Equality & diversity policy...
Helena Partnerships is committed to ensuring all sections of the community have equal access to our services and are treated with fairness and respect.
Our approach to equality and diversity means we recognise that everyone is different - with different needs and a different point of view.
There is no place in our organisation for discrimination on the grounds of age, gender, race, religion, colour, beliefs, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, physical characteristics or disability.
What do we mean by equality and diversity?
We’re all different. We look different, we talk differently and we think differently. But what we all share is a desire to be valued and respected. Here at Helena we’ve placed a commitment to treating everyone equally – no matter what their background – at the heart of everything we do. It means our customers, our staff and those applying to be housed with us, can be sure they will have equal access to our services.
However, we recognise that people’s differences are important. In fact, in shaping our services we take full account of the diversity within the communities we serve. And we also strive to ensure our workforce and Board of Management reflect the people of St Helens.
Our rigorous policies and procedures are designed to ensure no one person is treated any more or less favourably than anyone else because of their age, gender, race, religion, colour, beliefs, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, physical characteristics or disability.
As the biggest social landlord in St Helens, and one of the largest employers in the borough, it’s vital we take a lead on this issue. By understanding differences, and encouraging others to do the same, we believe we can help make better places for people to live and work.
Who is responsible for equality & diversity?
Our commitment to equality and diversity stretches from the top to the bottom of our organisation. Everyone who works for the company has a responsibility to ensure fair and equal treatment for all. Whether its our frontline teams or our senior management, our staff understand the diversity within the St Helens community - and work hard to respond to those different needs.
An essential part of this is providing appropriate learning, development and support to ensure all our staff can meet these challenges. Our board of Management, all managers and staff, as well as new starters at induction are given training in equality and diversity. A board member also acts as an equality and diversity champion. This person’s role is to make sure our equality and diversity approach is at the heart of our other policies. And they are charged with promoting good practice at board level.
We also take our commitment to learning and development beyond Helena itself – offering training to contractors, suppliers, consultants and tenant and resident groups. Our aim is to ensure those we work in partnership with share our values when it comes to equality and diversity.
What action is Helena Partnerships taking to promote equality and diversity?
Equal access to services means exactly that: no one should miss out on the benefits of being a Helena tenant - for any reason. With this in mind all the information and leaflets we provide are available in different languages, large print, Braille and audio tape. Residents can choose a visit in person if this suits their needs and we’ve taken steps to ensure people can access our neighbourhood offices without difficulty.
Access to our homes is also carried out with the differing needs of residents in mind. As such we offer a variety of different property types, varying in size, location and design. Similarly, our supported housing and care services, whether provided by ourselves or our agents, meet the different needs of the community. Those applying for housing with us can also rest assured our homes are let in a fair, open and accountable way.
Clear leadership on equality and diversity comes from our Board of Management and our senior managers. We aim to ensure the board represents as accurately as possible the communities it serves by continuing to advertise for recruits as widely as possible. And we set targets to improve the diversity of our workforce. At the same time we expect our partners – consultants, contractors, and suppliers – to demonstrate their commitment to equality and diversity before we work with them.
We have acted to ensure all residents and housing applicants from minority groups can feel confident to choose anywhere within Helena’s portfolio to live. We work hard to ensure they can do so free from prejudice and harassment and with full and equal access to our services.
All residents also enjoy the same opportunities to participate in events or take part in consultation exercises. And we work with all groups within communities to understand their concerns and their neighbourhoods and to promote regeneration and tackle disadvantage.
How is the policy monitored?
Regular monitoring reports setting out how we are doing are provided to our Board of Management. This means it can measure our performance against the targets we set ourselves. How we achieve those targets is set out in an action plan agreed each year by the board.
How can you help?
We treat any breach of our equality and diversity policy very seriously, whether it is by one of our workforce, a contractor working on our behalf or a member of a tenant and resident group which receives support from us.
Let us know if you feel you have been treated unfairly or have suffered discrimination, prejudice or harassment because of your age, gender, race, religion, colour, beliefs, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, physical characteristics or disability. You can do this at your local neighbourhood office or by speaking to your neighbourhood officer.