RSM UK and Housing Diversity Network have joined forces to bring you a robust, comprehensive and sector-specific diagnostic assessment for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in social housing.

About our organisations

Established in 2002, HDN – Housing Diversity Network is a social enterprise membership organisation that is dedicated to supporting housing sector organisations in their journey to address inequality, maximising the potential of their workforce, and catering to the diverse needs of the communities they serve.

Our team of passionate and dedicated professionals work to empower housing organisations to foster an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity and embraces the strength of different perspectives.

Diversity Network Assessment (DNA) is a forward-thinking, outcome-based framework which provides an independent assessment of how your organisation is engaging with equality, diversity, and inclusion. It looks at this both from an internal perspective and from that of work done to positively impact your customers and communities.

RSM is a leading provider of audit, tax and consultancy services with a UK fee income of over £400millon. As part of our internationally recognised consultancy practice, we encourage organisations in the private, public and voluntary sectors to think more strategically about the benefits of effective equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) governance. We support organisations in achieving their EDI ambitions through our innovative RACE Equality Code
and a diagnostic assessment against its provisions.

Karl George MBE, Head of Governance at RSM, is a thought leader and internationally established governance consultant. Karl is the creator of the RACE Equality Code, the Assessment methodology and the Governance Framework which underpins it. We have delivered over 50 Assessments across the public, private and voluntary sector and created a community of organisations committed towards moving the dial on racial equity.

Part 1: Diversity Network Assessment

First developed in collaboration with HDN members in 2012, the DNA framework has been regularly revised and expanded to incorporate leading best-practice approaches to EDI within organisations and the communities they serve.

Building on the high-level governance focus of the RACE Code, the DNA blends evaluation of formal aspects (such as policy, structure, strategy) with informal aspects (such as culture, values, behaviours). We aim to not only encompass legal and regulatory requirements in our assessment, but to prompt you to honestly reflect on if and how the principles of EDI are embedded within your organisation.

The ‘apply and explain’ approach is also the way that organisations will be expected to demonstrate how they will meet the criteria of the DNA, if they do not already.

There are four key strands to the DNA:

Leadership & strategic focus

Includes: organisational purpose, values and priorities, high level commitment, compliance with aspects of the NHF Code of Governance, aspects of the Public Sector Equality Duty, and internal and external communication around EDI.


Includes: workforce data, inclusive policies and procedures, recruitment and retention, positive action, EDI training, pay gaps, reward and recognition, performance management, and inclusive culture.

Customer impact

Includes: fair and equitable access to services, customer communication and engagement, complaints, customer data, customer involvement, influence and training.

Community impact

Includes: other aspects of the Public Sector Equality Duty, broader inclusion initiatives to address inequalities, partnership working, and wider influence.

Testimonials from organisations who have been awarded the previous HDN accreditation

Part 2: The RACE Equality Code

Karl George MBE                               

First of all, it’s not just another code! This Code, and its Accountability Framework, is designed to provide organisations with the opportunity to address a very specific challenge: how to deal with race inequality in the boardroom and senior leadership team.

It is not only a combination of current best practice and thinking around addressing the challenges organisations face in this area, but its unique DRIVERS* provide the refreshing, sometimes radical and uncomfortable solution needed to create lasting and transformational change.

The Code adopts an ‘apply and explain’ approach, meaning organisations are able to describe how, based on their specific circumstances, they will achieve the Code’s standards.

Adopters are required to carry out a self-assessment against the requirements, explaining the outcomes of their practice. Where a requirement has not been achieved, reasons for nonachievement should be given, supported by intended actions to satisfy the requirements.

By reporting, tracking, educating, and creating accountability at the top, we expect to see change that resonates throughout the organisation.

The Code draws together 200+ recommendations outlined in reports, charters and pledges, which aim to tackle diversity and inclusion challenges, and it synthesises them into a succinct Accountability Framework and quality mark.

There are four key principles that guide the Code:


Clear commitment to be transparent to all stakeholders through disclosure of current information on the progress and impact of initiatives across the organisation.


Measurable actions and outcomes that contribute to and enable a shift in the organisation’s approach to be delivering positive and sustainable change in race equity and equality.


Key indicators that create tangible differences in race diversity across all levels of the organisation.


A robust organisational framework that develops the ethical, moral, social and business reasoning for race diversity at all levels of the organisation.

The Process

2. Planning

4. Document review

6. Workshop 1

8. Apply and Explain

1. Onboarding

3. Surveys

5. Focus groups

7. Workshop 2

Quality mark approval with logos and verification letter

Between steps 6 and 7, your bespoke report and action plan is drafted.

*DRIVERS: diversity, responsibility, integrity,
values, equity, reality, society

Next Steps

Make a start by completing the Inclusion Support Questionnaire for free, or scan the QR code on the right, and we will be in touch to see if you would like your organisation to complete the quality mark.

Or to arrange a consultation call to discuss the quality mark in more detail, fill in the box below:

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