Fantastic 4th place in Stonewall's Top 100
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has rocketed into the top five of LGBT charity Stonewall's prestigious Top 100 Employers list for 2018.
The Service has jumped four places from their 2017 8th place to a fantastic 4th position. It is also, once again, the best performing emergency service in the UK due to its efforts to engage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff, volunteers and communities.
This is the sixth consecutive year the Service has featured in the Top 100, which assesses organisations ranging from local authorities to international investment banks against criteria including engagement with staff and communities, training and leadership. CFRS entered the Top 100 in 2014 at number 25 and has increased its ranking year on year. It has also been the highest performing UK emergency service in 2016, 2017 and now 2018.
Following the Service's appearance in the Top 20 Employers for the past three consecutive years Stonewall has also recognised CFRS as a Star Performer, a new commendation which recognises consistent high performance. In addition, the LGBT Employee Network Group, FirePride, has been rewarded with a Highly Commended Network Group 2018.
The Service was recognised in particular for its focus on including not just lesbian and gay employees, but also bi and trans staff. In addition, supporting the community, by addressing the safety risks faced by LGBT people, especially those who live alone, those aged over 65 and young people - with whom the Service engages through Prince’s Trust programmes, cadet units, school visits and other safety initiatives – have also been recognised.
CFRS has robust policies in place, with efforts to engage all staff in LGBT inclusion and the use of LGBT youth ambassadors who support the delivery of LGBT and diversity training to team leaders and staff working with young people.
Message from the Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority
Cllr Bob Rudd, the Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, the body which oversees the Service, said the achievement was a great reward for the organisation’s consistent efforts around equality. He said: ”Residents can be sure that the services we provide, be they emergency response, safe and well visits or youth work, are delivered in a way that’s inclusive of the wonderfully diverse communities we serve. No one from the LGBT community should hesitate to engage with our staff or volunteers and the Service’s fourth position on the Stonewall Top 100 list provides that reassurance.”
Message from Cheshire's Chief Fire Officer
Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hancock who is also the senior sponsor of the Service’s LGBT staff Network Firepride, said: “On behalf of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service I am proud and honoured that we have risen four places to fourth position. We are committed to LGBT inclusivity and it is testament to the ongoing engagement of all our staff that once again we have been recognised as the top emergency service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Stonewall Top 100 list. It is important that anyone joining our workforce knows that they can be themselves at work so they can fully commit to the important work they do for our communities.”
Paul Hancock concluded: "We want the best people to work for us, regardless of background, so I would urge anyone who would like to join us to keep an eye on our website for opportunities such as on-call firefighter recruitment at a number of our fire stations, wholetime firefighter recruitment and support staff vacancies."
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Message from Stonewall's Executive Director
Darren Towers, Executive Director, Stonewall said: “Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and all those who have made this year’s Top 100 Employers list have done a fantastic job. Taking part in our Index shows real commitment to understanding and advancing LGBT equality. This year, for the first time, the Index looked at what employers were doing for trans equality in the workplace. This work is crucial. We recently published LGBT in Britain: Trans Report, which revealed the profound inequality facing trans people in Britain today. Half of trans people have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination. This must change and it’s encouraging to see so many organisations make a commitment to trans equality. With their support and hard work we can create a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees are welcomed and accepted without exception.”
About the 2018 index
434 employers across the public, private and third sectors entered the 2018 index. As part of the index there is a staff feedback questionnaire that employers ask their staff to complete. This year Stonewall received over 92,000 responses to the staff survey, making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain.
The Stonewall Top 100 Employers are the best performing employers on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2018, an annual audit of workplace culture for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff
The Service first entered the Top 100 in 2013 at number 45, before achieving 25th place in 2014, 31st place in 2015, 13th place in 2016 and 8th place in 2017 – it was also the highest performing emergency service in the UK in 2016 and 2017
In 2014, Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hancock was named North West Senior Champion for his role in promoting LGBT equality
The staff Network Firepride was set up in 2010 and is open to all employees and volunteers, as well as staff working at North West Fire Control in Warrington.
Firepride was named as an inaugural ‘Awesome Network’ by the group Inclusive Networks in 2015
Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index is free to enter for any employer
434 employers submitted entries to the 2018 Index, across the public, private and third sectors
As part of the Index there is a staff feedback questionnaire that participating employers can ask their staff to complete. This year Stonewall received over 92,000 responses to the staff survey making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain
All of the Top 100 are members of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme