Wigan health boss named in LGBTQ+ role model list

Professor Craig Harris
Professor Craig Harris

A Wigan health boss has spoken of his feelings of pride after being named in a list of public sector LGBTQ+ role models.

Professor Craig Harris, the managing director of Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was included in the 30-strong group of influential and important executive figures in the OUTstanding lists.

Professor Craig Harris

Professor Craig Harris

Professor Harris, from Goose Green, features in the public sector list alongside other top brass from the NHS, United Nations leaders and officers for government departments and an array of not-for-profit organisations.

Professor Harris’ commendation says he is “working tirelessly to promote LGBT+ inclusion in and beyond his role” and highlights his work on a national pilot to support the health of transgender people, his coaching for talented LGBT+ people and his creation of a scheme to indicate committed allies.

He indicated his delight at making it onto the prestigious list and spoke of why he thinks high-profile recognition of LGBTQ+ people remains important.

Professor Harris, 41, said: “I feel very privileged and humbled to be included with some very esteemed colleagues across the public sector.

“This is something I’ve always tried to do.

“I’m an openly gay chief executive in the NHS and I know some of the struggles when you are coming through what can be quite a traditional route.

“The NHS is amazing but there aren’t that many openly gay people in chief executive roles.

“I’ve always tried to promote acceptance, talking about inclusivity not exclusivity and celebrating diversity in the workplace, making sure we give everybody a full opportunity regardless of race, colour, ethnicity or sexual preference.

“I’ve done these things not because I want to be a role model or I think it looks good but because it’s the right thing to do.

“I think the list is important and helpful to show there are people in very senior roles to people who have struggled and think they will never make it or don’t have opportunities for promotion or career development because they are an openly gay man or woman.

“Seeing us in our senior roles might give an extra boost to their confidence.”

Professor Harris says he has already received a large number of compliments on social media and from his colleagues at the CCG since the news of his inclusion in the list broke.

The brief account of his work also discusses how he champions LGBTQ+ inclusion in his role as a presiding justice in the magistrates’ courts, supports Wigan Pride including sponsoring the festival as the owner of an LGBTQ+ salon in the town and chairs the Survivors Manchester charity.

View the complete list at www.out-standing.org/nominations/30-lgbt-public-sector-executives-2019/