Focus: Corporate Responsibility - Side by side

KPMG recently became the 100th member of lesbian and gay campaign group Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme, which promotes diversity in the workplace.

Dr Ashley Steel UK board member and sexual orientation sponsor, KPMG

I'm on the UK board and, as the sponsor for sexual orientation, I was approached to see if we'd like to join. Diversity Champions comes under our diversity and inclusion programme. At the simplest level, being able to announce to all our people that we are members of Stonewall sends a powerful message to everyone that it's OK to be gay or lesbian at KPMG.

Steve Frost is helping us a lot by putting us in touch with the other 99 organisations. The head of diversity and I regularly go out to talk to them. Stonewall also runs monthly networking groups. Last week, we sent someone from our own staff network for gay and lesbian people - it's called Breathe - to the group to see what the other networks are doing.

On a practical level, we are looking at all our employment policies and procedures to make sure they are not actively discriminating against anyone.

The Civil Partnership Act comes into force later this year and we're trying to get ahead of the game. Stonewall will work with our human resources people to make sure we understand the Act and that we're compliant.

- Stephen Frost, Diversity Champions programme manager, Stonewall

We approached KPMG because it employs a lot of people in Britain, and the City is not the most liberal working environment. A lot of lesbians and gay men who are still in the closet are not having a great time, and we want to send a clear message that they are valued.

We work with all the major investment banks, and they are now some of the best investors in Britain for gay people. Law firms have a way to go. Accountancy firms are in the middle, so KPMG was in a sector we wanted to target.

KPMG is also big graduate recruiter. We produce a recruitment guide and corporate index and we don't want it to lose corporate talent to its competitors.

I've found working with KPMG great. It's got a very good diversity manager, a very good senior sponsor, Ashley Steel - an out lesbian who's on the board - and also a very good head of the network group.

So at KPMG you've got the potential ingredients to make it positive for gay people to work there.

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