The Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department for Education all made it onto Stonewall’s list of the 100 best employers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff in 2018.
The campaigning charity’s ranking lists 11 government departments and agencies in the top 100, including those three ministerial departments at 13th, 38th and 78th place respectively. None of the three appeared in last year’s index.
No government bodies made it into the top 10, but in at 12th place is the Welsh Government, which has climbed from 25th place last year.
Also included in this year’s top 100 is the Scottish Government’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (15th, down from 13th last year); the Environment Agency (18th, up from 47th in 2017); the Royal Navy and Marines (32nd, up from 82nd); MI6 (49th, down from 20th); GCHQ (54th, up from 75th in 2017); the British Army (84th, up from 99th in 2017); and the Intellectual Property Office (93rd, a new entrant).
In first place is the National Assembly for Wales (it was fifth last year), while the House of Commons makes the list at 23rd place (up from 28th in 2017).
Stonewall said the Welsh Assembly had a range of inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay and bi staff, and had also recently introduced a raft of measures to improve the workplace for trans staff – including updating their workplace systems to offer an Mx title and introducing gender-neutral facilities across the organisation.
Stonewall’s annual index marked employers specifically on trans inclusivity for the first time this year.
The MoJ’s permanent secretary Richard Heaton responded to his department’s appearance in the ranking: “I am convinced that promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity make the Ministry of Justice a better place to work, and a stronger supporter of a safe and fair society.
“I’m very proud that the efforts of many inspiring people and networks to improve LGBTQ+ inclusion has been recognised by such a respected index.”
DfE’s perm sec Jonathan Slater tweeted that it was a “fantastic achievement” for the department, and proof of “real progress [made] over the last two years”.
I am delighted to see that @educationgovuk has entered the #StonewallTop100 ! This is a fantastic achievement, and it is clear that we have made some real progress over the last two years. https://t.co/MUN8bl0sTf
— Jonathan Slater (@PermSecDfE) January 31, 2018
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be recognised in the list of the Top 100 employers for LGBT+ staff again this year and that our staff network ‘Spectrum’ was highly commended.
"We are keen to continue doing everything we can to ensure we build an inclusive working environment for all colleagues including colleagues who identify as LGBT+."
Stephen Lovegrove, Ministry of Defence permanent secretary, tweeted his congratulations to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and British Army, and said he was “very proud of the work being done” across the MoD.
Congratulations to @RoyalNavy, @RoyalMarines & @BritishArmy for your ranking in #StonewallTop100. Very proud of the work being done across @DefenceHQ to ensure we are an inclusive organisation. @RNCompass @ArmyLGBT @MODLGBT
— Stephen Lovegrove (@SLovegroveMOD) January 31, 2018
The Environment Agency, which has been included in Stonewall’s ranking every year for the past 11 years, updated its trans policy ahead of this year’s competition to include non-binary and intersex gender identities, and updated its “transitioning at work” policy for all staff.
The body’s chair, Emma Howard Boyd, said: “Our dedicated LGBT+ network deserves a lot of credit for helping to make the Environment Agency a great place to work where people can truly be themselves.
“Understanding and advancing equality also means being transparent. This month we published data on average earnings covering differences in sexual orientation as well as gender, disability, race, religion and belief.
“There’s a lot more to do, but to be recognised in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list for the 11th year in a row is a fantastic achievement.”
Some government departments and agencies that were in the 2017 top 100 didn’t make into the ranking this year, including the Scottish Government, the Office for National Statistics, HM Land Registry, the National Crime Agency and MI5 – which was in joint fifth place last year.
This year more than 430 employers took part in the index, which required them to demonstrate their expertise in 10 areas of employment policy and practice, including networking groups, senior leadership, procurement and how well they’ve engaged with the LGBT community.
Stonewall also names individuals who make a significant contribution to LGBT inclusion in their workplace, and this year gave its “ally of the year” award to the MoJ’s Andy Holmes, supervising officer at HMP Stafford. The charity defines “ally” as a member of staff that does not identify as lesbian, gay, bi or trans but that champions LGBT equality.
A survey Stonewall conducted in parallel to the ranking, on workplace culture and diversity, found that 91% of non-LGBT respondents said they understood why their employer is committed to LGBT equality.