A Scarborough housing association has become the first organisation in the country to be awarded a Leaders in Diversity accreditation.
Yorkshire Coast Homes has already achieved Investors in Diversity and has been working with the National Centre of Diversity.
Debbie Gordon, the association’s assistant director of corporate services who has been leading the project, said it was extremely important for the organisation and had involved two years’ work.
She added: “We knew that we had some really good practices in place but we weren’t really sure how well embedded they were.”
Ms Gordon said that they had to show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion – as well as learning and development – and the outlook also applied to partner organisations and contractors.
A total of 40 organisations are understood to be working towards the same status and Ms Gordon said it was good to be the first to achieve it.
She added: “Ultimately we wanted to improve services to tenants – to their needs and the services we supply.”
As well as ethnic groups diversity also includes areas such as: disability, age, gender and sexuality. Ms Gordon said: “We will monitor and evaluate what we do. This isn’t the end result.”
Shaun Tymon, the chief executive of Yorkshire Coast Homes, said improved diversity and inclusion was “the right thing to do” and not just a gesture.
He added: “It’s morally right to include everyone in our community. We can’t do our job properly unless we engage with everybody.
“In some ways it raises standards for us and it’s going to make more of a change for us. It’s about us leading the community – we wouldn’t be employing contractors that didn’t meet the standards.”
In a letter from the National Centre for Diversity Solat Chaudhry, the chief executive, said: “The improvements were tangible and the Leaders in Diversity advisor spoke very highly about your organisation.
“Your advisor quickly became confident that Yorkshire Coast Homes’ commitment levels were high and that you were showing signs of having the potential to be special enough to become Leaders in Diversity.
“Investors in Diversity is now firmly established and is over seven-years-old. We have recently been asked to take it to North America and Asia. Leaders in Diversity is still relatively new and there are only about 40 or so organisations that are working towards achieving Leaders in Diversity in the whole of the UK.”
He added that these included multi-national organisations. He said: “They have huge resources at their disposal but Yorkshire Coast Homes is the first ever organisation to achieve Leaders in Diversity.”
According to recently published figures Yorkshire Coast Homes showed an increase in excess of £1 million in turnover for the year ending in March – £17,481,000 compared with £16,394,000 for the previous financial year.
It was formed in 2003 following the transfer of council housing stock and was placed 40th in the Sunday Times top 100 places to work in the not-for-proﬁt sector.