Yvonne Davies, HDN Associate reflects on the first 18 months of the Board Diversity Programme


    Yvonne Davies, HDN Associate Consultant reflects on the first 18 months of the Board Diversity Programme.

    Here are a few headlines from my perspective on the programme.

    Good Governance

    We work with housing associations to identify gaps in diversity at board/committees whilst also considering where natural vacancies might emerge in future years.

    The programme enables Boards to realise potential for diversity of thought in the boardroom and committees. This is essential to god governance.

    Supporting Sector Diversity

    A crucial part of the programme is the premise that no trainees on the Board Diversity programme are guaranteed a position on a board. HDN commitment is to get them ready to be in a position to apply for the board.

    Naturally we are always chatting about future planned and unplanned vacancies and checking the readiness of our trainees to fill those gaps.

    This a real ‘feel good’ course, for the individuals and for the Board members and staff who are supporting us to make a difference.

    Where we cannot place the trainee to a vacancy, we support the trainees with additional sessions and/or links/introductions to find board positions in other organisations.


    We support organisational recruitment by supporting open days, design of adverts and recruitment pack, or the recruitment process itself.

    The innovative recruitment techniques we used, brought the best from applicants and removed barriers and bias.

    You could argue that we have ‘taken chances. with the pilot organisations Together and Progress Housing Groups, who have taken some trainees who are from other sectors, from diverse groups, with no knowledge or thought, of applying to this sector.

    At the same time, we have taken other trainees who are young and add different views on technology and their own experiences to the boards

    Success Factors

    Joint working with the organisation’s Governance Leads has been crucial to match and enable progress to be followed.

    The Chair and the Chief Executive support has been crucial in enabling doors to be opened for the pilot. In terms of the trainees:

    • One has secured a Board position
    • Two have secured positions at Committees
    • Two others have secured positions on Charity Boards, one linked to the sponsor
    • Two others are receiving tailored support in year two with observer status on a Committee
    • Two others have fallen behind with one to one work
    • Two have left the course, due to work pressures, but they have learnt a lot which they can use in the future

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