UKAA launches new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The UKAA has announced the launch of its new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The committee will take an active role in making change happen, with members drawn from a diverse range of businesses in the urban and suburban Build to Rent (BTR) sector.

Stephanie Smith, Director of Operations and Asset Management at Hubbl and Chair of the new UKAA EDI Committee explains:

“Equality, diversity and inclusion stretch across all that the BTR sector does – the way we invest, how we design buildings and homes, our social impact on neighbourhoods, how we hire and build out career development opportunities and how we give back to the community every day. That’s why it was important for UKAA to create a distinct working group to represent the communities for which we are developing and working.”

The EDI Committee has been designed to be representative at all levels, from on the ground to the board room. Submissions for membership were invited from anyone who was personally inspired to contribute to EDI. A blind submission process was used to assure equal representation, with each application judged on their passion for EDI, standout ideas and proactive stance.

In addition to Chair Stephanie Smith, the UKAA EDI Committee includes members from Quintain, Bidwells, Greystar, Womble Bond Dickinson, the University of Westminster and Livewire. Oyster’s Executive Consultant – Real Estate Operations, Kevin Redman, serves as Vice Chair.

The first of the committee’s monthly meetings was held in December 2023, but its formation can be traced back to the UKAA/Swift Bunny Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Benchmarking Snapshot that took place in spring 2022. An expanded follow up survey took place in January 2023, examining 15 areas of EDI within the BTR sector. EDI was also a core objective of the 2023 UKAA Manifesto.

Looking forward, EDI Committee Chair Stephanie Smith will be furthering the inclusion agenda by hosting the UKAA International Women’s Day Webinar on 8th March 2024. Taking place between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm, the online event will focus on inspiring inclusion in the living sector, with an all-female expert panel exploring how to create an equitable environment within the living sector.

“The UKAA EDI Committee will play an active role in defining what EDI is and what it means within the urban and suburban Build to Rent sector. This goes beyond the soft and fluffy – the committee will be taking EDI into commercial board rooms, understanding the needs of local communities, examining companies’ impact and working with local authorities. It’s going to be a significant force for the advancement of EDI issues across all aspects of Build to Rent.”

Brendan Geraghty, CEO, UKAA

The 10-person committee will be engaging with other UKAA working groups for a complete picture and to find out how it can assist and support them. It has already gathered feedback from UKAA members on their views of EDI and their needs in relation to it. Initially, the committee will focus on drafting the 2024 UKAA Manifesto, which is due for publication shortly.