All About You Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are we asking personal questions about who you are?

It’s really important that we have a general understanding of who all of our customers are and any individual needs that you may have.  This helps us to ensure that we are delivering and developing our services in line with your needs.

If we understand who our customers are, we are also better able to ensure that all of our services are accessible, inclusive and fair. For example, if we know that a customer has a mobility need we can make sure we wait a little longer for them to answer the door.  If we know that customers have specific interpretation or translation needs, we can ensure that we provide information in the appropriate language or format.  This information also helps us in reducing costs and delivering services that are value for money because we can get the service right first time and avoid repeated calls or visits which cost money and staff time.

By collecting our customers information at a statistical or group level we can also identify any groups that are may not be accessing services, identify any barriers that may cause this and put appropriate measures in place. We can also better understand levels of satisfaction and take appropriate action to ensure that our services are fair and accessible to all.

Tower Hamlets Homes is committed to tackling inequalities, this is central to our vision and commitment to providing excellent services.  We also have a legal duty to all its customers to ensure that our policies and procedures are inclusive and that we do not discriminate.

 

2. What will we do with this information?

The information will be stored on a central and secure housing management system.  The information which you choose to give us will play an important role inmaking sure staff know what you need (this can include communication needs, access needs or support needs). If we know you have told us you need something done a certain way, we’ll always try to meet this –for example if you need large print correspondence or need us to telephone you before we visit.

We also use the information to carry out equality mapping which is where we use data to:

  • highlight possible inequalities
  • investigate their underlying causes and
  • remove any unfairness or disadvantage

 

3. Is it just Tower Hamlets Homes that does this?

No, all public sector housing and many other organizations across the country collect customers' personal data. 

 

4. Why are we asking questions about ethnicity?

Knowing your ethnic background will help us to provide services that meet specific needs of all ethnic backgrounds, and reduce the risk of direct and indirect race discrimination.

We want to ensure that all different ethnic groups receive the same standard of service and are not disadvantaged when it comes to accessing or obtaining our services. This information will also give us an idea which ethnic groups use our service and which ones don’t and allow us to better target groups in specific areas.

This is also an objective of Tower Hamlets Council’s Race Equality Scheme

 

5. Why are we asking questions about gender?

The information you give us will help us to ensure our services are fair and inclusive of needs regardless of your gender identity.

We are committed to supporting the objectives of Tower Hamlets Council’s Gender Equality Scheme.

 

6. Why are we asking questions about transgender?

The term “trangender” or “trans” are umbrella terms to cover the many diverse ways in which people can find their personal experience of their gender differs from the assumptions and expectations of the society they live in.

It is only recently that transgender people have gained legal recognition in their acquired gender role (Gender Recognition Act 2004) and legal protection in employment (Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999).

Monitoring transgender information can help us to understand the needs of our transgender residents and service users.  It can also help highlight areas for improvement and demonstrate our organisation’s commitment to equality.

Research in the areas of employment, health provision, social exclusion and hate crime indicates that transgender people (who may not conform to the traditional division of male and female) experience higher levels of discrimination, harassment and violence. Transgender people are more likely to experience mental distress due to the social disapproval and discrimination that they encounter.

As a result of their gender identity, many transgender people have experienced:

  • A lack of understanding from family, friends, employers, medical professionals and others
  • Difficulty in finding work or retaining it once their background becomes known to others
  • Rejection by family and friends
  • Transphobic comments, bullying and hate crime
  • Violent intimidation on the streets and outside their homes

In an effort to promote our commitment to equality and diversity, we will continue to support transgender residents and address direct and indirect discrimination in all areas.

We are committed to supporting the objectives of Tower Hamlets Council’s Gender Equality Scheme.

7. Why are we asking questions about age?

The information you give us will help us to ensure our services treat everyone fairly and with consideration regardless of their age.

This information will also help us to ensure we target resources effectively. For example, if we have a large proportion of elderly tenants in one area we may want to work more closely with specific support agencies to enhance the availability of services in that area.

We are committed to supporting the objectives of Tower Hamlets Council’s Age Equality Scheme.

 

8. Why are we asking questions about disability?

If you tell us you have a disability or long tem illness, we can ensure that we tailor our services to make them more accessible. This includes making reasonable adjustments to our physical customer access points e.g. access ramps, hearing loops, low reception desks, automatic doors, home visits and providing appropriate formats to respond to individuals needs – for example large print, Braille, audio tape etc.

This is also an objective of Tower Hamlets’ Council’s Disability Equality Scheme.

 

9. Why are we asking questions about religion and belief?

In collecting this information, we can ensure that we provide services which are fair and respectful of everyone’s religion and belief.

This information will also help us to ensure that specific needs of individuals are met when we provide services to residents.  For example, if through monitoring we find that a high number of our customers are from a particular religious group, we can make our staff aware so they are familiar with the customs and traditions and help us to drive increasing levels of satisfaction.

We are committed to supporting the objectives of Tower Hamlets Council’s Religion and Belief Equality Scheme.

 

10. Why are we asking questions about sexual orientation?

Monitoring sexual orientation helps us to ensure that our services do not discriminate, and that we can develop policies and strategies that include the needs of all groups including lesbians, gay men and residents who identify as bisexual.

We want to play our part in creating a climate of acceptance and openness, where residents can feel comfortable in disclosing their sexual orientation and will be assured of respect regardless of what their sexual orientation is.

Monitoring sexual orientation can be a sensitive issue for some people, but providing us with information will help us to be proactive in supporting those who may need specific support on the basis of their sexual orientation – for example as a result of hate crime or homelessness - and also promote a culture of acceptance within our organisation and across the Borough.

We are committed to supporting the objectives of Tower Hamlets Council’s Sexual Orientation Equality Scheme.

11. Do I have to give you this information?

No. It will be an advantage for us to have as much information as you are willing to give, but if you really don’t feel comfortable giving the information then please just say so as we can record “prefer not to say” for any question.

 

12. I’ve already givenyou this information - why do you want it again?

In the past we have asked some of these questions. But we also know that people’s circumstances change all the time and so we want to make sure that we have the most up to date information as possible so we can be sure we can give you the best services possible.

We have made a number of changes to our systems and processes and we want to deliver a high quality service based on your needs, as well as ensuring that our services are shaped to the needs of our customers, and not the other way around.

 

13. What about my right to privacy and confidentiality?

We respect your right to confidentiality.  The information gathered will only be seen by staff with authorised access and who have a reason to use it.

 

14. How will I know my data is protected?

All our systems are password protected and access is strictly restricted. Information will be held securely and in compliance with our Privacy Policy which follows the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998.