Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in LGBT charity Stonewall’s Top 100 employers list
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are once again, the best performing emergency service in the UK due to its efforts to engage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff, volunteers and communities. They have also jumped from 7th to 4th place in the annual awards.
This is the sixth consecutive year the Service has featured in the Top 100, which assesses organisations ranging from local authorities to international investment banks against criteria including engagement with staff and communities, training and leadership. CFRS entered the Top 100 in 2014 at number 25 and has increased its ranking year on year. It has also been the highest performing UK emergency service in 2016, 2017 and now 2018.
Following the Service’s appearance in the Top 20 Employers for the past three consecutive years Stonewall has also recognised CFRS as a Star Performer, a new commendation which recognises consistent high performance. In addition, the LGBT Employee Network Group, FirePride, has been rewarded with a Highly Commended Network Group 2018.
Cllr Bob Rudd, the Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, the body which oversees the Service, said the achievement was a great reward for the organisation’s consistent efforts around equality. He said: ”Residents can be sure that the services we provide, be they emergency response, safe and well visits or youth work, are delivered in a way that’s inclusive of the wonderfully diverse communities we serve. No one from the LGBT community should hesitate to engage with our staff or volunteers and the Service’s fourth position on the Stonewall Top 100 list provides that reassurance.”
The Service was recognised in particular for its focus on including not just lesbian and gay employees, but also bi and trans staff. In addition, supporting the community, by addressing the safety risks faced by LGBT people, especially those who live alone, those aged over 65 and young people – with whom the Service engages through Prince’s Trust programmes, cadet units, school visits and other safety initiatives – have also been recognised.
Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hancock who is also the senior sponsor of the Service’s LGBT staff Network Firepride, said: “On behalf of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service I am proud and honoured that we have risen four places to fourth position. We are committed to LGBT inclusivity and it is testament to the ongoing engagement of all our staff that once again we have been recognised as the top emergency service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Stonewall Top 100 list. It is important that anyone joining our workforce knows that they can be themselves at work so they can fully commit to the important work they do for our communities.”