing additional support due to the coronavirus lockdowns to address social isolation etc. and ensure that support was provided. They made weekly calls to residents who accepted the offer of a weekly call.

Swan’s Diversity Action Forum and SwanProud Our Diversity Action Forum consists of representatives from various departments / sections within Swan and our repairs partner Axis who, as Diversity Champions, are responsible for: • Identifying what equality, diversity and inclusion issues matter most to residents, customers and employees; • Ensuring that Swan’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion is understood by all Swan Housing Association employees and that every department is promoting equality, diversity and inclusion; and 21


Our Workforce (cont.)

•  Proposing and delivering projects and actions that relate to equality, diversity and inclusion. Each year the Diversity Action Forum agree and deliver a number of projects.

The outcomes achieved through the work of the Diversity Action Forum and SwanProud in 2020/21 include: • Reduced social isolation through calling residents as part of the Coronavirus Kindness project; and • Increased awareness amongst Swan staff about: different religions and cultures, race equality, gender equality, disability equality, LGBT+ equality, hate crime and the support available, domestic abuse and the support available, and the White Ribbon campaign which aims to end male violence against women by engaging men.

Diversity Action Forum projects delivered in 2020/21 included the following: • We delivered another successful annual Diversity Day (please see next page) and a cultural awareness lunch and learn session for Key Worker Living staff. • We coordinated the Coronavirus Kindness project to offer and make weekly calls to general needs residents over 70 and other residents identified as potentially needing additional support due to the coronavirus lockdowns to address social isolation etc. and ensure that support was provided (see page 27). • We used Carers Week as an opportunity to raise awareness of caring and recognise the challenges that unpaid carers face and the contribution they make to families and communities. • We raised awareness of race equality, Anti-Racism Day, the annual Wear Red Day for Show Racism the Red Card, Black History Month, the first ever South Asian Heritage Month, #VisitMyMosque Day and World Hijab Day. • We raised awareness of gender equality, Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. • We raised awareness of disability equality, UK Disability History Month and World Alzheimer’s Day. • We raised awareness of hate crime and the support available for anyone affected. • We raised awareness of the White Ribbon Campaign which aims to end male violence against women by engaging men.

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Our Workforce (cont.) • The Chair of SwanProud (Swan’s network for LGBT+ staff and allies) and other members of SwanProud delivered the SwanProud action plan: They published intranet articles about various awareness days and months including: Pride month; LGBT+ History Month; Celebrate Bisexuality Day; Ace Week (formerly Asexual Awareness Week); and Transgender Day of Visibility.

Diversity Day 2020: Triumph Over Adversity In 2020 we delivered our annual Diversity Day (for Swan employees and involved residents) digitally for the first time – a necessity due to the coronavirus pandemic. The theme was ‘Triumph over Adversity’ and the day consisted of the following sessions, with recordings shared after the event: • A ‘The insidious nature of coercive control’ session was delivered by White Ribbon Ambassador and Refuge Champion Luke Hart (www.cocoawareness.co.uk) • A ‘Not today – How I chose life’ session was delivered by Dr Sophie Cook, who was named one of the Top 10 outstanding contributors to LGBT+ life 2020 by the British LGBT Awards 2020 (www.sophiecook.me.uk) • A ‘Letter to Zion’ session was delivered by Cephas Williams, founder and photographer behind the 56 Black Men movement, the #LetsNotForget campaign and the #LetterToZion campaign (www.lettertozion.com) • A ‘Disability – a social and commercial opportunity’ session was delivered by Mike Adams OBE, Chief Executive of Purple, who was listed on the Disability Power 100 List 2019 as one of the most influential disabled people in Britain (www.wearepurple.org.uk) • A ‘The power of staff networks’ session was delivered by Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE, founder of The Power of Staff Networks consultancy (www.thepowerofstaffnetworks.co.uk)

In late 2020, we signed up as members of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme and as such have committed to train our staff to recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, gain a deeper understanding of hidden disabilities and learn how to approach and support customers with a hidden disability. We have asked our staff to watch the video that was released in 2020 for businesses and organisations to train their staff and also raised awareness through our annual Diversity Day.

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Our Workforce (cont.) Intranet articles / blog posts about equality, diversity and inclusion awareness days / weeks / months In addition to the articles / blog posts linked to awareness days / weeks / months already mentioned in this report, we published articles / blog posts that related to various cancer awareness days / weeks / months, and a ‘Belonging at Swan’ article was published by our Chief Executive in June 2020.

We are passionate about customer service and having the best people to deliver it is crucial. Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will help us to recruit and retain the best people and to ensure that they are trained to meet the diverse needs of our diverse range of residents and customers. Information about the diversity of our workforce is included on pages 6 to 11 of this report.

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Supporting our Customers

Equality Scheme 2018-2022 OBJECTIVE 5: Support our customers to ensure equality outcomes in times of change • Understand our customers and their needs and adapt our services to meet those needs • Provide training and support for our customers in relation to digital • Tackle the matters that are important to our customers such as social isolation and fuel poverty

During 2020/21: • We implemented new Civica Cx Housing Management software which will enable us to increase the profile information we hold about our customers to include items such as communication preference to enable us to shape services to meet their needs effectively. • We continued to support residents through the ongoing changes to the welfare benefits system, with more residents needing support due to the coronavirus pandemic. • We continued to work to support the local communities in which Swan operates by developing employment opportunities within Swan and offering training and guidance for accessing these roles. • Through our Coronavirus Kindness project, we offered and made weekly calls to general needs residents over 70 and other residents identified as potentially needing additional support to address social isolation etc. and ensured that support was provided. • We sent out over 400 bespoke Warm in Winter letterbox packages to Swan general needs residents over the age of 65 living alone; • We worked creatively to meet the needs of our supported housing residents in accordance with coronavirus lockdown restrictions; • We provided support for people affected in 40 domestic abuse cases and two hate crime cases.

Supporting customers through the ongoing changes to the welfare benefits system We have three Welfare Reform Officers and one Welfare Reform Assistant who continue to support general needs residents through the changes. Our knowledge and understanding of customers and their needs has been enhanced by the appointment of these officers.

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Supporting our Customers (cont.) The London Welfare Reform Officer speaks both English and Bengali which supports our resident profile in London. We have provided and will continue to provide, targeted information and individualised support for residents affected by welfare reform with a focus on personal contact and we understand that our residents have different needs. In 2020/21 rent arrears were 2.2%. In 2020/21 the team helped residents to reduce their debt and met arrears targets by: • Contacting 3,806 residents, including 565 residents affected and impacted by Covid-19, to explain welfare reform changes and help them to maximise their income (compared to 2,953 in 2019/20); • Supporting 2,458 households in receipt of Universal Credit and 2,250 residents with benefit issues and financial difficulties; • Supporting residents to make 264 Discretionary Housing Payment applications with a 78% success rate, resulting in residents being awarded Discretionary Housing Payments totalling £152,622; • Securing an additional £781K in welfare benefits to help residents to sustain their tenancies; • Assisting 17 tenants affected by the under-occupation penalty (often referred to as the bedroom tax) and struggling to pay their rent, to downsize by mutual exchange; • Setting up 720 Alternative Payment Arrangements for vulnerable residents and referring 14 families for debt advice and training; • Working out of hours on 12 Saturdays and six evenings throughout the year to contact residents who are working and secure lump sum payments; • Devising awareness raising campaigns, flyers and text messages to reach as many households as possible; and • Working with the Resident Involvement and Community Development Team to promote training opportunities and support residents back into work. We have partnerships which support financial inclusion and money management and we also signpost to other organisations: • In Tower Hamlets we signpost residents to the Bromley by Bow Centre, Toynbee Hall and Capitalise Debt Advice Agency, and are part of the ‘Money Talks’ programme – a network to provide support for residents. • We have service level agreements in place with Basildon CAB and Havering CAB (which covers Havering and Redbridge) and refer residents to them for debt management advice and help to access mainstream financial products.

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Supporting our Customers (cont.)

• We are voucher holders for the Tower Hamlets, Chelmsford, Clacton, Braintree, Colchester and Basildon foodbanks, and our work with local foodbanks has proved invaluable in helping those who need it. In 2020/21 we assisted 14 customers by providing food vouchers or signposting them to food support, and delivered Christmas hampers to customers. • We also have a hardship fund which we use to help residents in financial difficulties. In 2020/21 we made ten awards from our hardship fund. • We also work in partnership with local Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), job centres and housing benefit departments to assist our tenants to complete and resolve issues affecting their applications, and work in partnership with Basildon, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Havering Liberty Credit Unions and other housing providers. We understand that, to effectively support residents through the changes to the welfare benefits system, we must continue to maintain and strengthen our partnership working. We attend regular Housing Forums, which are set up by the DWP for housing providers and we have a liaison officer for help with complex cases. We have Trusted Partner status and access to the portal to identify claims, verify rent and apply for Alternative Payment Arrangements for those residents who would struggle to pay their rent.

Supporting our local communities: Employment opportunities, training and guidance Due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions we were limited in terms of the work we could do to develop training opportunities within Swan and offer training and guidance for accessing these roles. During the year, we announced (in the Autumn 2020 edition of Home – our residents’ magazine) that our customers can now access lots of free accredited e-learning courses at www.virtualcollege.co.uk. As advised in the article, this opportunity offers customers opportunities to develop basic skills and to access more advanced training – with accredited courses ranging from creative thinking to digital marketing to courses that focus on working in customer service, retail, care and many more. The article invited any customers wanting any information about the free training and support and accredited courses offered by Swan to contact Swan’s Employment and Training Manager by phone or email.

Coronavirus Kindness Project Through our Coronavirus Kindness project, we offered and made weekly calls to general needs residents over 70 and other residents identified as potentially needing additional support to address social isolation etc. and ensured that support was provided. 27


Supporting our Customers (cont.)

Warm in Winter Campaign Following successful pilots run in Tower Hamlets in 2017 and Basildon in 2018, we wrote to all Swan residents aged over 70 who live alone and offered to visit them in 2019 as part of our Warm in Winter Campaign. As a result, we visited 60 residents to make sure they were safe and warm in their homes, to identify any residents who might benefit from additional support / services and to identify any wellbeing or safeguarding issues. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we had to do things differently this year so, in December 2020, we sent out over 400 bespoke Warm in Winter letterbox packages to Swan general needs residents over the age of 65 living alone. The boxes included a booklet containing details of support groups and tips on how to stay warm in winter plus items such as hand sanitiser, therapy colouring books and pencils, teabags and treats.

Coronavirus – Meeting the needs of our supported housing customers During 2020/21, we worked creatively to meet the needs of our supported housing customers in accordance with coronavirus lockdown restrictions. At our foyers for young people we were able to continue with the provision of on-site support, and some of our supported housing schemes for older people and people with learning disabilities still had support from carers but home visits by Enhanced Housing Management Officers were not allowed. Instead, we made phone calls (at least weekly) to all customers in our supported housing schemes for older people and people with learning disabilities and helped to arrange any support required. For customers who are unable to communicate by phone, we communicated through carers. In July 2020, we embarked on delivering a pilot with Essex County Council to provide Video Care Phones to customers in our supported housing schemes for older people and people with learning disabilities, where it was identified that this would be of benefit. The Video Care Phones are easy-to-use tablets which enable users to make video calls to family, friends and Swan staff. They also link to the Essex Welfare Service thus enabling access to support from volunteers with essential items, food shopping and prescriptions etc. The Video Care Phones also enabled our supported housing teams to work with customers’ carers to create virtual group activities such as cake decorating, arts and crafts events, fancy dress competitions and bingo sessions. Customers and customers’ relatives have commented on the extra reassurance this support gave them through the coronavirus lockdown. We worked with our repairs partner Axis and Outlook Care to construct two outdoor gazebos at Neave Crescent (a supported housing scheme in Romford) to enable the residents to meet more comfortably with family and friends outdoors. 28


Supporting our Customers (cont.)

We also provided gazebos to enable residents of Dobsons House (our extra care housing scheme for older people) to meet more comfortably with family and friends outdoors.

Supporting customers affected by domestic abuse and hate crime / hate incidents During 2020/21, we continued to provide support for Swan customers affected by domestic abuse. In all 40 domestic abuse cases the victim / survivor was female and the perpetrator was male. 39 of the 40 cases involved domestic abuse by a male partner or ex-partner, and one case involved domestic abuse by a son. Information and advice for anyone affected by domestic abuse is available on our website: https://www.swan.org.uk/residents/help-advice/ domestic-violence-abuse/ During 2020/21, we also continued to provide support for Swan customers affected by hate crimes / incidents. Two hate crime / hate incident cases2 (both racist) were opened during the year – one which involved a neighbour making racist gestures and one which involved eggs being thrown at the door of a mosque. Information and advice for anyone affected by hate crimes or hate incidents is available on our website: https://www.swan.org.uk/residents/help-advice/anti-social-behaviour-hate-crime/

Hate crime training opportunities Building on the work already undertaken, we remain committed to making our customers aware of, and helping our customers to access, hate crime training opportunities provided by the police or other appropriate partners. No such opportunities were offered during 2020/21.

2

A hate crime or hate incident is any incident that is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person based on their actual or perceived disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Conclusion

During the year we have, despite the challenges presented by the global coronavirus pandemic, made excellent progress in delivering our Equality Scheme 2018-2022 action plan and we are confident that our plan will be fully delivered by the end of 2021/22. During 2021/22 we will seek input from customers, employees and others to the development of our Equality Scheme 20222025. With equality, diversity and inclusion there is always more to be done and we are committed to doing just that. We know from experience that by working with our employees, residents and stakeholders we can combine our skills, resources and energy to create a greater impact, make a bigger difference and deliver our social purpose. We will work with our residents, customers and partners with the aim of improving equality, diversity and inclusion outcomes for everyone regardless of: age; disability; gender identity; gender expression; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy, maternity and paternity; race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.

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somewhere to feel at home

www.swan.org.uk