The Ministry of Justice has been named the top government organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff by the LGBT rights charity Stonewall, making it one of nine government organisations to make the annual list.
The Stonewall Top 100 is the charity’s annual ranking of LGBT-inclusive workplaces. This year's list is headed by the Newcastle City Council, followed by housing association Gentoo Group and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. The MoJ takes fifth position, just behind law firm Pinsent Masons.
MoJ permanent secretary, Sir Richard Heaton said: "I’m incredibly proud that we’ve been recognised as a leading employer for LGBTI+ people. That’s thanks to some fantastic individuals and strong staff networks – but also to all the thousands of people who are helping to build a workplace here where everyone feels they can belong."
The second-highest performing government organisation is the Welsh Government which is in ninth place, one spot behind the National Assembly for Wales.
The Welsh Government also received a special commendation for being one of the UK’s top trans-inclusive employers, thanks to work including developing new guidance on non-binary inclusion in the workplace and an allies’ pack and increasing and enhancing their reverse mentoring programme. Its LGBT+ network PRISM was also highly commended.
Welsh Government perm sec Dame Shan Morgan said the accolade and the organisation's appearance in the ninth spot for the second year running "demonstrates our commitment to LGBT equality".
“We aim to be an inclusive organisation where everyone is able to be themselves and fulfil their potential. As a government, it’s vital that we reflect the diversity of communities throughout Wales," she said.
The Stonewall ranking is “an invaluable tool in our journey of continual improvement to build a workplace that includes everyone, recognising our hard work and achievements and highlighting areas for further work”, she added.
Also on the list are Skills Development Scotland, ranked 12th, the Intellectual Property Office (25th), the Department for International Trade (30th), and the Environment Agency (35th).
DIT perm sec Antonia Romeo said the department's rise from 370th to 30th place on the index in three years "is a tribute to the whole department and our efforts to create a truly diverse and inclusive culture".
“I’m especially grateful to the LGBT network and members, past and present for their leadership of this work."
Martin Fitches and Matt Grey, co-chairs of the department's LGBT+ network, added: “We are really proud of the energy and determination of the DIT LGBT+ network and our contribution to making DIT the most inclusive department in government. It’s a great example of what a diverse group of people can achieve by working together.”
“We’ve taken a really creative approach to a whole range of issues, including how we raise awareness on trans issues through working with external partners, collaborated with other D&I networks and OGDs to promote our shared interests, and working as One DIT to make sure that our policies and estate reflect the LGBT+ community’s needs. We’re over the moon that Stonewall has recognised the network’s hard work.”
Outside the top 50 are the Home Office (joint 64th), making a reappearance in the Top 100, having appeared at 38th in 2018 but not in 2019. The Government Legal Department – a new entrant, along with DIT – comes in at 78th, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scotland’s independent public prosecution service, in 85th place.
However, the 2020 ranking sees five government organisations drop out of the Top 100. MI5, which ranked fourth last year, does not make the cut; nor does the Department for Education, which came in at 56th in 2019. The Scottish Government, MI6 and the National Crime Agency have also lost their top-100 spots.
As well as the National Assembly for Wales, both the House of Lords and the House of Commons make the list, in joint 64th place and 86th place respectively.
Stonewall said this year’s Top 100 was the most competitive ever, following submissions for 503 employers. The ranking is determined from submissions to its workplace equality index, a benchmarking tool used by employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT equality in the workplace.
Each organisation must demonstrate their expertise in 10 areas of employment policy and practice, including networking groups, senior leadership, procurement and how well they haveve engaged with the LGBT community.
Sanjay Sood-Smith, Stonewall’s executive director of workplace and community programmes, said: "The Ministry of Justice and all of the government organisations in this year's Top 100 employer's list are playing a huge role in improving the lives of LGBT people, and should be very proud of their work.
“We still don't live in a world where everyone is able to be themselves in the workplace, as we know more than a third of LGBT staff (35%) hide who they are at work. By taking steps to make their workplaces supportive and welcoming of all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, these organisations are bringing us closer to a world where everyone is accepted without exception.”