The Workplace Equality Index is Britain's leading tool for employers to measure their efforts to tackle discrimination and create inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. Since 2005 more than 750 major employers have taken part in the Index, using Stonewall's criteria as a model for good practice.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was placed 111th in the 2012 Index, 93rd in 2011 and 67thin the 2010 Index. A firm and clear culture of equality within the Service, which includes staff support networks, raising awareness within the organisation and externally and working closely with other public sector organisations, has helped to ensure a consistent placing within the Index.
The Chief Fire Officer & Chief Executive, Des Prichard, said: “We are delighted and proud to be named in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employer Index 2013. We believe that a strong commitment to diversity and inclusiveness is not only important for our employees, but it is vital that we are seen to be a leader in equality and diversity within the communities we serve.”
The Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority, John Livings, said: “The Stonewall Index is nationally recognised, and I am thrilled that today East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has been ranked within the top 100 employers in the UK. We have always known that this organisation has an excellent track record in respect to how it treats its employees and serves its communities, and now it has again been recognised as one of the top places in the country, for people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.”
Councillo, Phil Scott, Equality Lead Member, said “This is an immense achievement and serves as a testament to our commitment to equality. We have earned this by the efforts of our front-line staff, our professional leaders and our in-house equality team.”
Councillor Phil Howson, Lead Member for Equality in Service Delivery, said: “Our high ranking is not only about our staff. Our approach to equality includes how we deliver the services we provide and how we support those who use them, so this ranking is also an important recognition of the quality of our services in a wider context.”
Gary Ferrand, Assistant Chief Fire Officer and LGBT Champion, said: “Securing 93rd position in the Top 100 index when we know that hundreds of employers from a variety of different sectors have competed for a place shows an extraordinary level of commitment that East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service give equality on a daily basis.”