Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has been recognised as the best in the UK, according to the latest results published by Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) charity.  

The service maintained its position of 60th in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2012, despite even tougher assessment criteria being introduced this year. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is now the only fire and rescue service in the country to be ranked in the top 100 employers by Stonewall.

To make the top 100 index, employers must complete a 25-question survey covering nine areas of policy and practice backed up by supporting evidence. Each entry is then awarded points based on the evidence provided in relation to its approach to supporting LGB staff.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service formed its Employee Advisory Group for Sexual Orientation in 2010. The group is made up of both LGB and heterosexual members from a wide range of roles within the Service, with the purpose of ensuring the organisation demonstrates its commitment to reflecting the community it serves and the people it employs.

So far it has taken the lead on a number of LGB events and projects, including hosting multi-partnership events such as an emergency services Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) North East Workplace conference; the Stonewall North East Workplace Equality Index launch and several Pride Breakfast events for partners and community members.

The group is also actively engaged in Northern Pride and the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), and has developed an electronic LGB e-network as an alternative way of engaging staff. The network provides information, advice and key contacts for LGB-related issues and includes a discussion forum for employees, introduced following feedback from staff.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Stonewall Diversity Champion, John Hindmarch, said: "We are committed to making sure everybody who works for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is treated fairly, with respect and without prejudice.

"Promoting equality and diversity within our service is a key priority for us. Not only does it help us to communicate fire safety messages more effectively but it also helps us to ensure we provide even better services to the wide range of communities in our area.

"I am very pleased that we have continued such good progress to become the top fire and rescue service in the country for diversity and equality practice, and that this has been recognised by Stonewall. We will be doing our utmost to improve our position in the Workplace Equality Index even further in the future."

Diversity and Equality Advisor for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Rachel Beadle, said: "This is a massive achievement for us, especially considering there was a record number of entries for this year's Stonewall index. The requirements set by Stonewall get harder and more challenging every year, so to be ranked as the best fire and rescue service in the country demonstrates our continued commitment to fairness and equality in the area of sexual orientation." 


Photo: Members of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's Employee Advisory Group for Sexual Orientation.


Posted April 23rd, 2012 at 0955 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com