Charity ranks Warwickshire County Council one of the best in the UK for equality

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WARWICKSHIRE County Council is one of the UK’s top 100 employers when it comes to improving the workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff.

That’s according to national charity, Stonewall, who ranked the county council 67th in its Workplace Equality Index for 2012, which has seen the council shoot up the table from 90th in 2011. Submissions to the Index this year have been tested against new and tougher criteria, making the accomplishment even more impressive. This accolade comes in recognition of the commitment the council has made to tackling discrimination and improving the workplace for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) employees.

An example of this includes the Council’s Family Friendly Policy which covers benefits and policies in relation to maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave and flexible working to explicitly include LGBT staff, and actively promotes equality of benefits to all staff.

The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index is an annual benchmarking exercise that ranks the best employees for LGBT people in Britain. From the Index, Stonewall then produce their Top 100 employers. The Index was developed by Stonewall to challenge Britain’s leading organisations to improve and create a safe and inclusive environment for their employees, customers, service users and stakeholders.

The Index is in its eighth year and received over 363 submissions this year from a broad range of industries.

Warwickshire County Council began to participate in the index in 2007; its first submission, in 2008 saw the county ranked 208th, subsequently moving to 132nd in 2009. 2012 marks the third successive year the council has reached the Top 100, and has seen an increase in its ranking from 90th to 67th.

David Carter, Strategic Director for Resources, and Warwickshire County Council’s equalities champion said: “We are pleased with such a significant increase in our standing on Stonewall’s Top 100 employers. Our ranking of 67th is testament to the hard work of all services and staff across the council who are promoting LGBT equality as part of their day-to-day work. Taking place in the workplace equality index demonstrates our commitment to LGBT employees, all our customers and service users.”

Portfolio Holder for Improvement and Workforce, Cllr Martin Heatley, has hailed the council’s achievement in achieving top 100 status in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.

Cllr Heatley said: “We are delighted to be included in Stonewall’s top 100 and are particularly pleased at our rise of 23 places.

“The County Council is committed to promoting equality and respecting diversity, this has driven our work and our position within the Index reflects this. The fact that the county council is so aware of its commitment to a diverse workforce is reflected in its resolve to provide quality services to every resident in all the county’s communities.”

Steven Haworth, Chair of Warwickshire County Council’s LGBT Staff Network said: “Being placed 67th in the Stonewall Top 100 is fantastic news for the LGBT Staff Network and for the organisation as a whole. The Stonewall Index was tougher this time round so it’s great to see everyone’s hard work over the last year being recognised with such a prestigious accolade.”