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The University of Essex and Suffolk County Council named in Stonewall’s workplace equality index

PUBLISHED: 12:22 20 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:22 20 January 2016

Suffolk County Council headquarters; Endeavour House, Ipswich.

Suffolk County Council headquarters; Endeavour House, Ipswich.

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Organisations in Suffolk and Essex have been named as some of the best inclusive working environments for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.

The workplace equality index, developed by gay equality charity Stonewall, is a list of Britain’s top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff, with Suffolk County Council, the University of Essex and Suffolk Constabulary all making the grade.

The University of Essex climbed 144 places to number 53 and now ranks among the top six universities.

The index is the definitive national benchmark for employers to measure their own performance in relation to other agencies in addressing the needs of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the wider community and to track workplace culture for gay, lesbian and bisexual employees.

While 2016 marks the first year of trans-inclusive questions, the rankings will become fully trans inclusive in 2018.

Essex’s success follows on from its top six ranking in Stonewall’s Gay by Degree 2015 which showed it is one of the best universities in Britain for LGBT students.

Executive dean and diversity champion Professor Lorna Fox O’Mahony said: “This ranking recognises the progress we have made, and our commitment to provide an inclusive and supportive workplace.

Karen Bush, head of equality and diversity at the university, said the ranking was “testament to the drive, enthusiasm and commitment” of people across the university and added: “We are not complacent though; we recognise there is much more work to do but we now have a solid platform in place to build on and we will continue to work hard to improve the culture at Essex for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff.”

Meanwhile, Suffolk County Council rose 20 places to number 78.

Sarah Stamp, Cabinet lead for equalities and inclusion said: “This achievement acts as a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to support LGBT staff across the organisation”.

Matt Woor, Chair of the Suffolk County Council LGB&T Staff Network said: “Every year the work involved in making the top 100 gets harder, so it is fantastic that we have been able to rise to this challenge once again.”

Suffolk Constabulary was ranked in 15th place, improving its ranking by 58 positions and becoming the highest ranking police force in Britain.

Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk Gay Police Association, Sergeant Steve Wright, said: “I am delighted to have Suffolk Constabulary placed as the highest ranking police force in the Country.

“We have been in the top 100 for eight years and this is our best ever ranking so we are over the moon to have our hard work recognised.”

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