Posted on Thursday 19th January

Cheshire Constabulary has been named as one of the best employers in the country for lesbian, gay, bi and transgender staff.

The force was ranked 16th out of 439 in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index (WEI) Top 100 Employers for 2017.

The list is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces.

In 2016 Cheshire Constabulary was ranked 135th within WEI, but after a big push to improve staff engagement the force has now climbed to its highest ever position.

Kate McStein, HR Manager for Positive Action at Cheshire Constabulary, said: “The results for Stonewall WEI for this year have reflected all the hard work that the organisation has been putting in to ensure that equality and inclusion across all protected characteristics have been embedded throughout all levels of the organisation.

“Cheshire Constabulary is very lucky to have a senior leadership team who provide a high level of visible and accountable support, plus highly engaged staff networks which has resulted in real progress over the last twelve months when we saw the Constabulary fall out of the top 100 for the first time.

“The Positive Action team within HR played a pivotal role in ensuring that the organisation has not only re-entered the top 100, but has risen so significantly to our highest ever position which we are absolutely delighted with.

“We will continue to work with our staff, community groups and partners within Cheshire to continually strive to be one of the best performing organisations in the country.”

Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane added: “To be ranked 16th out of 439 employers in Stonewall’s WEI is a fantastic achievement for Cheshire Constabulary and testament to all the hard work that has been done across the force during the past 12-months.

“This is a very positive step forward and there is still more to be done. We will continue to work hard to ensure we create the best workplace possible for all lesbian, gay, bi and transgender staff.”

In 2015 Cheshire Constabulary was ranked 91st. But 2016 saw an increased number of applicants and the score needed to enter the top 100 increased making it harder for organisations to maintain their position.

Following on from feedback in 2016 the Force set about an action plan to look at how it could improve on its result. The structured feedback enabled the team to identify key areas to work on.

A spokesman for Cheshire Constabulary said: “Our staff survey has been highlighted as one of the highest scoring sections with scoring almost full marks in this area. This is showing that the work undertaken over previous years in really showing an impact on the staff.

“Cheshire Police’s LGBT+ Staff Network group has been awarded the highly commended Network group badge. This has only been awarded to organisations which scored over 90% in the Network Group section.

“We expanded the scope for staff to complete the staff survey by sharing this with our Local Policing teams directly as against posting on our Intranet site. This dramatically increased our number of responses which makes up 5% of the total score.

“Hosting events in collaboration with Cheshire ‘Fire Pride’ and Cheshire West and Chester council for LGBT History month, International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia and Trans day of remembrance have allowed Cheshire Police to both arrange and be a part of a number of events across the county over the last 12 months.”

Now in its thirteenth year, the Stonewall list celebrates the pioneering efforts of leading organisations to create inclusive workplaces.

To supplement evidence submitted by employers, Stonewall also seeks feedback directly from the entrants’ staff.

The feedback is sent direct to Stonewall and is anonymous. This year Stonewall received over 90,000 responses to the staff survey, making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain.

Duncan Bradshaw, Director of Membership Programmes at Stonewall, said: “Cheshire Constabulary and all those who have made this year’s Top 100 Employers list have done a fantastic job, and really do put equality and inclusion at the forefront of their work.

“We were thrilled to have 439 submissions for this year’s Index, one of the most competitive yet, and I would like to thank each and every organisation that took part.

“With your continued efforts and hard work, we will continue to work toward a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff are welcomed and accepted without exception in their workplaces.”

This is a very positive step forward and there is still more to be done. We will continue to work hard to ensure we create the best workplace possible for all lesbian, gay, bi and transgender staff.