North Star welcomes residents of Darlington Housing Association - Find out more
At North Star, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are part of our DNA. Together, we continue to build a culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates difference. It fuels our innovation and connects us even closer to our customers and communities.
We consistently strive to offer equal opportunities for people with a diverse range of characteristics and from a wide range of circumstances, and pledge to continue doing so. At all levels of our organisation, inclusion is crucial, and we have a number of measures in place to ensure our team is as inclusive as possible.
In 2018, North Star set up the Equality and Diversity Group. The Group is made up of North Star staff who have a passion and drive for promoting inclusivity in the workplace.
The group meets regularly to discuss all aspects of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion with the aim to make positive changes where needed and promote the quality work that North Star does. They have helped drive forward an LGBTQ+ agenda which has helped transform our approach and organisational priorities.
Often, unconscious biases surrounding cultural differences can act as a barrier to true inclusion and equality. That’s why through training, we aim to make our staff aware of these barriers, and help encourage behaviours and attitudes to establish and maintain an inclusive workplace culture.
All staff and board members at North Star have taken part in Unconscious Bias training, as well as LGBTQ+ Advance training. We have also developed a forward plan to help ensure our training continues to cover important EDI issues going forward.
I am honoured to be part of this wonderful opportunity. It is vital that a range of diverse voices are heard in the boardroom. This is why I applied. I applaud all the partners for leading the way on EDI at a strategic level. This has been missing for too long.
Board Diversity Programme Trainee
We aim to tackle under representation by taking positive action when recruiting. We intend to increase the number of staff who describe themselves as minority ethnic to 8% and the numbers of staff who have a disability to 8%.
It’s very important to us that our Board and Staff are representative of the communities where we work, and the society that we live in. As a result, we take positive action to help ensure that people from underrepresented groups are given equal opportunities.
North Star is a member of the Disability Confident scheme, which guarantees an interview to any person who meets the job criteria and declares that they have a disability. We also guarantee an interview to any minority ethnic candidate who meets the job criteria.
We have taken further positive action to help young, minority ethnic people into work. Our apprenticeship scheme was successful, helping three young women into work. All gave positive feedback on the success of their apprenticeship.
In 2022, North Star, in coalition with Beyond Housing, Gentoo, Thirteen Group, and the Housing Diversity Network (HDN), launched a two year program to develop the board members of the future. We have four trainees, all women, three of whom describe themselves as minority ethnic. The aim is to increase diversity at a Board level.
Increase the number of BME staff to 8%
Increase the number of staff who have a disability to 8%
We have worked hard to develop healthy, mutually-beneficial relationships with a number of organisations, including:
It is lovely to win awards. However, what we really value is the independent assessment of what we do. Awards help to promote us as an organisation that takes EDI seriously.
We have been nominated for several EDI awards as a result of our apprenticeship schemes and our approach to LGBTQ+ recruitment and allyship. In 2021, we went on to win:
The ‘Creating LGBTQ Inclusion and Accessibility in the Workplace Award’ in the LGBTQ Alliance Awards
The ‘Apprenticeship Organisation of the Year’ for the Board Diversity Program at the Tees Valley BME Achievement Awards.