Cambridge Council 'gay-friendly'

Alys Brown 25 January 2008

Cambridge City Council is the most gay-friendly district council in the UK, according to leading organisation on gay rights, Stonewall.

The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) pressure group’s 2008 Workplace Equality Index (WEI) ranked Cambridge amongst the top 20 gay-friendly employers in the country.

The index, which is compiled annually, judged the Council on areas of inclusive policy and procedure.

The Council also had to satisfy a personal visit on behalf of the WEI, and was assessed on whether it had an active LGBT staff network, worked visibly with the local LGBT community and was a supportive employer of LGBT staff at all levels.

The list also includes key employers such as the Home Office, BT, Accenture and Barclays. Nacro, the crime reduction charity, was the overall winner in the UK, with an assessment score of 96%.

The most improved organisation was the law firm Pinsent Masons, while the best network group was the HM Prison Service.

But Cambridge City Council beat them to 16th place out of 240 UK employers, with an overall score of 87%, and a jump of 12 places from its position last year.

Mayor Jenny Bailey said: “I am delighted that the success of our equalities work has been recognised by Stonewall. It’s a real achievement to be rated so highly and just goes to show that the city council is a great place to work.

“We are committed to treating all of our staff equally and fairly whatever their sexual orientation, disability, age, religion or ethnic background.”

Employers were required this year to obtain a minimum score of 71% to be placed in the top 100, an improvement of 40% since 2005.

Competition is fierce between them – which is a marked difference from the Index’s lauch in 2004, when 6 of the top hundred employers refused to be named so as not to be associated with a ‘gay index’.

David Shields, Stonewall’s Director of Workplace Programmes, said: ‘The spread of employers represented…vividly demonstrates the huge range of organisations now engaged with Stonewall in promoting equality.’

The Index showed, however, that there is still significant room for improvement in some areas, including the legal profession and the media.

Alys Brown