And your sexual tastes?

January 17, 2011 1:07 PM

It’s bad enough filling in those time-wasting forms designed by overpaid bureaucrats that want to know your gender and race, but now they’ve added another level of personal enquiry. They want to know your sexual preference. In Bath, this sparked rebellion among 1650 community health and social service workers who were requested to fill in a questionnaire asking them all the usual guff, but then asked them to state their sexual orientation.

Almost 900 of them refused, the largest proportion being those working for Bath and North East Somerset Council with 81 per cent of them leaving the box blank. Apparently staff at NHS B&NES were more forthcoming with 69 per cent declaring themselves heterosexual and 30 per cent refusing to answer. Across the entire staff, only 20 people said they were gay, just over 1.2%.

This is all part of the Equality Act 2010 introduced last October and the data will be used to demonstrate whether a particular section of society is underrepresented in any profession. The introduction of the act has been portrayed by the government as a tidying up of previous legislation, saving time and money for those who must comply with it. But if this data is used to enforce the positive discrimination dimension of the act, still being considered by the government, then that could end up costing the taxpayer a lot of money in legal disputes. So, if ever confronted with such a questionnaire, join the Bath council health staff and deprive the government of this information. It’s none of their business!

Incidentally, I note this same workforce of the NHS B&NES are being shifted over to a new not-for-profit organisation to run the same services. Is this merely a smoke and mirrors attempt to show cut-backs, but just carrying on spending taxpayers’ money as usual?It’s bad enough filling in those time-wasting forms designed by overpaid bureaucrats that want to know your gender and race, but now they’ve added another level of personal enquiry. They want to know your sexual preference. In Bath, this sparked rebellion among 1650 community health and social service workers who were requested to fill in a questionnaire asking them all the usual guff, but then asked them to state their sexual orientation.

Almost 900 of them refused, the largest proportion being those working for Bath and North East Somerset Council with 81 per cent of them leaving the box blank. Apparently staff at NHS B&NES were more forthcoming with 69 per cent declaring themselves heterosexual and 30 per cent refusing to answer. Across the entire staff, only 20 people said they were gay, just over 1.2%.

This is all part of the Equality Act 2010 introduced last October and the data will be used to demonstrate whether a particular section of society is underrepresented in any profession. The introduction of the act has been portrayed by the government as a tidying up of previous legislation, saving time and money for those who must comply with it. But if this data is used to enforce the positive discrimination dimension of the act, still being considered by the government, then that could end up costing the taxpayer a lot of money in legal disputes. So, if ever confronted with such a questionnaire, join the Bath council health staff and deprive the government of this information. It’s none of their business!

Incidentally, I note this same workforce of the NHS B&NES are being shifted over to a new not-for-profit organisation to run the same services. Is this merely a smoke and mirrors attempt to show cut-backs, but just carrying on spending taxpayers’ money as usual?

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