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OPEn HoUSE - Opportunities for the Procurement of Employment iN HOusing for the Underrepresented through Support and Empowerment

Partnership information




The activities undertaken by OPEN HOUSE are a response to an identified need. The Equal Community Initiative Plan (CIP) identified that “in terms of economic activity, working age ethnic minority people (66%) are less likely than white people (80%) to be economically active”. The Plan also states that “Unemployment rates for ethnic minority people in GB are twice those for white people, 13% compared to 5.8%, and (they) are less likely to reach senior positions”. CIP also identifies the need to “focus attention on the fairness of employers’ recruitment and selection practices; help employers understand the economic and social arguments for race equality in the workplace; and provide employers with practical support to develop and implement effective race equality measures”.

In 2001 the Housing Corporation identified the need to encourage Black Minority Ethnic individuals into the housing sector. Housing Associations contribute significantly to the local economy via the supply chain yet have not sufficiently influenced equality and diversity through this chain.


The aims of the Development Partnership are to increase awareness of the social housing sector within Black Minority Ethnic communities to increase access to housing and employment within the sector specifically in the Tees Valley sub-region of the North East, and thereby increasing the number of BME employees in the housing sector and associated trades.


Working with the housing providers supply chain the main objectives have been to:

  • Develop robust policies and practices within Small to Medium Enterprises Increase skills of Human Resources and front line managers to eradicate ‘hidden discrimination’
  • Provide support mechanisms for Black Minority Ethnic individuals within this network of companies
  • Provide sheltered employment within the housing sector for unemployed Black Minority Ethnics
  • Introduce mentoring, secondments and job swaps for Black Minority Ethnic individuals within the housing sector to provide clearer career progression routes
  • Outreach service with awareness sessions to raise the profile of social housing as a career within Black Minority Ethnic communities
  • Produce a ‘Best Practice Guide’ for circulation
  • Produce a Business Directory of Black Minority Ethnic led Businesses within the Tees Valley
  • Provide assistance for Black Minority Ethnic led businesses to access Approve Contractor Lists within the housing sector network.

Target Groups

  • Black and ethnic minorities
  • Unemployed people



Round 1 to Round 2

This Development Partnership was not involved in Round One.


Deborah Stephenson, Tees Valley Housing Group,


Action 2: 30 June 2007
Action 3: 31 December 2007

Equal theme

Ethnic minorities


BME groups, Employed in SMEs, Jobseekers with low basic skills

Intended impact/ sustainability

OPEn HoUSE aims to influence the adoption of lessons learnt into procurement policies, recruitment methods, training and development practices, monitoring of Equality and Diversity issues. The DP intends to use the influence of individuals and partners on national task groups and think tanks, in relation to employment practices and strategic programmes.

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