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Best practice in equalities and diversity


Best practice in equalities and diversity is about achieving natural justice, but it is also about being the best employer and deliverer of services.

An organisation which takes equalities and diversity seriously and builds them into its core culture will recruit the best people, meet the highest standards of management and deliver top quality services to its customers, clients or service users.

And it will, in the process, find itself with a diverse, committed and enthusiastic workforce who want to implement its values and repay the investment it has put into them.


“We created an organization where upper and top level management thought the same way and reacted the same way to internal and external problems and opportunities. We were predictable and we were not innovators or leaders.”



Senior US executive explaining why lack of diversity led to the failure of his first employer - quoted in our Mentoring for Diversity report, 2001.




We work with statutory and voluntary agencies

to improve service delivery to vulnerable and excluded groups.

There is a failure in social justice and fairness when services such as healthcare, law enforcement, housing and education are not delivered equally across the community because particular groups are unable to access the facilities that ought to be available to them.

Unmet needs drive multiple deprivation, contributing towards social tensions, ill health, unemployment and under-employment, and driving up the future costs of remedial action to tackle the issues that build up over the years.


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Open Dialogue workshops


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Patients who cannot access primary care may develop chronic conditions which could have been prevented.

This is a series of workshops to bring healthcare professionals together with minority ethnic service users, to explore their respective expectations, aspirations, rights, responsibilities and duties.

Frank and constructive dialogue draws out different perspectives on service delivery, highlights cultural misunderstandings and barriers to communication – including language barriers which are explored by multi-lingual facilitators who are able to interpret the experiences of service users with a limited command of English.

The issues raised in the workshops are kept on the agenda through Luton Community Health Forum.

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Mentoring for Diversity:

a vehicle to shatter the glass ceiling from above



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"Innovative programme devised by Equality in Diversity aims to accelerate cultural change by drawing on the strengths of black and minority ethnic (BME) staff. In a reversal of the normal pattern, senior BME officers will act as mentors to senior white officers, helping them take more effective action to improve their organisations’ performance in responding to the challenges of our multi-cultural society. "




Rt Hon Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde


Mentoring for Diversity (MfD) is a a ground-breaking initiative, originally funded by the Housing Corporation and supported by the National Housing Federation. It was piloted among housing associations from 2000 - 2006. White senior executives were mentored by senior black and minority ethnic (BME) housing professionals to deliver change in their organisations and become Diversity Champions for the sector as a whole. The mentors acted as advisers and sounding boards for ideas for introducing, valuing and promoting diversity.


Research carried out by Dr Nazia Khanum of Equality in Diversity during 2001 established that no comparable initiative had been attempted elsewhere in the UK, Europe or the USA.


(Note: the functions of the Housing Corporation have now been subsumed into the Homes and Communities Agency)


Some comments by participants


“To be frank I was somewhat sceptical about the MfD proposal when I was first invited to join this project, however I can now confidently say it has been a very worthwhile project. … I believe that we need appropriate ways to challenge thinking around these issues and to assist with the development of action planning. … Whilst work in this area can never be seen to be complete, I believe that it is essential that we continue to move these issues forward.”



“It was extremely beneficial … to get an informed external perspective that was challenging, yet supportive. It was of added value because there were insights into personal experiences of the mentor. Together this meant that the process encouraged the mentee to properly think through the action plans and consider the effectiveness of a particular approach.”



 White mentees

“The reversal of the traditional mentoring process and the balance of power requires a strong and influential individual to undertake mentoring effectively. The initial meetings focused on challenging each other’s views and perceptions and this was extremely useful in establishing the subsequent relationship between the two.”




"As a mentor with a BME background, a real temptation is to assume that my experience is the same as for the BME community as a whole – thus imposing my perception on the plan. I found it useful to agree with [the mentee] that I could not speak for everyone in the BME community. It is highly differentiated with varying needs and aspirations. I felt that we were successful in avoiding a stereotypical response to the change issues."


BME mentors



Some press coverage of the original MfD report



Nazia Khanum, First report, 2001: the rationale for Mentoring for Diversity
Nazia Khanum, Evaluation of the East Midlands pilot, 2003



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Good housing is a fundamental human right. It has a critical impact on the life chances of individuals and families. For example, children bought up in poor housing may suffer life-long medical conditions and be unable to achieve the educational standards they need to improve their career prospects.

We have extensive experience of formulating social housing policy and delivering social housing on the ground, working with local authorities, housing associations, tenants and residents.

A couple of our archived publications are available to download below

David Cheesman, Muslim tenants in housing associations: feedback and engagement, 2005

Nazia Khanum, Bob Blackaby, Shajna Begum, Johir Miah, Aston Pride Bangladeshi housing study, 2005