Tuesday, 06 October 2015

Housing providers named in top employment list

Seven housing providers have been rated among the most gay-friendly places to work in the UK.

Metropolitan Housing Partnership was named the most welcoming housing association in the UK to gay staff, claiming fifth place in the list of 100 employers by lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall.

Employers submitted a self-assessment survey that was scrutinised by equality staff at the charity.

Entrants were then assessed for their employee policy, engagement with and training of staff, and their approach to the ‘pink plateau’, or the reported glass ceiling that prevents gay staff from reaching senior positions.

Peter Cleland, MHP’s interim chief executive, said: ‘This is a marvellous achievement for MHP, and testament to our overall approach to diversity, in both the workplace and the way that we deliver our services. 

‘It is also a wonderful tribute to Bill’s exceptional leadership, which has left a lasting mark on MHP. Bill is a passionate believer in equality, and in his time with us put it at the centre of our business agenda to ensure that we recruit exceptional staff, regardless of their background, and provide the best possible services and opportunities to our diverse customers and communities.’

Gentoo Sunderland was ranked the UK’s second most gay-friendly housing association, rated 9th in the list.

Pam Knights, equality and diversity coordinator at Gentoo, said they were proud to have reached the top ten for the first time, after six years of applications to be recognised.

She said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted that we’ve broken through that barrier. It’s great as we’re competing with national and multinational companies.

‘It’s taken several years of work, these things don’t just happen overnight.’

Gentoo’s achievement, she said, could be attributed to a new lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff group being established in 2008 as well as training sessions involving board games like snakes and ladders with a gay twist.

‘The snakes were the negative equality situations – say you have homophobic graffiti on your wall but you don’t report it to a housing officer,’ she said.

‘We offer our customers the opportunity to be dealt with by a member of staff who has personal knowledge or experience of LGB issues.’

Also featured on the list were Genesis Housing (33), South Essex Housing  (65), Your Homes Newcastle (67), Berneslai Homes (83) and Plus Dane Group (90).

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