Equality, diversity and inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is about recognising everyone is different and adapting services for individual needs.

Protected characteristics

Protected characteristics are things that make people different, including:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy or maternity leave
  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation 

It is unlawful to treat anyone different because of these things.

Our vision is to inspire people and build strong communities, so we want our workplaces and communities to be inclusive. At Gentoo, we aim to understand, value and celebrate the things that make us different.

For us, EDI is about social justice, fairness, and valuing and respecting others. It is about promoting equality to help stop discrimination. It is doing the right thing and making a difference, so everyone feels comfortable to be themselves.

Our commitments

We are committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion. Equality ensuring people from all communities have equal opportunities to access services. Diversity is about respecting and valuing people’s differences and treating them in a suitable way. Inclusion is about making sure that people feel comfortable to be themselves.

We recognise our responsibilities in respect of the protected groups specified in the Equality Act 2010.

We will:

  • treat you fairly, with dignity and respect
  • not treat you differently because you belong to one of the protected groups
  • not tolerate intimidation, discrimination or harassment against you based on any protected characteristic
  • collect information about you to help us to develop our services to meet diverse needs
  • make information available on request in a format that meets your needs, for example, larger print, audio or Braille
  • communicate with you in the language you prefer, including British Sign Language
  • communicate with you in ways which are sensitive to the needs of different protected groups, including the option to choose an interview with a staff member of the same sex, or has personal experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues
  • get feedback from tenants who reflect the diversity of our communities to change and improve our services
  • assess our policies to make sure they are inclusive and do not discriminate against any group
  • ensure our procedures reflect issues of concern for members of protected groups
  • provide our staff, board members and involved tenants with training so they understand their responsibilities and the standards we expect
  • provide our board an annual report that tells them about our EDI progress and priorities
  • make sure our staff support our commitment to EDI and challenge those who do not

Public sector equality duty

The Equality Act 2010 includes a public sector equality duty that applies to public bodies. The duty requires public bodies to treat everyone equally and end discrimination.

We are not a designated public body within this act. But because we are a social housing provider, we must follow the public sector equality duty as advised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

We promote equality of opportunity, so our staff feel comfortable to be themselves.

Elements of the duty that apply to us

There are two parts to the duty.

The two parts of the duty are the:

  • general duty
  • specific duty

Social housing providers are not subject to the specific duty.

The general duty requires us to:

  • end discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other behaviour the act prohibits
  • foster good relations to deal with prejudice and promote understanding
  • remove or minimising disadvantages suffered by people with protected characteristics
  • take steps to meet needs of people with a protected characteristic
  • encourage protected groups to take part in public life and in other activity where participation is low

How we follow the public sector equality duty

Equality, diversity and inclusion affect the decision-making processes of our board. It is one of the several factors that we require to be in all board reports.

We require an equality assessment when reviewing or developing our policies. Our equality assessment format is structured around the general duty's requirements.

We will not tolerate discrimination and harassment against our staff and tenants. Equality, diversity and inclusion is embedded in our neighbourhood safety procedures. Dealing with harassment, bullying and hate incidents are a high priority.

We collect protected characteristics data for staff and tenants so we can:

  • identify employment or promotion opportunities
  • tailor our services to meet individual needs

All staff attend mandatory diversity training. The training includes information about:

  • the duty's requirements
  • the barriers that different protected groups face
  • how we can promote awareness
  • how we can challenge assumptions and stereotypes
  • how we can tailor services to individual needs

We also have a range of resources available for staff to increase their awareness and understanding, including:

  • intranet articles
  • staff newsletter articles
  • diversity handbooks

These equip staff to recognise and challenge discrimination and inappropriate attitudes or behaviour.

We use our influence as a social landlord to promote diversity and inclusion. We communicate positive messages and promote awareness of equality through:

  • sponsorship of events, like Sunderland Pride
  • social media
  • newsletters to staff and tenants

We require our contractors and partners to comply with our equality commitments.


We always recruit the most talented people for any role, regardless of protected characteristics.

We support, respect and value our staff. Our diversity staff network groups help us to achieve this. For information about our groups and inclusion activities, email equalityanddiversity@

Find out more

If you would like more information about our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, or would like to tell us about your experiences, fill in the contact form.