Laura Sharman 16 August 2016

Council to adopt gender neutral title on forms

Oxford City Council has approved plans to add the gender neutral title ‘Mx’ to official forms in order to become more inclusive.

The council will now use the term alongside the more traditional titles of Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms on council forms and databases where possible.

The recommendation was made in a report by the council’s Equality and Diversity Review Group, which explored how the council can become more diverse and inclusive.

The review found that the council’s LGBT workforce was ‘very small’ with staff reluctant to disclose their sexuality.

It also found that while the council has its largest ever BME workforce, the majority of these staff members are in lower wage jobs and ‘almost non-existent’ in senior roles.

In the report’s foreword, cllr Tom Hayes, chair of the Equality and Diversity Review Group, wrote: ‘Clearly the council needs to build confidence in the monitoring that it does. Otherwise employees will go on declining to disclose and the council will keep on facing under-reporting.

‘In particular, the council can take practical steps to build a workplace that’s friendlier to transgender employees, and how we gather together personal information on employees is central to that.’

Its other recommendations included the council setting targets for increasing disclosure rates regarding sexual orientation, disability and ethnicity, and for Diversity Champions to be appointed at senior levels to help embed equality in the workplace.

Brighton and Hove City Council become the first local authority to use the title MX on its forms back in 2013.

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