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What the best employers do

Organisations entering the Index detail their LGBT practice across ten areas. Below is a collection of best practice from each of these areas.

1. Policies and benefits

University of South Wales Group

University of South Wales Group has robust policies in place to support employees who are transitioning. They provide clear and thorough information for staff, which is accessible in the form of FAQs on their intranet. The FAQs include details such as who they can contact for support, including within HR, the LGBT+ network and external organisations.

They also offer an extensive checklist for HR and managers to ensure they are adequately supporting any member of staff who is transitioning. Actions include changing identification cards, records or documents as necessary; discussing how the member of staff would like their colleagues to be informed; how to maintain privacy and confidentiality; and much more.

USW have also ensured that their policies are fully inclusive for all LGBT staff, with gender-neutral language and explicit statements of inclusion across all documents.

2. The employee lifecycle

Newcastle City Council

Employer of the Year, Newcastle City Council, have worked to ensure that their practices are LGBT inclusive for all staff, at all stages of their employment. They’ve done particularly great work on recruitment, hosting an event for IDAHoBiT that gave the opportunity for the community to connect with LGBT-inclusive employers. At the event, their LGBT staff group co-chairs and Director of HR were present to talk to LGBT attendants about working for Newcastle City Council.

They’ve also utilised LGBT community events, such as Prides, to reach out to LGBT talent and encourage them to apply for roles within the council. Finally, they have a thorough, mandatory training programme for managers with recruitment responsibilities. This features sections on LGBT recruitment, to help management understand the barriers faced by LGBT jobseekers, and how to practice inclusive and fair recruitment.

3. LGBT employee network group


Citi Pride, one of our Highly Commended Networks, have undertaken a diverse and creative range of activities. They organised awareness-raising events like Bi 101 and Trans 101, with tailored content for their reception and hospitality teams designed to support them in providing inclusive services for guests and clients. They have also worked closely with local organisations, such as The Rainbow Project and Love Equality, in Northern Ireland to bring together politicians and local advocates in support of same-sex marriage.

They worked with other network groups, both internally and externally, to curate a range of outstanding events. This included working with the Gay Women’s Network and with Citi’s internal Women’s Network on an exemplary panel event about LGBT+ women and non-binary people’s experiences in the workplace.

They also ran a successful voguing workshop during Trans Awareness week to raise funds for a trans community group. This raised vital funds for the charity as well as engaging staff in a landmark part of LGBT history and culture.

To emphasise the history of voguing – which evolved out of African-American and Latinx ballroom culture – this activity could be run alongside a screening of a relevant programme, like Paris is Burning or the first episode of Pose. We also recommend donating any funds raised to a charity that specifically supports trans people of colour.

4. Allies and role models

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy have been very successful in encouraging employees to step up as allies, with more than 700 registered allies globally. Allies can visibly show support for their LGBT colleagues by signing the ‘Allies Walls’ in the London and Belfast offices, as well as by using the rainbow mug and lanyard provided to them by the firm.

Allen & Overy provide written guidance and training available for all staff on the role of an ally, including specific trans allies training that covers relevant terminology, what transphobia looks like, and what we can do to step up as trans allies. While this training was delivered in the London and Belfast offices, it was also made available in video format to reach many more employees globally.

Members of the firm’s LGBT+ network, A&Out, have written and published two guidance notes titled “The T in LGBT+” and “The B in LGBT+” so allies can better understand how to support their bi and trans colleagues.

Allies also help organise events to raise awareness of LGBT+ inclusion, including a session titled “LGBT+ Families: How to talk to our kids at any age”, and a talk by former Rugby international Gareth Thomas on mental health within the LGBT+ community.

5. Senior leadership

Northumberland County Council

Northumberland County Council’s leadership have been instrumental in creating an LGBT-inclusive environment. Both at board and senior management levels, the leadership consistently communicates strong messages of LGBT inclusion, such as a statement of support for Bi Visibility Day.

They actively role model LGBT-inclusive behaviour – with the Deputy Chief Executive speaking at an internal training day about her commitment to LGBT equality, being a trans ally and running in the Northumberland Pride 5k run. The Chief Fire Officer has spoken externally about the council’s LGBT inclusion work and attended two Pride events.

They are also involved with the council’s diversity and inclusion work, and recently reviewed and discussed a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy at board meetings.

6. Monitoring

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons, Employer of the Year in 2019, are thoroughly monitoring the sexual orientation and gender identity of their applicants and staff, and analysing that data to identify areas for improvement when it comes to inclusion.

They ask separate questions on their monitoring forms about sexual orientation, gender, and trans identity, always including the option to self-describe for those who don’t identify with the options offered in the survey. (For more guidance on inclusive monitoring questions, refer to our monitoring guide).

In the last 12 months, Pinsent Masons have not reported any critical concerns but they have recommended some further actions and analysis. For example, they’ll be working on an internal initiative focusing on race and ethnicity, in order to identify barriers faced by BAME LGBT+ employees.

7. Procurement

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service work closely with their suppliers to monitor LGBT inclusion in their procurement practice. They scrutinise diversity and equality policies and training for all potential contractors, and work with existing contractors to help them meet their standards of inclusion. They recently carried out a supplier diversity audit to assess whether their suppliers meet their equality, diversity and inclusion standards.

The audit included looking at the policies, training, and equality monitoring processes suppliers had in place. Based on the outcomes of this audit, they contacted several suppliers to offer support and best practice suggestions. They also encourage their suppliers to get involved in their community outreach initiatives – for example, their suppliers participated in local Prides with the service in support of their ‘Smoke doesn’t discriminate’ campaign.

8. Community engagement


Vodafone have demonstrated a clear commitment to LGBT community outreach and supporting community groups. They regularly make their meeting spaces and video conferencing facilities available to community groups that need them. For example, they recently partnered with MicroRainbow to provide CV workshops to LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers in London.

They have also sponsored Pride events, including the first ever Bi Pride, which took place in London last year. During Pride season this year, they utilised their unique advantage of having retail stores in every area of the country – 89 of their retail stores were equipped with ‘Pride in a Box’, a toolkit helping them to celebrate their local Prides in-store.

9. Clients, customers and service users

Skills Development Scotland

Skills Development Scotland have been monitoring the experience of their LGBT service users and making changes according to their findings. They recently reviewed an LGBT customer’s journey through their services and, following this, developed an Equality Action Plan. This identified further activity required to pinpoint and tackle barriers to access for customers based on protected characteristics, including LGBT customers.

They then decided on next steps, such as creating a section on their intranet featuring the information their employees need to support LGBT customers, including respectful terminology. There was also a thorough consultation involving key partners and their Equality Advisory Group to ensure that any actions taken were as helpful as possible.

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