Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has been recognised as a one of the top employers in the UK according to the latest results published by Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity. The Service is 60th in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2011 - a leap of 41 places from last year.   

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 its attitudes to lesbian, gay and bisexual staff. Having gained 24 more points than last year, the service was commended by Stonewall for increasing its position in the table, despite this year being the most competitive to date. 

Councillor Nick Forbes, Vice-chair of the Fire Authority, said: "I am absolutely delighted for the service; their success is due to the true commitment and dedication of the staff involved. As Group Champion of the Sexual Orientation Employee Advisory Group at Tyne and Wear, I have seen first hand how much work has gone into making the improvements needed to ensure the organisation is fully inclusive of lesbian, gay and bisexual staff, and I am sure this will continue as the organisation moves from strength to strength." 

Deputy Chief Fire Officer 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. I am very pleased that we have made such good progress to become the joint 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 wonderful achievement for us and I look forward to our benchmarking meeting with our Stonewall representative to identify what further work we can do to continue to improve and be recognised as an employer of choice for gay people." 


Date posted: 14.01.11