NEWS STORY: MARCH 2011

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Master SHEF!

the SHEF logo

We've been named as one of just TWO housing organisations in the country to achieve top marks in the Social Housing Equality Framework (SHEF) assessment.

The SHEF is a self-assessment used by housing groups to check how well they’re doing when it comes to putting equality and diversity into practice.

Local Government Improvement & Development (LGID) carried out an on-site challenge in February to confirm our results, and they agreed that we had achieved the ‘Excellent’ rating – the highest level in the framework!

Only South Essex Homes have ever achieved this level before, meaning Northwards are the first social housing provider in the north of the country to be awarded this score!

In a report of their findings, LGID Improvement Advisor Gill Elliott wrote: “Northwards Housing puts its tenants at the heart of everything it does and this ethos is understood and implemented by all levels of staff.”

Parts of the business she particularly praised included our ‘One 2 One’ phone service for residents who find it difficult speaking over the phone (which she described as “innovative”) and the way in which we effectively share information with our partners, like the police and the fire and rescue service, to better protect out tenants.

Our funding of projects supporting young people, such as apprenticeships, was also cited for praise, as was the wide range of resident forums we run to engage with tenants from across our community.

The report also highlighted a number of areas for improvement. For instance, Gill wrote that, although tenants are extensively consulted, they could be more involved in making decisions, especially at estate level, and that those tenants who do make suggestions to us should be given more feedback on how their ideas have been used.

Robin Lawler, Chief Executive of Northwards, said: “We’re delighted to have achieved such a fantastic result as part of the SHEF assessment. Embracing and promoting equality and diversity is part of our values and objectives at Northwards, and it’s reassuring that these results show we’re going in the right direction. We will take the findings of this report to heart and look at how we can continue to improve the way we work."

Click here to read the full Northwards SHEF report (pdf 192kb).

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