Stonewall subsidy: Diversity Champions scheme


Many charities and third sector organisations are reliant on public bodies for at least a portion of their revenue. Receiving taxpayers' money puts these organisations in a privileged position.

Stonewall – the LGBTQ+ charity – is one such group. However, it has also received significant scrutiny in recent months, particularly of its Diversity Champions scheme. Organisations pay a subscription to Stonewall in return for guidance on issues such as gender-neutral spaces, pronouns and transgender inclusion as part of this scheme.

It has been argued that the privileged position offered by this has allowed Stonewall to lobby and campaign at the taxpayers’ expense. The controversy has therefore seen a number of public bodies exit the programme. This report looks at non-grant income that Stonewall has received from public sector bodies over a three-year period, including the Diversity Champions scheme. Taxpayer-funded lobbying must come to an end so that public money is not being used to distort political decision making by unduly advancing policy positions which taxpayers may seriously disagree with.




Key findings

  • Between 2018-19 and 2020-21, Stonewall received at least £3,105,877 from 327 public sector organisations for their Diversity Champions scheme, conferences, events and training programmes.

  • The Diversity Champions scheme generated £2,573,779 in revenue over the three-year period. Their conferences, events and training programmes raised £532,099.

  • The public sector body that generated the most non-grant revenue for Stonewall was Homes England, at £45,942. This included £24,900 on the Allies training programmes over two years.

  • 86 universities were members of the Diversity Champions scheme for some or all of the three-year period. This is roughly two thirds of the total number of UK universities. Goldsmith’s paid £396 for a Stonewall speaker at a ‘Queering Children’s Literature’ event in February 2020.

  • NHS and related bodies gave Stonewall £466,065 over the three years. In total, 58 health service organisations were paying into the Diversity Champions scheme.

  • The former Foreign and Commonwealth Office gave the most of any government department to the Diversity Champions scheme, training programmes and conferences, at £19,012.

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