LGBTQ employment award for council

LGBTQ+ Progress flag flying over :Lambeth town hall in Brixton

The LGBTQ+ equality charity Stonewall has named Lambeth council as a Stonewall Silver Employer for its commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion at work.

Stonewall’s latest Top 100 Employers list ranks the best LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces.

New Gold, Silver and Bronze Stonewall Awards are part of its Bring Yourself to Work campaign, which highlights the importance of inclusive work environments.

Lambeth is the borough with the largest LGBTQ+ community in London – part of a diverse population of more than 325,000 people. 

Stonewall said its Silver Employer Award Award is for the council’s inclusion of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people in the workplace.

Cllr Sonia Winifred, Lambeth council cabinet member for equalities and culture said: “Since March 2020, almost everyone in the workplace has seen their daily routine changed and has faced being distanced from colleagues and support networks.

“It’s inspiring to see this recognition from the UK’s leading equal rights organisation that Lambeth is moving forward with work to support LGBTQ+ colleagues and the wider LGBTQ+ community in these difficult times.”

Fiona Connolly, the council’s executive director of adult services and Paul Bates, director of strategy and communications, are senior sponsors of the council’s LGBTQ+ staff forum.

“Inclusion matters now more than ever. According to Stonewall’s research, more than a third of LGBTQ+ staff (35%) in the UK hide who they are at work, while one in five (18%) have been the target of negative comments about being LGBTQ+,” said Connolly.

“Our aim is to make Lambeth a place where people can bring their whole selves to work.”

Bates added: “We’re proud today that Lambeth has won a Silver Stonewall Employer award as one of the UK’s 200 most LGBTQ+-friendly employers – all thanks to the efforts of our LGBTQ+ staff forum, council staff and leaders to create a welcoming and inclusive workplace for all and to help Lambeth represent the rich diversity of communities we work for.

“I am incredibly proud that this result reflects the significant progress that has been made, despite the challenges of the pandemic, in terms of LGBTQ+ inclusion in our workplace and through service delivery as part of the council’s commitment to equality diversity and inclusion.

“The LGBTQ+ staff forum will continue to advocate on behalf of all LGBTQ+ staff and support the council’s progress with the aim of being in Stonewall’s Top 100 next time.”

The council said that, while it is still working towards a place in the Top 100, it had improved to well within the top 200 out of 400 organisations who entered.

Christopher D’Souza, co-chair of the council LGBTQ+ staff forum, said the silver award was for new work such as inclusion policies on workplace bullying and people transitioning at work; statements on diversity included in training and all recruitment material, and a network for LGBTQ+ staff.

Liz Ward, director of programmes at Stonewall said: “It’s fantastic that Lambeth council has earned a Silver award for its commitment to creating an inclusive work environment, and we look forward to seeing and supporting their inclusion journey.

“We spend so much of our time at work, and our career can be a huge part of how we define ourselves.

“Every single lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer person should be able to be themself at work.

“From understanding how HR policies, such as parental leave, will affect them, to being reassured that they can speak openly about their lives and partners at the coffee machine, the impact of inclusive workplaces can be life-changing”.

Stonewall, which describes itself as the UK’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who wanted to break down barriers to equality.

It continues to campaign  on LGBT equality, as well as  to work with employers  and  schools to create environments which allow LGBTQ+ people to thrive.