LGBT History Month UK
Claiming our history, celebrating our present and creating our future!
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Citizens Advice Bureau logo

Citizens Advice proudly supports LGBT History Month 2008

It was both an honour and a privilege to witness the pre-launch of LGBT History Month 2008 at the Royal Courts of Justice - a poignant backdrop in view of the relatively recent legal protection available to the LGBT community.

There is a greater need for people to know what their rights are and to ensure if they are discriminated against that they receive appropriate advice.

We have already done some work to raise awareness of the sexual orientation regulations to both employers, to the LGBT community and also provide advice on discrimination on the grounds of someone’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It’s been a great start and we want to do more.

David Harker

For us working in partnership with the LGBT community to improve advice services and influence public policy on issues affecting the LGBT community is central to our approach. CAB is proud to be a partner of LGBT History Month 2008 and I’m certain we can do much to raise awareness of and champion the LGBT community and their access to rights.

David Harker
Chief Executive
Citizens Advice

Press coverage:

The CAB service: Fair, Accessible, Inclusive, Relevant.

The CAB service is here for everyone – whoever you are, whatever the problem. That’s one of the main driving forces in how we better develop and deliver our services to everyone, whether it’s setting up outreach sessions in prisons, providing information in community languages or proactively reaching out to people from minority faith groups and the LGBT community.

Below are some of the ways the CAB service has committed itself to challenging discrimination and how it has worked towards improving its status as a LGBT friendly employer and an organisation where LGBT staff and volunteers feel supported.

Citizens Advice service equality and diversity strategy

Fair, Accessible Inclusive Relevant (FAIR) is the equality and diversity strategy for Citizens Advice and bureaux, 2004-2008. It sets out our aims to become a first point of contact for discrimination advice in partnership with others, and to make equality and diversity part of all we do; it defines what we mean by equality and diversity; and it includes our policy statement.

Citizens Advice publishes its equality scheme

The equality scheme says how Citizens Advice, as a national body, will put the FAIR strategy into practice. It consists of our objectives, a business plan outlining priority actions, and a set of baseline data which we will use to measure progress. It covers race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation and age equality.

Citizens Advice climbs 2008 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index

This year the Citizens Advice service scored in the upper quartile of the 2008

Stonewall Workplace Equality Index of the top 100 gay-friendly employers – coming 24th, up from 42nd in 2007. Citizens Advice is the 2nd top performing third sector organisation out of the 13 featured in the Index. We continue to work towards further improvement in our performance.

Improving our volunteering opportunities to LGBT community

The CAB service believes volunteering should be for everyone and is working towards letting everyone know this. As part of the Majority Matters project a pilot LGBT friendly volunteer programme was explored.

If you are interested in volunteering opportunities within the CAB service please visit:

Village Citizens Advice Bureau

CAB VIllage logo

Since its official launch in 1999, the Village CAB has been providing a specialist email advice service to the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual community. Priority is given to enquiries where a persons’ sexual orientation and/or gender identity is a significant issue in the enquiry. The service was developed by staff and volunteers and is delivered by trained Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual advisers.

"The Village Citizens Advice Bureau is run and staffed by Lesbian and Gay CAB workers from the North West. We aim to both provide expert advice relevant to lesbian, gay and bisexual people's lives, and to campaign for better services for our community, and to end discrimination against lesbian and gay people. This is our tenth year. We provide advice, training, and now research."

Tom Togher
Chief Officer
www.thevillage.org.uk

Civil Partnerships report: Another Year On

The report documents findings from a research project commissioned by the Village CAB and funded by Citizens Advice, which explored the advice and information needs of same-sex couples considering a civil partnership.

As part of the Village CAB work on assessing the impact of civil partnerships they have a one page survey that they would like visitors to complete. For more information and to take part in the survey:

Press coverage:

Citizens Advice Self-Organised Network Groups (SONGs)

Citizens Advice encourages and supports staff who would like to form network groups if they feel it would be a benefit to them. The National Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Group (NLGBG) is one of four SONGs within Citizens Advice. The group has been operating for over 20 years. It provides support and networking for volunteers and paid staff in bureau and Citizens Advice and participates in the governance and promotion of the CAB service. 

members of the NLGBG demonstrating

“Our NLGBG is open to everyone that works or volunteers for the Citizens Advice service, including bureau and in Citizens Advice. We aim to provide a voice for LGB people within the service, to support them and to ensure that the service remains committed to meeting the needs to the LGB community.

We hold regular national meetings for our members. These meetings provide us with an opportunity to raise concerns or issues that effect LGB workers in the service and more widely, share skills and experiences, learn from key speakers, contribute our voices to debates within the CAB service and to meet and socialise with one another over a meal and a drink.

 

Members are also involved in networking with other organisations to encourage future partnership working, and we also play a key role with the other SONGs in Citizens Advice consultations on strengthening Equality and Diversity policy and practices. Finally 2008 is our groups’ 20th year!”

Dawn Draper, Co-Chair of the NLGBG

“I'm very proud of the work that the NLGBG has done both for Citizens Advice and the whole CAB service. I think that the fact that the NLGBG exists sends out a clear message that we are committed to providing support for LGB workers and also to making sure that LGB clients can access advice relevant to them. I think the group has reached the point - and the size - where the meetings not only deal with business matters and planning activities very well, but also provide a really good opportunity for members to meet and share experiences in a supportive environment”.

Matt Bradbury, NLGBG member

“Members of the NLGB Group are approachable, supportive and they adhere to confidentiality. They actively promote the CAB service as a whole at external events such as Pride. The group provides support and a voice for LGB people within the Citizens Advice Service.”

Bureau administrator, NLGBG member

Participating in Pride events

Every year the CAB service participates in Pride events across England and Wales; raising awareness of LGBT peoples’ rights, access to services and providing information on LGBT issues. EuroPride 2006 saw Citizens Advice staff and the National Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Group took celebrations up a notch by having a float for the first time in the parade!

Citizens Advice float at Pride

“Every year we represent the CAB service at Pride events around the UK. This sends out an important message to LGB people that the service welcomes them as clients and volunteers.”

Dawn Draper, Co-Chair of NLGBG

Press coverage

Majority Matters programme

The Majority Matters programme consisted of two DTI-funded (now BERR) projects, which related to employment discrimination on the grounds of Sexual Orientation, Religion or Belief (SORB) and Age. The SORB project aimed to support the employment equality (sexual orientation and religion or belief) regulations in the run up to the establishment of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. It was implemented at national level by Citizens Advice and through seven pilot bureaux. The Age project aimed to enhance the capability of bureau advisers to deal with age discrimination and was implemented at national level only. SORB and age equality organisations provided specialist knowledge and input into both projects.

Public information

Adviceguide provides information on your rights, including benefits, housing, family matters and employment, and on debt, consumer and legal issues.Thepublic information service has been updated to include information on the sexual orientation regulations and on the legal differences between civil partnerships and living together.

For a more information about Citizens Advice and our work visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk

 

 
© LGBT History Month UK