Meet the Trailblazer: Metropolitan Thames Valley

Race Equality Matters is excited to award the Bronze Trailblazer status to Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing!

 

Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing remains a pioneer in the drive towards racial equality, and Race Equality Matters’ independent panellists certified the need to celebrate this. All judges unanimously voted that Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing is the type of organisation they would like to work for, demonstrating the organisation’s inclusive and diverse workplace values. The judges consistently praised the consistent action taken, “work in motion” for present and future initiatives and the “strong” application in its entirety.

 

Committing to Action, not just Words

Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing exemplifies that action, not words, are essential when tackling workplace race inequality. With a full-time D&I position, D&I strategy, 12 month action plan, and the Rise race network, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing has committed to long-term action. Rise, the organisation’s race network, has exceeded 100 members and aims to accelerate race equality and inclusion through “leadership, allyship and participation”. All judges voted that Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing had taken action towards tackling race inequality, demonstrating the breadth of their strategy. One judge praised the Great examples of actions being taken internally and externally” also. Through Rise and the 2 corresponding strategies, some of the action taken includes:

  • Leadership and promotion training: Through the ‘Rise Up’ initiative, a 4-month long programme was established to facilitate ethnically diverse promotion through offering senior leadership training, in the form of workshops and guest expert speakers, to ethnically diverse employees.
  • Hearing ethnically diverse voices: Through the ‘Freedom to Speak’ initiative, roles have been assigned to both allies and ethnically diverse employees.
  • Events to facilitate education and awareness of racism: Through their “well-curated calendar of events”– from Black History Month, to Ramadan celebrations, to CEO-supported panel discussions- greater awareness and conversations on race and racism have been prompted.
  • Data collection: Not only is data on race, progression and representation taken, the organisation also tracks and reviews this data quarterly, as well as prioritising feedback from their ethnically diverse employees whenever possible. Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing told judges that: 

“Through recruitment, flexible working options, career progression and development we support and drive ethnicity through our business. We report on the pay gap and create ethnicity specific interventions to assist in meeting our targets.”

 

Achieving Meaningful Impact

To achieve Bronze Trailblazer status, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing has also achieved meaningful impact for ethnically diverse employees. This was one of the strongest aspects of their application, scoring highly with over 60% of judges ranking their evidence from “good” to “clear and substantial”. From the “steady progression” upwards of ethnic minority employees to winning the G15 Ethnicity Award in Housing, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing has attained positive, sustainable impact. They have also achieved:

  • A 40% increase in Rise membership since 2021
  • A 15% increase of active allies participating in network events and engaging with digital content on the organisation’s intranet.
  • Successful ethnically diverse appointments into senior roles
  • Ethnicity rates and progression in line with strategy targets.

Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing also informed judges of the cooperation between Rise and senior leadership:

“Our network group has worked really hard to develop relationships with senior stakeholders/decision makers to enhance the influence the group has and subsequently giving way to opportunities to challenge and be a ‘critical friend’. This action is a constant work in progress.”

 

Next Steps…

Looking forward, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing plan to continue and develop the action they have taken to achieve greater impact for their ethnically diverse staff. They seek to analyse and address ethnicity pay gaps, promote role-model visibility through stories of lived experience and provide upskilling development for employees. The organisation also seeks to expand action taken with the wider community and stakeholders through activities with an emphasis on wellbeing and treatment.

Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, through the Rise network, have demonstrated commitment and impact for change. Their Bronze Trailblazer status echoes the impact felt by the organisation’s Black, Asian and ethnic minority employees. Celebrating our Trailblazer community will accelerate the change and momentum towards racial equality, through action not words.

 

Follow Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing’s Lead: Become a Trailblazer

If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnic background employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers. 

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