Publication - FOI/EIR release

Various questions relating to the Equality Network: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
9 Aug 2019
Various questions relating to the Equality Network: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01568
Date received: 28 Jun 2019
Date responded: 2 Aug 2019
Information requested

You asked us to provide information relating to the Equality Network:

1) I formally request copies of the latest and current Child Protection/Vulnerable Adults Policies for the three organisations, ENL, LGBTYS, and Stonewall Scotland.

2) Please any documentation that refutes this conclusion that ‘the Scottish Government never verifies further educational qualifications and work experience claims by grantees themselves or made by grantees for the grantee staff’. and
Documentation that refutes the claim that ‘the Scottish Government does not request or verify extended criminal record checks for applicants and organisation staff and volunteers who will be working with young and adults including those with complex problems.’ Also, Documentation that refutes the conclusion that ‘the Scottish Government does not ascertain or verify that grantee staff are suitably qualified and experienced to deal with young people and adults with complex medical and/or psychiatric problems’. and
Documentation that refutes the conclusion that ‘the Scottish Government does not perform extensive background checks on grantees and/or grantee staff and volunteers, and the Scottish Government does not require that grantee organisations confirm that all staff and volunteers have both extended criminal disclosures and have satisfactorily passed extensive background checks including social media reviews before employment, and before paid or voluntary work with young and adults with potential vulnerabilities and co-morbidities.

3) Provide documentation that clearly describes these planned and implemented IT related activities by ENL (see for example “our tool” re. Demand Equality, ENL twitter June, 2019). Where and when they were submitted, funded and approved. I believe those responsible for the submissions, this approval and funding must be named. Full disclosure and highlighting of these ‘spamming’ activities is of serious import.

4) Provide documentation that shows all MSPs were informed of this part of ENL’s et al activities - and that it was and is funded by the Scottish Government. It is important information for MSPs, they must have been informed. and
Please documentation that shows all MSPS and Directors were informed of these activities by ENL et al funded by the Scottish Government and how this is being used to affect and skew Consultations and impressions of public opinion and statistics quoted.

5) I am writing to request further information and straightforward answers with reference to the responses in FoI 19/01084. Please also recognise this as part of the complaints process because if I cannot get more concise and trustworthy responses I will have to follow up with the Information Commissioner inter alia. The date range for all queries was and is from 1999/2000 to 2020 via Scottish Government/Scottish Executive/Scottish budgets under whatever name, division, or department. Please note this and ensure this is recognised for all FoIs – the claim that the information is not available is unacceptable from government bodies. Or, if I do not name everybody or a section of government by the correct current title, and therefore a request rejected or obfuscated – this is unhelpful. The Scottish Government must track monies and recipients long term and keep good records. Government records are not disposable after a limited period (6/10 years). They are, they must be, a permanent historical record.

6) I note the ENL has started to use yet another name the ‘The Equal Recognition campaign’. Please include this as part of ENL, aa well as any other ‘projects’ and/or labels they may use or have used. I would like to know all variants in use, past and present. I am not employed or paid for my work and I am spending many hours reading and searching for data that should be readily accessible in a straightforward format. Please clarify what this new campaign is and how funded, and why there is no reference in applications and documentation.

7) On what date did the Scottish Government change to LGBTI. And why? Documentation requested.

8) LGB are basic sexual orientations, a preference for one sex or both. Q and Queer are conflated with numerous sexual activities normally designated paraphilias, chronophilias - fetish. What is your position on Q and other letters being conflated with LGB, with I, with T and all the other gender identities A, P and so on? I assume you must have a discussion paper on the subject. I will assume that you have been aware and fully cognisant of Queer theory last decades, and it’s deficits, irrationality, and nonsense. Documentation in all cases, please.

9) Similarly, Stonewall – including the funding of the “Stonewall Equity Limited” an entity I have never heard of before. Please clarify the Stonewall entities and relationships. It is unclear what company you are funding, if funds are going to the Stonewall UK company, or elsewhere – and what for.

10) Many organisations and groups refer to each other continually as supporters and allies. Please clarify if transfers of monies and donations are recorded for the funded organisations and groups no matter how small the amount, including shared resources and facilities. Documentation requested.

11) Who in the Scottish Government is the elected Minister and who is the civil service Director/Head of all matters related to Public Sector Equality Duty policies, changes, funding, projects, research and implementation?

12) Please if I could have current documentation references for Scotland related to gender, GRA Reform and sex based rights. (I am aware of the consultations, recent speeches and ‘fact sheet’ and I am focussed on the originators, initiators of these ideas and policies and discussion papers). I would like the source(s) identified.

13) Please define “gender mainstreaming”.

14) Please a copy of (your) Lisa Bird’s remit and/or Terms of Reference in her roles within Equalities, Human Rights and Third Sector Division and specifically as related to CEDAW and associated policy documents.

15) Please a copy of Lesley Cunningham’s remit and/or Terms of Reference in her roles as ‘Gender Equality Lead’ and specifically as related to CEDAW, and additionally to whom does she report. Also, please a clarification as to where the Gender Equality Team? Group? exists within the Scottish Government. And a full detailed description and staffing on ‘The Equality Unit’.

16) Who and where exactly is ENL et al funding approved? Names and Departments - please no more references to “Scottish Ministers” (avoidant) or not of public interest (it is) or privacy (it should not be) - which are seriously unhelpful (and rude).

17) What is Elysia McCaffrey’s role and position in the UK? Please her contact address and email. And, a clarification of her relationship to the Scottish Government, and to (yourself) Lisa Bird and Lesley Cunningham, in particular.

Response

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) gives you the right to ask for recorded information held by the Scottish Government.
Having given consideration to your request I have determined that there are a number of points made in your request that make a statement, ask us to refute a particular view or express an opinion. These are not requests for recorded information and therefore would fall outwith the scope of FOISA. I am therefore unable to provide a response as part of your information request. I have detailed the points which fall out with the scope of FOISA along with responses where appropriate in Annex A to this letter.
For ease of reference, I have addressed the parts of your request which fall within the scope of FOISA below:

1) I formally request copies of the latest and current Child Protection/Vulnerable Adults Policies for the three organisations, ENL, LGBTYS, and Stonewall Scotland.
The Scottish Government does not hold this information as organisational policy documents would be held by individual organisations. You may wish to contact the organisations in which you have an interest to request this information.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

2) Please any documentation that refutes this conclusion that ‘the Scottish Government never verifies further educational qualifications and work experience claims by grantees themselves or made by grantees for the grantee staff’. and Documentation that refutes the claim that ‘the Scottish Government does not request or verify extended criminal record checks for applicants and organisation staff and volunteers who will be working with young and adults including those with complex problems.’ Also, Documentation that refutes the conclusion that ‘the Scottish Government does not ascertain or verify that grantee staff are suitably qualified and experienced to deal with young people and adults with complex medical and/or psychiatric problems’. and
Documentation that refutes the conclusion that ‘the Scottish Government does not perform extensive background checks on grantees and/or grantee staff and volunteers, and the Scottish Government does not require that grantee organisations confirm that all staff and volunteers have both extended criminal disclosures and have satisfactorily passed extensive background checks including social media reviews before employment, and before paid or voluntary work with young and adults with potential vulnerabilities and co-morbidities.’
Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the information does not exist.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

3) Provide documentation that clearly describes these planned and implemented IT related activities by ENL (see for example “our tool” re. Demand Equality, ENL twitter June, 2019). Where and when they were submitted, funded and approved. I believe those responsible for the submissions, this approval and funding must be named. Full disclosure and highlighting of these ‘spamming’ activities is of serious import.
In our response to your previous FOI we included a copy of the Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance’s application forms, which set out the activities they are funded by the Scottish Government to take forward. All of the information you have requested is available from https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-19-01084/.
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

4) Provide documentation that shows all MSPs were informed of this part of ENL’s et al activities - and that it was and is funded by the Scottish Government. It is important information for MSPs, they must have been informed. and
Please documentation that shows all MSPS and Directors were informed of these activities by ENL et al funded by the Scottish Government and how this is being used to affect and skew Consultations and impressions of public opinion and statistics quoted.

Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the information does not exist.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

5) I am writing to request further information and straightforward answers with reference to the responses in FoI 19/01084. Please also recognise this as part of the complaints process because if I cannot get more concise and trustworthy responses I will have to follow up with the Information Commissioner inter alia. The date range for all queries was and is from 1999/2000 to 2020 via Scottish Government/Scottish Executive/Scottish budgets under whatever name, division, or department. Please note this and ensure this is recognised for all FoIs – the claim that the information is not available is unacceptable from government bodies. Or, if I do not name everybody or a section of government by the correct current title, and therefore a request rejected or obfuscated – this is unhelpful. The Scottish Government must track monies and recipients long term and keep good records. Government records are not disposable after a limited period (6/10 years). They are, they must be, a permanent historical record.
I note that your request for a review of FOI 19/01084 and your complaint will be dealt with separately, by other officials.
All of the information you have requested in relation to record keeping is available in the Scottish Government’s record management plan which is available from: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-government-records-management-plan/
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

6) I note the ENL has started to use yet another name the ‘The Equal Recognition campaign’. Please include this as part of ENL, aa well as any other ‘projects’ and/or labels they may use or have used. I would like to know all variants in use, past and present. I am not employed or paid for my work and I am spending many hours reading and searching for data that should be readily accessible in a straightforward format. Please clarify what this new campaign is and how funded, and why there is no reference in applications and documentation.
Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the Scottish Government does not fund this campaign.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
You may find it helpful to note that information on the Equal Recognition campaign can be found at https://www.scottishtrans.org/equal/.

7) On what date did the Scottish Government change to LGBTI. And why? Documentation requested.
The Scottish Government took the decision to adopt ‘intersex’ in April 2014. A copy of the submission sent to Ministers is attached. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section s.30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) of FOISA applies to that information. This exemption recognises the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to seek advice and discuss options before reaching a settled public view. Disclosing the content of such advice/discussions will substantially inhibit the free and frank provision of advice and/or exchange of views in the future, particularly while discussions are ongoing and decisions have not been taken, and/or if those discussions relate to sensitive or controversial issues. This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. Whilst we recognise there is an interest in the Government’s thinking, this is currently a live policy issue and it is not in the public interest for advice to Ministers to be disclosed. Parts of the submission have therefore been withheld.

8) LGB are basic sexual orientations, a preference for one sex or both. Q and Queer are conflated with numerous sexual activities normally designated paraphilias, chronophilias - fetish. What is your position on Q and other letters being conflated with LGB, with I, with T and all the other gender identities A, P and so on? I assume you must have a discussion paper on the subject. I will assume that you have been aware and fully cognisant of Queer theory last decades, and it’s deficits, irrationality, and nonsense. Documentation in all cases, please.
Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the Scottish Government has not produced a discussion paper on these issues. We have committed to establishing a working group on non-binary people.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

9) Similarly, Stonewall – including the funding of the “Stonewall Equity Limited” an entity I have never heard of before. Please clarify the Stonewall entities and relationships. It is unclear what company you are funding, if funds are going to the Stonewall UK company, or elsewhere – and what for.
The funding is allocated to Stonewall Scotland, who are part of Stonewall.

10) Many organisations and groups refer to each other continually as supporters and allies. Please clarify if transfers of monies and donations are recorded for the funded organisations and groups no matter how small the amount, including shared resources and facilities. Documentation requested.
Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because we have no business reason to record this information.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

11) Who in the Scottish Government is the elected Minister and who is the civil service Director/Head of all matters related to Public Sector Equality Duty policies, changes, funding, projects, research and implementation?
The Minister for Older People and Equalities is Christina McKelvie MSP, and Stephen Gallagher, the Director for Local Government and Communities. The Equality Unit has policy responsibility for implementation of the Public Sector Equality Duty.

12) Please if I could have current documentation references for Scotland related to gender, GRA Reform and sex based rights. (I am aware of the consultations, recent speeches and ‘fact sheet’ and I am focussed on the originators, initiators of these ideas and policies and discussion papers). I would like the source(s) identified.
Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names/contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

13) Please define “gender mainstreaming”.
According to the Council of Europe, Gender mainstreaming is an approach to policy-making that takes into account both women's and men's interests and concerns.

14) Please a copy of (your) Lisa Bird’s remit and/or Terms of Reference in her roles within Equalities, Human Rights and Third Sector Division and specifically as related to CEDAW and associated policy documents.
A copy of the job description for the post of Deputy Director for Equalities, Human Rights and Third Sector is attached.

15) Please a copy of Lesley Cunningham’s remit and/or Terms of Reference in her roles as ‘Gender Equality Lead’ and specifically as related to CEDAW, and additionally to whom does she report. Also, please a clarification as to where the Gender Equality Team? Group? exists within the Scottish Government. And a full detailed description and staffing on ‘The Equality Unit’.
The Gender Team sits within the Equality Unit and is currently staffed by a C1 Team Leader and 2 B3 Policy Officers. The Equality Unit is comprised of 25 staff, and works to support Ministers in promoting equality and tackling discrimination.

16) Who and where exactly is ENL et al funding approved? Names and Departments - please no more references to “Scottish Ministers” (avoidant) or not of public interest (it is) or privacy (it should not be) - which are seriously unhelpful (and rude).
All of the information you have requested is available from https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-19-01084/
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

17) What is Elysia McCaffrey’s role and position in the UK? Please her contact address and email. And, a clarification of her relationship to the Scottish Government, and to (yourself) Lisa Bird and Lesley Cunningham, in particular.
Elysia McCaffery is a Deputy Director in the Government Equalities Office. Information on how to contact the GEO is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/government-equalities-office%20. Scottish Government officials have regular engagement with the Government Equalities Office on a range of issues.

ANNEX A
Points falling outwith the scope of FOISA

I would also here question why the Scottish Government considers it appropriate to allow respondents from outwith the UK in consultations, in research studies, or through online tools used by ENL/LGBTYS et al to email MSPs and others. I see no reference to any checks and validations of IP addresses, residential addresses, and identification… Foreign nationals should not be counted in influencing Scottish government or UK government policy or statistics for the UK or Scotland. The many problems in allowing this are too numerous and too obvious to have to be documented here. But, fundamentally we need good accurate data for the Scottish population itself and the Scottish situation from Census data on through.
There is no way of validating whether someone is from the UK or abroad), apart from through the Electoral Roll or UK passport. We make it clear on most consultations the audiences who would have interest in the consultations we run (the default being people who reside in Scotland). In relation to the consultation on gender recognition reform, seventy duplicate responses were removed before analysis. A response was counted as a duplicate when both the name and email address matched. If the content of the duplicate responses were not identical, the response submitted last was used in the analysis.

The ENL has been funded with little oversight by my government to inform and lobby government, civil servants and influence and input to government policy and law. Political aims. I had assumed this to be unlawful or at least disallowed as dishonest. Please clarify the legality and lawfulness of the relationship and funding to promote a very clear political agenda, mainly the institution of Gender Identity (GI) and the rejection of material realities....the Equalities Budget Terms and Conditions 2.3 state that “No part of the Grant shall be used to fund any activity or material which is party political in intention, use, or presentation or appears to be designed to affect support for a political party.”
Offers of Grant through the Equalities Budget are issued under Section 10 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. We are satisfied that no part of the Grant is being used to fund any activity or material which is party political.
Given that the Scottish Government has been majority led by the SNP and more recently the SNP and Greens please clarify this situations legality and lawfulness as this means that the ENL has been funded to support the aims and goals of specific political parties. In this particular area both the SNP and the Green Party have repeatedly stated that they are determined to make and implement policy and law changes in this area, and have done so (clearly without general democratic public interest, awareness or support). Indeed the success of these policies and law change appear integral to the future ambitions of these parties (and their success). I believe this to be illegal or at least unlawful. Please clarify.
The Green Party do not form part of the Scottish Government. As I stated previously, we are satisfied that no part of the Grant is being used to fund any activity or material which is party political.

It is unfortunate the Scottish Charities Regulatory is limited in remit, not more empowered, supported and funded. There are very good reasons for members of the public to lose all faith in so called ‘charities’. The situation with these organisations and their interrelationship with government policies and aims and their full funding by the self-same government is deeply uncomfortable and I believe seriously inappropriate and hypocritical.
Organisations are not paid to promote Government policy. Public resource cannot be used for party political purposes and this is one of the key grant conditions that the Scottish Government stipulates as part of its robust system for all grant funding. Charities often have local links and direct relationships with the communities they serve – they are often therefore best placed to deliver projects funded by Government. This does not mean they are ‘paid to promote the government’s work’ – they are given grants to fulfil the objectives of the Scottish Government across a broad range of areas. We have robust systems of regulation, a strong legal framework and a commitment to transparency. Charity regulation is governed by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) as established under the Charities and Trustee Investment Scotland Act 2005. OSCR is a non-ministerial office and part of the Scottish Administration; it is independent of the Scottish Government and is accountable to the Scottish Parliament. An organisation can become a charity if it meets the ‘charity test’, meaning it must have only charitable purposes and it must provide public benefit. In all cases OSCR requires trustees by law to demonstrate that decisions on charity running costs and salaries are made in the best interests of the charity, in a manner consistent with the charity’s purposes and in compliance with charity law and other legislation. Where this is not the case, OSCR has the power to act. OSCR have a legal duty to identify and investigate wrong-doing and have a number of specific formal powers under the 2005 Charities Act to take action where wrong-doing is identified.

The charity is Equality Network Limited (ENL) and this is the entity that receives funds, receipts, invoices, and files accounts. When funding is applied for and received by ENL for a specific project this must always be clearly stated. The entity in receipt of funds is ENL and no other registered entity. Therefore, it must always be clearly stated ‘Equality Network Limited’s Scottish Transgender Alliance Project’ and so with any and all projects and subdivisions of ENL. ‘Scottish Trans Alliance’ has no independent existence. It is seriously misleading the public to suggest otherwise by repeatedly obscuring this reality. (See Postscript examples). Please a clear statement and correct this misdirection for all grantee organisations. Your web pages are misleading and lack this clarity of association.
We are satisfied that the information on our webpages reflects accurately the identified of the organisations and projects that we fund.
I note the ‘I’ is being removed from many references to LGBTQ plus outside governments. Please an update on your position.
That would be a matter for the organisations themselves.

As you will be aware many LGB no longer wish to be conflated with TQI plus. A clarification of your position. As you will also be aware many Transsexuals no longer wish to be associated with the T and question LGBT. A clarification of your position.
The Scottish Government works to advance LGBTI equality. We recognise the diversity of experiences within the LGBTI acronym, as well as the strength of a shared agenda in this area.

There appears to be a similar problem with Healthy Living Centre/LGBT Health Helpline /LGBT Healthy Living Centre and its listings and funding. I will prepare an FoI on this organisation and its funding but of course I would prefer that this grouping/muddle is sorted out now and people are not misled and the company/charity is clearly identified and associated with each project and the funding - clearly. Please confirm.
As stated previously, we are satisfied that the information on our webpages reflects accurately the identified of the organisations and projects that we fund.

Please confirm or refute the conclusion that ‘the Scottish Government does not require statements from organisations they are funding declaring all significant donations or sponsorship by foreign or International sources above a certain amount (£1000) or require a declaration of total funding/donations received from International or foreign sources’. Documentation requested. And, similarly for the UK government, and donations and funds out with Scotland but within the UK.
We expect applicants to the Equalities Budget to detail additional sources of funding in their applications.

Trustees and directors are often the same people for the different organisations and groups working in this area, as are the members. This suggests a lack of independence but more strongly supports the contention that the organisations and groups have been proliferated to exaggerate public participation and representativeness and to falsely increase influence via ‘counts’. There is also a concern that staff are portrayed as full time employees but have or at least list other full time occupations, therefore receiving multiple incomes (plus expenses).
We have no evidence to suggest this is the case.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information req

uests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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