Lincoln Council monitoring allotment applicants

September 23, 2010 1:13 PM

Here at the TPA we’re always keen to hear from our supporters. Many get in touch with new campaigning ideas, observations about their local public sector, comments on which direction we should push the campaign – a whole spectrum of thoughts and suggestions that we’re always willing and grateful to receive.


This week one TPA-er emailed us in a state of some confusion having decided to make an application for a council allotment. He ventured onto Lincoln City Council’s website to register his interest and was surprised to be asked some rather personal questions about his sexual orientation, religious beliefs and ethnicity amongst others.


We all know the drill, it’s the usual Equality & Diversity monitoring form. But for an allotment? Really?  Just what is the end game here?


Lincoln1



It'd be interesting to learn where this information actually goes, or what useful, meaningful benefit can be had from profiling allotment applicants. Is there someone losing sleep at night because most allotments are maintained by retired, middle-class white men? Would they consider a drive to attract more Muslim, or perhaps transgendered people to take up gardening/pottering in order to correct the imbalance?


Of course, you don’t have to fill out the form, it is optional. Or you could be one of those facetious people who fills out the form but puts ‘other’ or ‘prefer not to say’ in answer to every question, but perhaps we should be careful lest this jeopardises our chances of being allocated an allotment...


This is local authority nonsense at its worst, and though it’s easy to poke fun at, it is costing us money and taking up the time of officers within the council (a council who allegedly have someone on staff just to deal with “gender issues”). At the end of the day – as our supporter asked  – who cares how many Christians or lesbians or black people want allotments? In what respect is this information useful in terms of practical application? It is, quite obviously, politically correct box-ticking of the most banal kind.


Of course, when the chief honcho decrees who shall receive a patch of land in which to plant carrots and chrysanthemums, he shouldn’t discriminate against anyone based on age, sex, religion, race etc but firstly, isn’t the best policy on these things ‘first come, first served’? And secondly, it’s illegal to discriminate and there are laws to protect us. If that doesn’t work then what chance has this ridiculous, ever-present form? 


Here at the TPA we’re always keen to hear from our supporters. Many get in touch with new campaigning ideas, observations about their local public sector, comments on which direction we should push the campaign – a whole spectrum of thoughts and suggestions that we’re always willing and grateful to receive.


This week one TPA-er emailed us in a state of some confusion having decided to make an application for a council allotment. He ventured onto Lincoln City Council’s website to register his interest and was surprised to be asked some rather personal questions about his sexual orientation, religious beliefs and ethnicity amongst others.


We all know the drill, it’s the usual Equality & Diversity monitoring form. But for an allotment? Really?  Just what is the end game here?


Lincoln1



It'd be interesting to learn where this information actually goes, or what useful, meaningful benefit can be had from profiling allotment applicants. Is there someone losing sleep at night because most allotments are maintained by retired, middle-class white men? Would they consider a drive to attract more Muslim, or perhaps transgendered people to take up gardening/pottering in order to correct the imbalance?


Of course, you don’t have to fill out the form, it is optional. Or you could be one of those facetious people who fills out the form but puts ‘other’ or ‘prefer not to say’ in answer to every question, but perhaps we should be careful lest this jeopardises our chances of being allocated an allotment...


This is local authority nonsense at its worst, and though it’s easy to poke fun at, it is costing us money and taking up the time of officers within the council (a council who allegedly have someone on staff just to deal with “gender issues”). At the end of the day – as our supporter asked  – who cares how many Christians or lesbians or black people want allotments? In what respect is this information useful in terms of practical application? It is, quite obviously, politically correct box-ticking of the most banal kind.


Of course, when the chief honcho decrees who shall receive a patch of land in which to plant carrots and chrysanthemums, he shouldn’t discriminate against anyone based on age, sex, religion, race etc but firstly, isn’t the best policy on these things ‘first come, first served’? And secondly, it’s illegal to discriminate and there are laws to protect us. If that doesn’t work then what chance has this ridiculous, ever-present form? 


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