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Article re GEO/EHRC inaction enforcing protected characteristics

(25 Posts)
LeftHandDown Fri 06-Mar-20 20:26:00

Article by Ann Sinnot looking at inaction by GEO/EHRC, who have also failed to respond to questions

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LeftHandDown Fri 06-Mar-20 20:28:21

Try again

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HermioneWeasley Fri 06-Mar-20 20:31:08


Languishingfemale Fri 06-Mar-20 20:39:46

Excellent - highlights a major legal flaw and shocking behaviour by the EHRC & the GEO.

LeftHandDown Fri 06-Mar-20 20:48:55

Doesn't it just. Talk about policy capture, when government agencies are colluding in obscuring and eroding women's rights.

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Aesopfable Fri 06-Mar-20 22:06:00

As she has been raised it with both organisations, can Ann Sinot now ask an MP to refer them to the parliamentary ombudsman?

MrsSnippyPants Fri 06-Mar-20 22:17:26

This has been my experience with the GEO too; they misquote the law and turn every question about the rights of women and girls into an answer centring 'trans' rights.

Thelnebriati Fri 06-Mar-20 22:49:02

Still happening despite a lengthy inquiry, which concluded it shouldn't be up to individuals to challenge organisations that break the law.

Useful section on single sex spaces and services;

''Commissioning and procurement of single-sex and specialist services''
''163.The first area of concern we felt was relevant to enforcement was that public authority commissioners appeared to be commissioning gender-neutral services in breach of the public sector equality duty.''

''164.*This did not seem to be a problem with the clarity of the law. More than a decade ago the decision in R (Kaur & Shah) v London Borough of Ealing found that the (then) race equality duty “may only be met by specialist services from a specialist source.” The same principle applies to the provision of single-sex services,* as is made clear in the EHRC Technical Guidance on the public sector equality duty:''

''The [Equality] Act recognises that, in certain circumstances, substantive equality will only be achieved if people with different protected characteristics can be treated differently, for example, to reflect their particular needs.''

''The Guidance goes on to say that the duties will almost always be relevant when public services are being commissioned, and further dedicated guidance has been produced on how the duties should be used in procurement by public authorities.''

LeftHandDown Fri 06-Mar-20 23:28:07

Aesop haha I can't see Ann's MP doing anything to help her; he's not averse to getting on board with bending equality law. Though there's always the possibility she may be able to find another.

Mrs Snippy thanks for the link, I'd forgotten about reading your fab letters.

Inebriati it shouldn't be up to individuals to challenge companies and ensure compliance, but I'm starting to think the government introduced the EqAct as window dressing and because it looked the right thing to do politically, it doesn't appear to play a part in their considerations when enabling men to enter women's prisons etc.

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JessicaLangoustine Fri 06-Mar-20 23:40:05

The EHRC chair is heavily involved with Stonewall. He chaired Stonewall for many years, and he and his law firm are lauded yearly as exemplars of Stonewall values. The circumstances around why he was chosen to chair the organisation are a little strange, IIRC.

LeftHandDown Sat 07-Mar-20 00:20:55

David Isaac is also a director of Big Lottery and leads a team that advises the BBC; a man with fingers in many pies and absolutely no conflict of interest.

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Sanddancer99 Sat 07-Mar-20 00:23:55

They are also in multiple breach of the Seven Principles of Public Life (Nolan Principles) eg:
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

stumbledin Sat 07-Mar-20 00:30:19

Thanks for posting.

Not only does it explain the EA it does it simply and in a straightforward way.

It should be sent to all womens organistions, and maybe even more importantly to every funder and local council.

It like the GEO already think Stonewall are going to get their way and sex will no longer be a protected characteristic.

LeftHandDown Sat 07-Mar-20 00:42:27

Seems Harriet Harman among others had concerns re Isaac taking over as chair of EHRC. The gov pays him millions for advice in his role at Pinsent Mason , but the government dept he heads (EHRC) can't ensure the EqA is consistent or accurately interpreted by it's own staff, ensuring the GEO and wider government departments are I'll advised, that before anything get out of government departments.

Either £500 per day isn't sufficient to ensure compliance and clarity of the EHRC, or maybe David had an alternate agenda to put in place when applying for the EHRC role.

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Fallingirl Sat 07-Mar-20 03:55:49

Can anyone complain to the EHRC and GEO?

It seems this absurd breaking of their own laws will carry on unabated, until we make it enough of a problem for them.
Who complained back in 2018, and how did they do it?

Aesopfable Sat 07-Mar-20 06:59:35

Can anyone complain to the EHRC and GEO?

They will have their own complaints procedures that you must follow but once you have done that you can ask an MP to refer them to the parliamentary ombudsman. We need this to happen.

DariaWalker Sat 07-Mar-20 07:40:00

I copied this from Spinster. I also checked the content and it is accurate.

It quotes from the Hansard Report of one of the debates that happened in the House of Lords at the time the Gender Recognition Bill was being prepared. I think it is important because it explains a lot.

It explains that the issue of a GRC has relevance only in relation to certain laws and is not relevant in wider private society.

Lord Carlile: "When it says in the Bill "for all purposes", it means for all legislative purposes."

Lord Filkin: "I sought to set out in Committee that the Bill's basic principle is that the issue of a gender recognition certificate by the judicial panel would mean that a person's gender becomes for all purposes in law the acquired gender.

Lord Filkin: "The intent of the Bill is that if gender has been changed and a person is recognised in law as a woman as a result of the process, they are a woman for all legal purposes relevant in other legislation."

Lord Campbell of Alloway My Lords, does the Minister mean for all purposes recognised by law?

Lord Filkin My Lords, I do exactly, yes.

Lord Filkin: "The noble Baroness also asked whether people who refuse to call a gender-changed man by the changed gender would
be open to action. No, they would not, unless they had information about the person's gender history in an official capacity and they disclosed it otherwise than is allowed for by Clause 21."

Baroness Hollis: "Clause 21 does not involve the criminalisation of activity that is purely in the private sphere. That would not be appropriate."

[Clause 21 became Section 22 in the final Act that passed in to law.]

HermioneWeasley Sat 07-Mar-20 08:36:24

That’s interesting @Daria

So it was never intended to give rise to a category of hate crime

DariaWalker Sat 07-Mar-20 08:44:04

It would seem so, Hermione. From what I have been reading and learning, this notion of "deadnaming" and "misgendering" and all that other stuff is an irrelevance for all of us. It is only those who have knowledge of someone's transsexual status in the course of their formal official capacity, which presumably means in employment, who are required to maintain confidentiality.

Sanddancer99 Sat 07-Mar-20 15:20:06

Ann Sinnot correctly points out that both the GEO and EHRC guidance have deviated from the original intent of the EA with respect to single sex spaces. The Act states that the exceptions can be applied if they are a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim. There is nothing in the Act itself about “exceptional circumstances” or “case by case.” These requirements were introduced into the statutory code (and underlying EHRC guidance) apparently as a result of pressure from the trans lobby. There isn’t a single example of the appropriate use of the exceptions in the statutory code (but there is an example of inappropriate use).

A regulator placing more onerous requirements in regulatory codes and guidance, over and above the requirements of the law, is known as “gold-plating” the law. The government usually strongly disapproves of gold-plating, but it’s clear that EHRC is allowed to get away with it when it undermines the rights of women and girls to safety, dignity and privacy.

The most egregious example of this to date is the draft EHRC guidance on transgender inclusion in schools. At the time that this was leaked, EHRC had been working on this document for about two years and considered it to be close to the final version. There wasn’t a single example in the guidance on the proportionate use of the exceptions; in fact the guidance gives the onerous impression that the exceptions can never be used. The guidance gives scant regard to safeguarding principles, and the safety, dignity and privacy of girls. It even encourages schools to break the law and introduce mixed sex toilets, in contravention of the regulations which require single sex toilets. In addition, EHRC have used their incompetent record keeping as a pretext for refusing a perfectly reasonable FOI request about the organisations they involved during the production of this guidance. EHRC’s excuse was that it would take too long to find information that any competent regulator would have at their finger tips. This is just another example of EHRC’s lack of transparency and accountability, and it is hard to see how this is consistent with the Nolan Principles.

We also know that EHRC have approved the policies of Girl Guiding and the Youth Hostel Association which allow women and girls to share toilets, washing facilities, dormitories and tents with transwomen (and transgirls). In the case of Girlguiding, this is without the consent of the parents.

To all intents and purposes EHRC is pursuing a strategy to implement Stonewall Law by ignoring the exceptions, attempting to write them out of regulatory guidance, or make the requirements so onerous that the exceptions are impossible to implement. The government needs to wake up to the fact that EHRC has been totally captured by the trans lobby, that EHRC’s behaviour is serious dereliction of its statutory duty to women and girls, and it amounts to gross regulatory malpractice. The public reaction to the Labour Party’s atrocious trans pledge should also give a clear signal to the government that the public is not prepared to be gaslighted by GEO, EHRC or anyone else.

DariaWalker Sat 07-Mar-20 15:50:58

Standing ovation Sanddancer99 smile

Languishingfemale Sat 07-Mar-20 18:34:10

Brilliant post Sanddancer99 . Thank you flowers

ScrimpshawTheSecond Sat 07-Mar-20 18:39:21

star Sanddancer.

AuntieRae Sat 07-Mar-20 18:47:30

@LeftHandDown interested to see you mention Pinsent Mason. We recently had some Unconscious Bias training at work led by Brook Graham which is part of Pinsent Mason. When I queried why sex wasn't mentioned as a characteristic which may be subject of bias (gender identity, sexual orientation & sexual identity?? were), the Genderbread person was mentioned as a source of more info.

LeftHandDown Sat 07-Mar-20 21:25:04

AuntieRae that's interesting. So David Isaac worked for Stonewall, moved to the EHRC and has failed to ensure the EqA is correctly understood and he's also a partner of a sector of Pinsent Masons. Pinsent Masons also has a diversity and consulting arm (Brook Graham) whose clients include multi national companies.

Pinsent Masons, is unsurprisingly a Stonewall top trans employee for 2020.

One of the courses Brook Graham/Pinsent Masons run is called Carrying out effective investigation into equality related complaints

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