STONEWALL has named Cheshire West and Chester Council in its prestigious list of the best employers in the country.

The council is celebrating after retaining a place in Stonewall’s top 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) friendly organisations for the second year.

The council takes part in Stonewall’s annual Workplace Equality Index, which assesses public, private and third sector organisations across the UK, including some of the largest and most successful firms in the world.

The index is fully revised every three years, and 2018 marks the first year of new and even more challenging criteria, including being fully trans-inclusive.

This meant retaining a top 100 place against the 434 submissions to the index this year was a significant achievement.

Cllr Paul Donovan, the council’s cabinet member for democracy and workforce, said: “We are delighted to be further recognised for our work on equality and diversity.

“This reflects a great deal of hard work by our elected members and staff who are committed to ensuring that all colleagues feel able to be themselves at work and help to make our communities more inclusive.”

The council is driven to remain at the forefront of LGBT inclusion nationally and its strengths include the highly successful allies programme, support from senior managers and elected members, additional staff training, effective partnership work and changes to a range of policies and procedures.

Visibility has also increased, including extensive presence at community events such as Chester

Delyth Curtis, CWAC deputy chief executive, said: “This is a real honour and reflects the progress we continue to make around LGBT equality, which means the organisation is better placed to respond to the issues faced by its employees and the LGBT community.

“Our staff, visitors and residents come from all walks of life.

“For LGBT employees, knowing that the organisation and colleagues will support them to be themselves makes a real difference to their everyday working lives.”