Emergency services shine as LGBT inclusive employers

Six emergency services organisations based in England, Scotland and Wales have retained their place in the Top 100 employers list, compiled by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall, with three new entries.

Stonewall’s annual review has this year, for the first time ever, marked employers specifically on trans inclusivity, in addition to their work on lesbian, gay and bi inclusive policies.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Services have climbed the rankings for a second successive year, moving to the fourth position overall (8 in 2017; 13 in 2016), leading the way for another strong performance by the North West of England. Cheshire Constabulary appear at 26 in this year’s list, joined by new entry Lancashire Constabulary at 74.

Cllr Bob Rudd, the Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, the body that oversees the service, said the achievement was a great reward for the organisation’s consistent efforts around equality. He said, ”Residents can be sure that the services we provide, be they emergency response, safe and well visits or youth work, are delivered in a way that’s inclusive of the wonderfully diverse communities we serve. No one from the LGBT community should hesitate to engage with our staff or volunteers and the service’s fourth position on the Stonewall Top 100 list provides that reassurance.”

Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hancock who is also the senior sponsor of the service’s LGBT staff Network Firepride, said, “On behalf of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service I am proud and honoured that we have risen four places to fourth position. We are committed to LGBT inclusivity and it is testament to the ongoing engagement of all our staff that once again we have been recognised as the top emergency service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Stonewall Top 100 list. It is important that anyone joining our workforce knows that they can be themselves at work so they can fully commit to the important work they do for our communities.”

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services were the highest performing new entry on the list at 59 overall. This year’s other impressive performers come from the police service, with Northumbria Police, who enter the list at 69, and Sussex Police moving up 32 places to a rank of 47 (79 in 2017).

Giles York, Chief Constable of Sussex Police, said, “We were first recognised for this achievement 10 years ago, and we have continued to improve year on year to once again receive recognition of our commitment to diversity in our workforce. We are proud to be an inclusive and welcoming organisation and will continue to lead the way in developing services informed by the people we serve. We are privileged to have such a dedicated and enthusiastic LGBT staff network and external LGBT public advisory group.”

Ian Mills Chief Inspector Lancashire Police said, “Lancashire Police is immensely proud to be identified by Stonewall as a leading employer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We are committed to valuing difference and supporting diversity within our workforce and communities and recognise the true potential a diverse workforce brings to the service we deliver, in order to keep people safe and feeling safe.”

Nottinghamshire Police Headquarters (39), Leicestershire Police (42), Police Scotland (90) complete this year’s list for the sector.

This year marks a new trans inclusive focus for the Top 100, and every organisation that made the list this year has shown a real, tangible commitment to trans inclusion in the workplace. This comes at a time when trans and non-binary people are facing a daily onslaught of abuse both in their private lives and in the public sphere.

Earlier this month, Stonewall released research that showed half of trans people (51 per cent) have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination or abuse and that one in eight trans employees (12 percent) have been physically attacked by colleagues or customers in the past year.

Full results of the Top 100 Employers list can be found online.