North Ayrshire Women’s Aid received their Bronze during the summer of 2014. The organisation invited young people from Voices Unheard to visit and review the service and the young people noted that North Ayrshire Women’s Aid was very reflective and honest about their journey. They recognised and understood how they needed to improve at the start of the process; this is a really important starting point for any charter client.
Their commitment to the process was evident in the training that they organised for staff. 98% of staff received LGBT inclusion training, with transgender specific information, delivered over two days. In addition to this, after review and feedback, their equality and diversity policy goes beyond the requirements within the Equality Act 2010 and specifically mentions gender identity and gender expression.
Although ensuring that an organisation’s own resources are LGBT inclusive is a silver level standard, North Ayrshire Women’s Aid felt that this was an important part of presenting themselves to potential service users. They recognised that they did not have the budget to re-print existing resources so they allotted staff time to add LGBT inclusive stickers to their flyers as an interim solution. They received their award at their AGM sharing information with their board, and invited local press, stakeholders and local organisations to find out more about the LGBT Charter of Rights programme and their progress.
As part of continuing actions highlighted as a result of undertaking the LGBT Charter of Rights process, the Estates Department within the Operations Directorate is now working towards the Bronze Charter Mark. This department continues to be very communicative with LGBT Youth Scotland throughout this process. One example is in linking with LGBT community groups; inviting staff and service users from the Dumfries & Galloway LGBT Centre to comment on designs for the new hospital. This engagement was so successful that they then invited other equalities groups to comment on the plans as well.
Greyfriar’s Medical Practice was the first GP surgery to achieve the LGBT Charter of Rights. To begin their work towards the award, they undertook a survey with LGBT people to discuss their experiences of primary care, which was then used to inform their action plan and guide their actions throughout. The timing of this is important as it ensured that they did not make assumptions about needs when beginning and that information was not gathered too late in the process to influence change.
In order to ensure that LGBT perspectives were part of discussions within the patient forum, a service user from Dumfries & Galloway LGBT Centre was invited to take part and to act as a formal link between the forum and the centre.
The practice reviewed staff and locum policies to ensure that they met the standards set out in the Equality Act 2010 and as a result, amongst other changes, they removed unnecessarily gendered wording in the staff uniform policy.
Dumfries and Galloway Health and Wellbeing (Public Health Department) was the first organisation to achieve the Gold standard Charter Mark. To begin the process, the department’s large champions group created a strong action plan employing a traffic light system that indicated progress on each step. This form has since been shared with other directorates, organisations and institutions. Many of their good practice examples were awareness raising for staff on LGBT identities, and outreach activities with LGBT community members to engage with health issues.
The department worked with the workforce directorate to update policies and created a draft transgender policy and equal opportunities policy. They also developed a briefing paper for all NHS staff on the importance of engaging with LGBT people and how to monitor patient sexual orientation and gender identity.
Gen Silent, a film on LGBT people’s experiences of aging and entering into the care sector, was screened three times within health venues during lunchtime. This was attended by staff within the public health department as well as other departments.
They worked closely with the Dumfries & Galloway LGBT Centre to engage LGBT people in health initiatives: conducted Keep Well checks at the centre for LGBT people who may not regularly engage with healthcare, spoke to the transgender group on general health issues and the Keep Well initiative, and supplied pedometers to the LGBT Centre’s staff and service users. The department supported the centre through the Bronze level of Healthy Working Lives and they have now progressed onto the silver.
Annadale and Eskdale Community Learning and Development had a strong focus on outreach to ensure that they understood the needs of LGBT people and in raising awareness for others of LGBT identities. As part of a large community survey designed for people living in Moffat, they included robust monitoring information in order that the specific experiences of LGBT and other groups could be analysed. When the survey was analysed, this meant that they had a better understanding of what a percentage of the LGBT population ‘looked’ like and a better awareness of their needs within the community.
During LGBT History Month, the department ran topical quizzes in each of their community groups. As a result of introducing discussions on LGBT people as part of the quiz in a women’s community group, two members came out to them. The service then worked with the two service users to discuss any specific needs that they may have. By showing leadership in bringing LGBT identities into the group, they provided a message to members that it was safe to identify as LGB or T within that space.
In identifying gaps in health provision within the area, the department has funded Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) to undertake a health project for men who have sex with men (MSM). The steering group includes LGBT and health organisations. While developing the project, the department undertook a specific impact assessment and involved the centre and THT to share their knowledge and expertise.