MHP ranked 5th in index of UK’s most gay-friendly employers 16/01/2012
Metropolitan Housing Partnership (MHP) has been ranked at number 5 in the 2012 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index of the UK’s most gay-friendly employers. Bill Payne, MHP’s former chief-executive, who left the organisation in December 2011, has also been named Leadership Champion of the year for his work on LGB (Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual) equality issues while heading the organisation.
MHP has been ranked in the top 100 of the Index since it was launched, but this is its highest ever ranking and a significant improvement from last year’s position of 21. It is also the highest ever ranking for a housing provider.
Peter Cleland, MHP’s interim CEO, comments: “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.”
Barbara Roche, MHP Chair, added: “It is excellent that we have been ranked at number 5. This demonstrates our commitment to equality and social justice even during difficult economic times. It is important that we hold onto our values and do not get complacent in this area.”
The Index, which has been running since 2006, recognises those employers who make a positive commitment to developing an inclusive and welcoming workplace for LGB staff. Organisations are judged on a wide range of criteria including their employment and recruitment policies, support for employee network groups, leadership on diversity issues, supply chain management, communication, services to LGB customers, and wider engagement with the gay community.
In recent years, MHP has published ground-breaking research on the housing experiences of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) asylum seekers and co-sponsored the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Practice Brief, ‘Providing Housing Services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Customers’. It also runs what is believed to be the only service of its kind in Europe for gay and bi men escaping domestic violence and abuse, which was a finalist in the Guardian Public Services Awards in 2011. MHP was also a finalist in the European Diversity Award last year, in recognition of the marketing of its affordable home ownership products to the gay community.
Bill Payne comments: “I am thrilled and proud for MHP to have done so well in the Workplace Equality Index, and very honoured to be recognised by Stonewall in this way. But it’s really an award for the gay staff at MHP, and the other terrific colleagues that I worked with. METRO, MHP’s staff network group, provided a great model for the way that employers can work with their staff to understand the issues facing specific groups, and improve their business and services as a result. I’ve learned from them, and so has MHP.”
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive remarks: “We are very pleased to recognise Bill Payne’s commitment and achievements, which have brought MHP to a leading position in the housing sector. Bill has provided real leadership and inspiration not just to lesbian, gay and bisexual staff, but to everyone committed to delivering the very best quality service to all of MHP’s customers.’
Pamela Sinnott, Chair of METRO, MHP’s LGB staff group adds: “We’re delighted by this news, which recognises the work staff have done with MHP, to improve the work environment for LGBT people and ensure awareness and responsiveness to the needs of our LBGT customers. Bill is an inspirational leader, and has contributed enormously to making MHP a great place to work. We’re very proud of his personal achievement, and for the unfailing support he has always shown.”