Newcastle City Council has been revealed to be the most inclusive employer in the UK by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall in its 2020 Top 100 Employers list. The council has become the first local authority to ever reach the pole position since Stonewall started its annual ranking back sixteen years ago. 

The council, who came fifth in the 2019 list and has been the highest-ranking local authority for the last three years, claimed the top spot this year for their commitment to equality. LGBT inclusion is embedded across all areas of their work, from employee HR policies to recruitment processes and all internal communications. 

Newcastle City Council ran numerous events over the year, including their ‘7 days of Pride’ campaign, supporting and highlighting the LGBT community in the run up to Newcastle Pride. They also put on events to mark other visibility days such as Bi Visibility Day, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) and Trans Day of Remembrance.   

Cllr Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: ‘I’m incredibly proud that our commitment to inclusivity has been recognised with this accolade, and it is a fantastic achievement for us to be the first local authority to be named as Stonewall’s Employer of the Year. 

‘But this is really an award for everybody in our city who shows us every day that we are all equal and that our great city accepts everyone. Newcastle is a safe and welcoming city and the North East in general does a great deal to champion the LGBT community. We are all eagerly anticipating the fantastic opportunity to demonstrate this by being the host city for UK Pride 2020. 

‘It is part of the core values of Newcastle City Council that we are all equal and I would like to thank all our amazing staff for putting these beliefs into practice and creating an outstanding workplace where everybody feels comfortable to be who they are.’ 

Housing association Gentoo Group came in second place, followed by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (3 in 2019). 

The Top 100 is the UK’s leading list ranking employers from public, private and third sectors on how inclusive their workplaces are and is intensively competitive – with more than 500 organisations vying for a place this year. 

Law firm, DWF, received special commendation as this year’s Bi-Inclusive Employer of the Year. DWF hosted a bi inclusion seminar for all staff, supported Bi Visibility Day and shared resources with staff about the barriers bi people face. Stonewall research shows why bi-inclusion is needed with half of bi men (49 per cent) and a third of bi women (34 per cent) hiding their identity at work, compared to seven per cent of gay men and four per cent of lesbians. 

Stephen Miles, CEO of Commercial Services and Executive Sponsor of LGBT+ Inclusion at DWF said: ‘It’s hugely important to us that everyone feels that they can be themselves at DWF. That’s why we’re delighted to win the Bi-Inclusive Employer of the Year Award this year, highlighting our work to prioritise bi-inclusion across the business.     

‘We’re proud of the work our LGBT network have done in partnership with the wider organisation ensuring that all of our policies and processes are bi inclusive, and to improve bi visibility internally. Over the past year, we celebrated Bi Visibility Day, profiled bi role models across the business to create opportunities to tell their stories and equipped all our staff to challenge bi-phobic or bi-erasive behavior, both in and outside of the office.   

‘Bi people still face particular difficulties at work, with many bi people not feeling able to bring their full selves to work. We’d encourage every organisation to take steps to support their bi staff, as well as their lesbian, gay and trans staff, to make their work environments welcoming to everyone.’   

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