Words: Steve Brown
The UK's leading LGBTQ charity, Stonewall, has revealed the UK's top 10 LGBT-friendly employers for 2020.
Newcastle City Council has been announced as the most inclusive employer for LGBTQ people in the UK, marking the first time a local authority has ever reached the pole position since Stonewall started their annual ranking 16 years ago.
The council, has been the highest-ranking local authority for the last three years and was ranked fifth last year, claimed the top spot this year for their commitment to equality.
LGBTQ inclusion is embedded across all areas of their work, from employee HR policies to recruitment processes and all internal communications.
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 LGBTQ 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."
In second place was the housing association Gentoo Group, who were followed by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in third place.
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.
For the second year running, education organisations have come top of the class in this year’s Top 100, with 16 making the list.
Cardiff University was the sector’s highest achiever, coming in at ten, while Pearson, Britain’s multinational publishing company, made its debut at 80.
The legal sector came a close second with 15 firms on the list, including last year’s winner Pinsent Masons at position 4.
Sanjay Sood-Smith, Stonewall’s Executive Director, said: "We spend most of our lives at work, so getting workplace inclusion right makes a huge difference in the lives of so many LGBTQ people.
"Every year, our list of the Top 100 employers show us who’s leading the way when it comes to creating a work environment where LGBT people can thrive and be themselves in the UK.
"Newcastle City Council is paving the way for others to follow when it comes to putting LGBTQ inclusion and equality at the heart of their workplace.
"When staff feel comfortable, happy and understood, they will perform much better than if they’re having to hide who they are, or if they’re scared to go to work for fear of abuse.
"Whether you’re a global corporation or a local business, you have the power to protect and support LGBT people with accepting workplace environments where staff can bring their full selves to work.
"The more organisations that stand up for equality, the sooner we will live in a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception."
Top 10 LGBT-inclusive Employers:
1. Newcastle City Council
2. Gentoo Group
3. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service
4. Pinsent Masons
5. Ministry of Justice
8. National Assembly for Wales
9. Welsh Government
10. Cardiff University