Spotlight on … our LGBT Group

Posted on 14th Feb 2022

To mark LGBT History Month, as part of our latest spotlight on series, we catch up with Reporter Emma Maidens who facilitates the work of SCRA’s LGBT Group …

Tell us about SCRA’s LGBT Group? Why do you have a group?
The group met for the first time back in December 2017, which feels like a long time ago! It was started partly to ensure that SCRA is meeting its obligations under the Equality Act (2010) but our ultimate aim is for SCRA to be a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT+ people. This means all staff, children and families, professionals and partners.

As an organisation SCRA is committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting the practice of equality, diversity and inclusion in our workforce, in our operational service delivery and in the discharging of our statutory functions. The LGBT Group intersects with this wider inclusion and diversity work.

Who are the members?
We currently have a core group of LGBT Inclusion Ambassadors and several other colleagues who attend when they can. Staff come from different Localities and teams and hold a variety of roles in the organisation. We are keen to get more staff involved and have launched a drive to encourage more colleagues from the LGBT+ community or LGBT+ allies to join us.

What kind of work do you do?
We have focused mainly on awareness raising and training to date. For example we took part in LGBT Youth Scotland’s charter programme and successfully achieved the LGBT Youth Scotland Foundation Charter in December 2019.

We have also been working to improve our equality monitoring processes, to ensure we have data regarding LGBT+ children and young people in the Hearings System and our own staff. We run an annual equalities monitoring exercise for staff and members of our group are heavily involved in this work.

We recent developed an inclusive language guide for staff, which was launched during National Inclusion Week in September 2021. The guide outlines how to use LGBTQ+ inclusive language to avoid biases, slang or expressions that exclude certain groups based on gender identity or sexual orientation

In addition, we regularly attend external training, conferences and webinars to enhance our own knowledge and with a view to sharing that wider via the group’s work.

Is it making a difference?
I think so. We reached a lot of staff by doing training as part of our Charter work so I hope we were able to raise awareness of LGBT+ equality. Obviously there was a slight lull in our work during the pandemic, but we have some really good feedback about our recent inclusive language guide, that this was an accessible and helpful resource.

As an Inclusion Ambassador I’ve been contacted directly by individual staff. On several occasions this was to discuss the participation of trans young people at their Hearings and on another to suggest some resources for a colleague who was supporting a friend who had recently come out.

Do you engage with LGBT+ people?
We created a survey for LGBT+ staff which helped identify areas we might want to target. We have also consulted LGBT+ young people through Our Hearings, Our Voice. We held two face to face workshops with them and we continue to keep in touch with them.

What is the group working on now/next?
We have recently created a page on our staff intranet to celebrate LGBT History Month and will be celebrating/fundraising for Purple Friday by participating in the Torch Relay.

Going forward this year we hope to do some work on trans and non-binary awareness and to develop our page on our staff intranet with lots of additional resources. We’re also hoping to undertake the next level of the LGBT Youth Scotland Charter.

If I had ideas/feedback, how do I get in touch?
Please email me as I would love to hear from you.

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