In the top 10 gay-friendly councils in the country

Hackney Council is one of the top 10 gay-friendly councils in the country, according to Stonewall s Workplace Equality Index.

The 2010 Index, which showcases Britain’s top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people, ranks Hackney Council at number 43, the 3rd highest rating for a London authority, and 10th highest of all councils.

Hackney is one of only five London boroughs to make it into the Index, and one of a total of 24 councils nationwide.

Cllr Karen Alcock, Cabinet Member for Equalities, said: “Hackney Council is committed to ensuring a workplace environment free from discrimination, and where all staff can reach their potential. We know that Hackney is a diverse borough, and being recognised within Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index is a clear demonstration of the Council’s commitment to promoting equality for all.”

Rankings in the index are based on a survey from Stonewall covering policy and practice, which is designed to provide an accurate sample of workplace culture.

"Competition was fiercer than ever to secure a place on the 2010 Top Employers List," said Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive. "We received more entries than any previous year from employers who understand and have benefited from Stonewall’s research which found that gay people are far more likely to buy goods or services from companies they know are gay-friendly. The Index is a powerful tool used by Britain s 1.7 million gay employees and 150,000 gay university students to decide where to take their talent and skills."

Hackney Council also participates in Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, which aims to promote LGB equality in the workplace and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Working with Stonewall allows the Council to network with organisations from different sectors, as well as gaining access to workplace guides and seminars on promoting equality and eliminating discrimination.

In addition to taking part in the programme, the Council has established a 45-strong Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Staff Forum. The forum provides an opportunity for staff of all grades and backgrounds to identify issues concerning their experiences as employees, offer support to each other and act as a representative consultative body.

The Council has also conducted surveys of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents in the borough as part of wider initiatives to improve service delivery, and for LGBT young people, the Council provides a specialist LGBT youth group.

Hackney will also be celebrating LGBT History Month with a series of events throughout February.