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Sturgeon insists Scottish Civil Servants comply with Stonewall’s Diversity Objectives or else!!

Controversial policies for the SG dictated by “Stonewall”

People are questioning the influence of “Stonewall” on Scotland’s civil service after it emerged that controversial policies have been introduced in alignment with Stonewall’s political aims. These include a compulsory “Diversity Objective” for all staff to make the Scottish Government “a more diverse and inclusive place to work”, training on “intersectionality” and “unconscious bias”, and the use of gender-neutral language.

The Civil Service is also included on Stonewall’s “Diversity Champions Index”.

Lobby groups

Transgender and non-binary policies have been revised with the collaboration of Stonewall Scotland and the Scottish Trans Alliance (STA). And guidance has been co-produced by controversial lobby group “Mermaids” for SG employees who have a child who is transitioning or who identifies as non-binary.

Politically impartial?

The Deputy Director for Public Affairs at The Christian Institute, said:

“The extent of Stonewall’s influence on the Civil Service is alarming, particularly given the controversial nature of some of its political aims. Stonewall’s stance on trans issues is strongly opposed by women’s organisations, medics and faith groups. Yet, the Civil Service appears to endorse it wholesale. How does this fit with the Service’s duty to remain politically impartial? Staff are encouraged to attend training sessions on “intersectionality” and “unconscious bias”. These controversial ideas are disputed in wider society. So it’s concerning that they are written into the training schedule for Civil Service employees. The compulsory “Diversity Objective” also raises questions. What happens to staff members who hold religious beliefs which differ from those championed by Stonewall? Are they marked down? This could constitute direct discrimination on the grounds of religious belief.”

The Civil Service response – Diversity Objective

“All staff have mandatory diversity objectives and those who participate in the network use this work as evidence of meeting their objective. Performance is assessed their line manager at their in year review and end year review.

Progress is also discussed at monthly conversations. We also set out on our performance appraisal intranet page guidance on diversity objectives for individuals including ‘support, participate and be an effective member of one of our staff diversity networks or committees.

The guidance for managers states that they should “ensure that staff who participate in our staff networks are recognized through the performance management process, ensuring that this activity supports the outcome that the Scottish Government is to become a more diverse and inclusive place to work”.

Training

An example of employee recognition in an appraisal might record: “A” is very aware of and committed to raising the profile of diversity issues. He is active on the committee of the LGBTI Allies network and has also:

• completed the Stonewall Allies Follow-up Training.
• participated in the Diversity Networks Workshop.
• attended an Intersectionality seminar.
• presented at a team meeting on diversity issues and circulated guidance material afterwards.
• attended an unconscious bias training event.

Gender-neutral language

policies have been updated to increase inclusion of gender identities and same-sex couples.

Paternity leave policy

The policy applies to all employees and a reference to ‘partner’ or ‘spouse’ includes same-sex partners and spouses. The policy now states: “Paternity leave is available to you where you are the father, partner or spouse of the child’s mother (or, in the case of adoption, you are the adopter’s spouse or partner); changed ‘adoptive father’ to ‘adoptive parent’.” ‘non-binary’ employees are enabled to use the title ‘Mx’.

Revised trans/non-binary policies

The project reviewed all intertwining aspects of trans and non-binary activity in the Scottish Government and produced six core projects:

A data set on staff experiences comprised from Stonewall questionnaires.

A revised HR policy on trans/non-binary for the Scottish Government (SG). It is intended that this policy is co-produced with key stakeholders (including but not limited to Stonewall Scotland).

Guidance for line managers underpinning the HR policy

Guidance for members of staff who have a child who is transitioning or who identifies as non-binary. The intention is for this to be co-produced by “Mermaid”, who specialise in advice to parents and families on trans/non-binary enquiries.

A communications and engagement plan to ensure knowledge of the policy and accompanying parental guidance is widespread throughout the organisation. The core aspect of this work will be developing a training offer for Scottish Government staff.

Frequently Asked Questions documents. These will be comprised of three brief and accessible documents: (1) for those who are transitioning within SG; (2) for colleagues; (3) for line managers on how best to support a trans/non-binary member of staff”.

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