Social work

Social Work England swaps Stonewall’s LGBTQ+ staff inclusion scheme for an alternative

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Social Work England left a Stonewall scheme designed to increase inclusion for LGBTQ+ staff in favor of an alternative training scheme.

The regulator said he was joining the LGBT Foundation’s charity training academy, on the grounds that it was better suited to implement its equality, diversity and inclusion action plan, published in February, as the Stonewall Diversity Champions program.

The action plan commits the organization to developing its culture as an “inclusive organization that attracts, develops, supports, retains and fully engages diverse talent”. This includes benchmarking against other organizations, assessing inequities in areas such as grievances, discipline and promotions, and striving to diversify recruitment.

Goals of the Stonewall Diet

Stonewall’s Diversity Champions program is designed to make workplaces more inclusive for LGBTQ+ staff and offers advice to member organisations, an annual series of webinars and seminars, networking opportunities, discounted access other training courses and the possibility of revising internal policies.

Social Work England announced that it had joined the program in February 2021, as an example of action it had taken to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Membership was also mentioned on a webpage – last updated in May 2021 – designed to attract people to work for the organization. It described Diversity Champions as a program that “ensures workplaces are inclusive of LGBTQ+ staff without exception.”

However, this system was not mentioned in the regulator’s action plan, given its objective of developing an inclusive organization. He cited his use of the Talent Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Tool (TIDE), through his membership in another organization, the Employers’ Network for Equality and Inclusion ( ENEI), which he joined in 2020.

Social Work England said it would use TIDE to identify areas for improvement across all areas of equality, diversity and inclusion at work.

In an emailed response in July to a social worker who had inquired about Social Work England’s membership of the Stonewall scheme, Social Work England said it would leave the Diversity Champions in August.

LGBT Foundation Offer

LGBTQ social workers

Photo credit: Adobe Stock/ nadia_snopek

The email, seen by Community Care, said the LGBT Foundation program better complements the resources available through its work with ENEI.

The academy currently offers a unique set of trainings for staff on topics such as equality legislation, understanding inequalities and barriers faced by LGBTQ+ people in the workplace and recognizing discrimination, with the possibility for staff to acquire accreditation afterwards. These “champions” will then have access to ongoing training and networking opportunities.

This ‘champions package’ costs £500. Social Work England has not confirmed the amount paid for membership of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme, although other members said they pay £3,000 including VAT per year.

“As an employer, we aim to grow our culture as an inclusive organization that attracts, develops, supports, retains and fully engages diverse talent,” said Sarah Blackmore, executive director of professional practice and engagement. External from Social Work England.

“We annually review decisions about our membership in external programs and tools to help us with this task. We look forward to working with the LGBT Foundation Training Academy which we believe will serve our immediate needs well.

Commenting on Social Work England’s departure, a Stonewall spokesperson said members “come and go based on what’s best for them at the time”.

“Our Diversity Champions program continues to grow, and we are proud to work with hundreds of organizations to help create work environments where all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people can thrive. . »

Publicized departures

Despite its growth, a number of leading public bodies have left diversity champions in the last 18 months, including the BBC, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Department of Education and the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.

Although these organizations have made limited comments about their reasons for leaving, the departures have been linked in the media to Stonewall’s standing in the public debate about gender identity and sex. His view that trans people should always be able to self-determine their gender and access services and recognition on that basis is contradicted by those who believe that this, in certain circumstances, would bring violation of women’s gender rights. , for example, access to single-sex spaces.

Social Work England said leaving the Diversity Champions was a business decision, unrelated to these issues.

Questions about consulting with LGBTQ+ groups

In response to the change, Leanne Taylor, a lecturer in social work and mental health law at the University of Kent and leader of its Trans Awareness in Social Work project, expressed concern that she and d other trans and non-binary social workers were not informed of the change in advance.

“I’m one of a small group of trans and non-binary people who also do social work and we were surprised none of us knew about it,” she said.

“I would like to know how they have discussed this with representative service user groups, as they regulate who should work with them.”

Social Work England declined to say whether it had discussed the move with LGBTQ+ social workers or service user groups.

Regarding the move to the LGBT Foundation, Taylor said, “I don’t know if it would be that good until we know more about them. I think a band as well known and experienced as Stonewall will always have the upper hand.

Another social work scholar specializing in LGBTQ+ issues said, “Because [Stonewall is] the largest charity supporting LGBTQ people, and there are so many people engaging with it, and they have so much more infrastructure, it’s likely that the support package they will provide will be greater.

However, the academic described the foundation as “working to support the whole LGBTQ community, including trans people”, adding that when it came to public bodies like Social Work England, “it is important think about LGBT rights across the LGBT spectrum.” people”.