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Allies in Action: Elaine Radburn

This week, we’re celebrating the allies making the Civil Service a great place to work for LGBT+ people. Elaine works for the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. Here's what Elaine is doing do be a brilliant ally.

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By Elaine Radburn

Civil Service Allies Week

What’s your job role and where do you work?

I am a strategic communications manager in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

How long have you been an ally?

I’ve been an ally since April 2016, when I attended some Stonewall ally training and helped to set up our Ally Network here in MHCLG.

Why do you think it’s important to be an ally, and to have allies within an office?

An ally has a really important role in helping to create a workplace where everyone can bring their true self to work, whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex or asexual (LGBT+). You only have to read the latest research which highlights the shocking levels of hate crime and discrimination that LGBT+ people still face in Britain today.

Creating a great place to work makes good business sense too. Happy people are more productive. Fact!

What have you done to be a visible ally within your office or what do you plan to do?

On the purely practical, it can be tricky to stand out in a crowd and when you don’t work at a fixed desk so we wear LGBT+ ally lanyards here in MHCLG so we can be easily identified. I also set up an intranet page with details and contacts on our ally network. Another very useful thing to do is to include something about your networks in your staff welcome packs and on your staff induction session.

We have a super close working relationship with our LGBT network chair which I think contributes to our success and progression.

I try to blog regularly - It was National Hate Crime Awareness Week a few weeks ago, so I wrote about hate crime and the LGBT+ community.

Perhaps one of my proudest achievements to date is when we recently launched our transitioning at work policy, rather than just publish it on our intranet I invited in a friend, who is transitioning, to talk about her personal experiences to our SCS at their weekly Round Up with our Permanent Secretary. It was a very moving experience for all in the room and afterwards people said how impactful the session had been.

And then more generally I keep a keen eye out for new allies. We have lots more planned and these days we tend to be less tactical and more strategic about how we go about things.

Civil Service Allies Week is a chance to highlight the important role of LGBT+ allies in the Civil Service.

Find out more about Allies Week