Northumberland County Council has been named one of the most inclusive employers in Britain by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall in its Top 100 Employers list for 2019.
The council has been ranked the seventh highest scoring local authority in the country.
This year’s Top 100 was the largest ever with 445 employers entering, demonstrating their commitment to LGBT workplace inclusion.
As part of the Top 100, Stonewall collects more than 92,000 anonymous responses from employees on their experience of Britain’s workplace culture and diversity. An overwhelming 93 per cent of non-LGBT employees who responded to the survey, say they understand why their employer is committed to LGBT equality.
Coun Veronica Jones, cabinet member for adult health and wellbeing, said the excellent position reflected all the work the authority had carried out around equality issues:
"I am delighted that Northumberland County Council continues to be right up there among the very best LGBT-friendly employers in the country," she said.
“The Stonewall ranking reflects the hard work we have all put in to make Northumberland County Council an excellent place to work and shows the importance we place on being an inclusive and supportive employer for all staff including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans staff.”
Last year, Stonewall released research that revealed more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden they are LGBT at work and almost one in five LGBT employees (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments from colleagues because of their identity.
Darren Towers, Stonewall’s Executive Director said: "Northumberland County Council and all those who have made this year’s Top 100 Employers list are making a huge difference to workplaces, services and communities across the UK.
"LGBT-inclusive employers play a crucial role in changing society by using their power and influence to protect and support LGBT people. More than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) still hide their identity at work for fear of discrimination; that has an impact on productivity, wellbeing and more and shows we still have lots to do.
"However, with organisations like Northumberland County Council displaying such a strong commitment to LGBT equality, we are one step closer to creating a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees are welcomed and accepted without exception."
Stonewall’s Top 100 is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT equality in the workplace, as well as their wider work in the community and on service provision.
Each organisation must demonstrate their expertise in 10 areas of employment policy and practice, including networking groups, senior leadership, procurement and how well they’ve engaged with LGBT communities.