Hello PPMA members and friends

June 2023 is Pride Month and local authorites around the UK do some excellent work to recognise and celebrate Pride in their own towns, cities and regions and we wanted to share some of this work with you. Below we hear from Faizal Hakim, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Essex County Council about the innovative work they are doing not just for Pride, but focusing on the LGBGT+ community throughout the year. We also hear from Jill Parker, Assistant Director, HR and Communications at City of Doncaster Council about their Pride celebrations and the fact that Doncaster will be the host for UK Pride 2024.

Essex County Council – Quest Programme

As the national Pride month comes to a close, it is important time to think about how we continue celebrate the positive contribution the LGBTQ+ community make in all sectors of our society but also to reflect what can allyship and policy can do to enable a culture inclusion. At ECC, we are ensuring that we have real organisational honesty about where we are at with diversity, inclusion and equality, and making sure we’ve got an action plan, with clear accountability and measurable outcomes, is how we see cultural differences, equality of opportunity and fairness being embedded into everything we do.

This year our Adult Social Care services colleagues took the lead by embarking on a ‘Quest’ programme to better understand the workplace experience for staff who identify as LGBTQ+. Staying true to our ethos of organisational honesty, we allowed the questors free reign to develop as a team and engage with any part of the Council business. This included to better understand how inclusive we are in our recruitment and selection process, whether our training on EDI comprehensive enough or do we need more bespoke modules, how we work across our staff network groups to encourage greater intersectional understanding of LGBTQ+ employees. The questors developed a set of recommendations that were incorporated into our organisational wide EDI Strategy.

Over the last year the LGBTQ+ Network have:

  • Celebrated and educated the wider workforce during LGBTQ History month during February
  • Changed our flag policy by flying the Rainbow flag outside County Hall for the whole month during Pride
  • During Mental Health Awareness Week, a presentation focused on loneliness and isolation for LGBTQ+ people
  • Actively promoting and welcoming anyone from the LGBTQ+ community to become a foster carer, whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or another sexual identity
  • About to launch our allyship programme including distribution of Rainbow lanyards to be issued to individuals who describe themselves as an ally

Going forward we have set out a multiple programme of work that will embed a culture of inclusion:

  • Started to build a leadership capability model and create a learning and training module for our senior leaders on inclusive thinking
  • Started to review our current level of learning and development offer around diversity and inclusion and its effectiveness. We will be implementing cultural intelligence awareness training in 2023
  • Piloting reciprocal mentoring with ethnically diverse people and encouraging other areas to take forward their own mentoring programmes
  • Create a safe space for regular listening forums between Staff networks and the Corporate Leadership Team

Andrew Gregory , Chair of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network said: “Pride Month is of course a fantastic celebration, but it also gives us that extra motivational boost along our journey, to help make Essex even more LGBTQ+ friendly.  I genuinely feel that Essex County Council as an organisation gives our LGBTQ+ Employee Network a voice and listens to our feedback.  We’ve currently got a few exciting projects on the go, and I’m really looking forward to sharing these with colleagues”.

Doncaster City Council – Doncaster Pride

Here in the City of Doncaster we are celebrating Doncaster Pride on 12th August.  

This is a significant annual event, organised separately through a specific events team, where we as a council help to signpost activities coordinated by Doncaster Pride, encourage volunteers to take part as well as promote and support the event from an internal workforce perspective.

The council participates in this local Pride Parade from the City Centre to Elmfield Park on the 12th August. This involves walking alongside a vehicle with an A-frame attached and all decorated. We ask for volunteers to walk with this vehicle to represent the Council’s involvement and support in Pride.

In addition, we are very proud to say that Doncaster will be the host for UK Pride 2024.