Bury Council has again been named one of Britain’s top ‘equal’ employers by professional lobbying group Stonewall.
The council has moved up ten places to number 41 in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list – the third highest ranking local authority – which showcases the best employers for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff.
Furthermore, staff member Natasha Franklin has been acclaimed as its National Lesbian Role Model of the Year, while the council’s LGBT employee group has been highly commended for its work.
The list is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces.
The annual audit, now in its 14th year, is free to any employer to enter and this year 434 employers took part. To supplement evidence submitted by employers, Stonewall also sought feedback directly from staff, and received more than 92,000 responses.
Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “We’ve been in Stonewall’s list since 2009 and are delighted to be included once more, with our placing going up from 51 last year to 41 this year and being the third best council in the country. We are committed to eradicating discrimination in all areas, and we are glad to see that our efforts are being recognised nationally.
“My heartiest congratulations to Natasha and the LGBT employee group for all the work they do.”
Natasha joined Bury Council in 2000 and is unit manager in the environmental health and safety team.
She has been a champion of equality since becoming the vice-chair of the newly formed council LGBT employee network group in 2007 and subsequently chair of the group in 2014. She was instrumental in developing the council’s Recognising Diversity course, and has supported the launch of the council’s Allies programme.
She won the council’s Employee Star Award in September 2016 in recognition of the equality work that she has done within the council.
Outside work, she helps organise and participates in events including the Walking Rainbow, a march through Bury coordinated by the Proud of Gayness youth group, and the Not the Only Gays in the Village annual concert at The Met theatre in Bury.
Natasha said: “I am absolutely amazed and delighted to be awarded Stonewall’s Lesbian Role Model of the Year 2018. As the chair of the LGBT Employee Group, I can look back and feel proud of all that we have achieved at Bury Council to advance equality and make the workplace more inclusive. I am so pleased that this work has been recognised, and I hope that it encourages other people to get involved with championing equality.”
Darren Towers, executive director of Stonewall, said: “Bury 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.”