Case Study - Supplier Policy

The Workplace Equality Index requires employers to work with suppliers, contractors and partner organisations to ensure they comply with their policies and procedures on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) equality and inclusion. Supplier policy is covered by two questions of the Index and is worth five per cent of the total available marks.

Forward thinking employers want their partners and organisations providing services on their behalf to share the same values as they do. Simmons & Simmons, an international law firm with over 1,500 employees, has proactively worked to embed LGB equality throughout its supply chain. Recognising that their own efforts to become more gay-friendly could be undermined by suppliers that don’t share the same value, the firm uses its leverage with supplier and partner organisations to advance equality.

More than just ensuring the diversity of suppliers, Simmons & Simmons has built safeguards into the procurement process that ensure suppliers meet the same exacting operational standards the !rm expects of itself. Suppliers are required to complete a Corporate Responsibility Audit that asks every organisation to demonstrate their sexual orientation credentials by providing the following:
– A copy of their equality and diversity plan that is inclusive of sexual orientation
– Data on the proportion of staff who have undergone diversity training covering sexual orientation
– Monitoring data on the proportion of staff willing and comfortable to declare their sexual orientation on a monitoring form.

Simmons & Simmons regularly provides opportunities for existing suppliers to attend some in-house training events. This includes round table discussions with existing suppliers to raise awareness on equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. These meetings are often hosted by senior partners, including the Co-Chair of the LGBT staff network group, who outlines the firm’s aims and objectives and underpins the importance of embracing and celebrating difference in the workplace.