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Gay-friendly employer award for MoD
The Ministry of Defence has been named most improved employer of the year in an annual list of the most gay-friendly organisations in the UK.
The MI5, the Army and the Royal Navy also featured in the report by Stonewall, the charity that campaigns for lesbian, gay and bisexual equal rights.
North East-based housing firm Gentoo was named the top gay-friendly employer, followed by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and The Co-operative.
Leicestershire County Council's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workers' Group won the award for employee network group of the year, and Andy Woodfield, head of international development consulting at PwC, was named senior champion of the year, while IBM was named global employer.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall's chief executive, said: "Gentoo and every single employer in the top 100 has performed remarkably this year as competition for a place on the list of gay-friendly employers has never been fiercer.
"This commitment from organisations - across 38 different industries - is changing the face of workplaces for the better for all staff, regardless of their sexual orientation."
Peter Walls, Gentoo's chief executive officer, said: "Winning this award is an amazing achievement. It truly is the people at Gentoo that make this business great and it is vital that everyone feels able to be themselves at work and give us all they've got. This award will motivate us to continue to find new ways of working towards our vision."
The Army was in Stonewall's top 100 for the first time, sharing 79th place with the Royal Navy, while the RAF was 108th.
Defence minister Anna Soubry said: "This is excellent news and reward for the hard work the department has made to create a positive working environment for its lesbian, gay and bisexual civilian employees.
"The MoD and the three services want to create a workforce that is drawn from the breadth of the society we defend, that gains strength from that society's range of knowledge, experience and talent and that welcomes, respects and values the unique contribution of every individual."
Lieutenant General James Everard, the Army's LGBT champion, said: "The fact that for the first time the Army has been recognised as one of Stonewell's top 100 LGB employers is evidence that we are gaining real momentum. The Army is a great place to work and our LGBT community can feel it with individuals thriving as they make their contribution to the team.
"The credit falls in large part to the LGBT Forum who have moved under dynamic leadership from a small welfare support group to a vibrant and productive organisation."