Birmingham City Council’s efforts to become a better employer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people have been recognised with another improved ranking in the latest Stonewall Top 100 Employers list. The council is 28th in the 2016 table - a leap of 31 places from last year’s 59th and an improvement of 63 places from 2014. In the council’s submission to Stonewall, the leading LGBT charity, a number of initiatives and projects supported by the local authority were outlined.
- Work done to improve engagement with LGBT staff and citizens through events and communications developed by the council’s LGBT Employees & Allies Network.
- Striving to highlight positive LGBT role models, and encouraging ‘Straight Allies’ to take part in activities to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced within the community.
- Lunchtime events held in council buildings and circulation of the LGBT newsletters to all staff to raise awareness of key LGBT topics and events. These include Bi Visibility Day, LGBT History Month in February and taking part in the Birmingham Pride Parade.
- Working closely with voluntary sector partners like the Birmingham LGBT Centre to develop the services available there which include: TOPAZ (a service for Older LGBT people), the LGBT Domestic Violence Service and the new LGBT Sexual Health Service which launched in August 2015 in partnership with Umbrella.
- Supporting Out Central – a safe space for Younger LGBT people to meet and socialise every Thursday evening, funded through the city’s Youth Service.
- Working with Birmingham LGBT and Out Central on the Heritage Lottery Funded project “Coming Out Stories” – which included production of a film and a learning resource which will be promoted in schools this year to help younger people understand what it is like to ‘Come Out’ as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Cllr Shafique Shah, Cabinet Member for Inclusion and Community Safety, said: “Our steady progression up the Stonewall Top 100 Employers list is a tribute to the dedication and efforts of everyone who is working to ensure that the council is an inclusive place to be an employee.
“Although now we are in the top 30, the work doesn’t stop here. We’ll continue to do everything we can to make the council an attractive and welcoming workplace for everyone.”
Looking ahead to 2017, Stonewall have started to include criteria to measure how inclusive organisations are of the trans community, so the council plans to include full details of its work to support everyone from the LGBT community.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall added: “Birmingham City Council and all of those employers that secured a place in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers 2016 list performed fantastically this year.
“We have had more submissions than ever before and so making the list is a huge achievement. I’d like to thank all of those organisations for their continued efforts to ensure that their lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff feel comfortable to bring their whole selves to work and are accepted without exception.”