All state employees to be asked about sexuality and religion, and 'monitored'
Martin Beckford inform us that under the new Equality Duty, public sector bodies are required to ‘eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation’ on grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation. So the Government is to press ahead with the statutory requirement upon 27,000 public bodies to provide detailed breakdown of the extent to which they are complying with ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’ agendas.
Any organisation employing more than 150 people – that’s all Whitehall departments, councils, hospitals and schools – will be obliged to provide details of how many people from minority groups they employ, in addition to the salary details of millions of employees in order that league tables may be drawn up to establish which organisations are failing to close the gap between male and female remuneration and delaying the end of ‘occupational segregation’.
He also informs us:
In order to obtain accurate information, staff will be asked to fill in questionnaires stating whether or not they are homosexual or in the process of changing gender; what religion they adhere to; and what disabilities they have.The questions are not compulsory, but they will be made under the guise of protecting employees from bullying.
So it’s ‘health and safety’.
And that will be sufficient to persuade many employees to disclose such personal information, or for employers to gently coerce them into doing so.
Perhaps most concerningly, we are informed that the data will not be assessed by watchdogs or the Government. ‘Instead, the individuals and voluntary bodies of David Cameron’s much-vaunted Big Society will be expected to scrutinise the data in order to root out discrimination.’
Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister, said in a Written Ministerial Statement:
The Equality Duty brings to an end the era of Government-inspired bureaucratic targets and shifts power to local people. The community, not Whitehall, will be in the front line for holding public bodies to account.Right.
So sensitive information about millions of individuals is to be entrusted to the churches, charities, gurdwaras, mosques, and the amateur stalwarts of society.
If you’re a gay Muslim doctor/nurse/teacher/policeman, fearful of the ‘community’ repercussions of coming out, it appears that ‘Big Society’ volunteers down your local mosque will soon be able to ‘out’ you.
Doubtless the Data Protection Act is subordinate to sharia.
Astonishingly, in order to counter those who might prefer to exercise their right to silence, guidance published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission tells public bodies they ‘must do all they can to obtain accurate data on the make-up of their staff despite fears over intrusion, preferably through “routine monitoring”.’
This will then provide ‘an indication of likely representation on sexual orientation and religion and belief’.
That is positively Orwellian.
If you happen to walk mincingly, dress in purple or read books with a spiritual theme, you’ll be routinely monitored by Big Brother.
The EHRC concedes that ‘asking people whether or not they are homosexual leads to low response levels or inaccurate data, which is partly why the Office for National Statistics is not posing the question in this year’s Census.’
Please note: ‘…on this year’s census’.
These questions will, as sure as night follows day, eventually become mandatory.
Which brings His Grace back to the ‘MIND YOUR OWN’ census campaign.
With the realisation that the elderly and infirm in care homes are already asked personal questions about their sexuality, it really is time to protest against this level of data collection and tell the Government to ‘Mind Your Own *%$#@!! Business’.
The 2011 Census gives a perfect opportunity.
IN 2001, more than 4 million left the question blank. That was not a protest: to demur is to grant benign assent to being asked. On the (presently) optional religion question, we ought to tick ‘Other’ and fill in the space with ‘Mind Your Own’ (see the census campaign on Facebook).
If, as the EHRC observe, ‘asking people whether or not they are homosexual leads to low response levels or inaccurate data’, then a fortiori will asking people about their religious beliefs.
Dominic Raab, Conservative MP for Esher and Walton, said: “These regulations, inherited from Labour, require 27,000 schools, police forces and councils to audit their staff annually - checking their age, disability, sex changes, pregnancy, race, religion, other beliefs, gender and sexual orientation. They will impose a massive cost as the public sector is trying to make efficiency savings. And forcing employers to audit their staff to check social quotas is Orwellian – a step back for those who believe an individual should be judged on merit, not tick-box criteria.”
Curious, is it not, that the Coalition has not simply repealed the legislation.
Parliament is not bound by its predecessor: it remains omnipotent to amend or repeal any statutory instrument.
Or is the truth that the UK Government Database is simply feeding the EU Data-Beast?
For the true provenance of our equality legislation and diversity targets is Brussels via Strasbourg.
And, sadly, only 41 of our elected representatives believe the UK Parliament to be sovereign over that parliament and court.