Dear Ministry of Defence,

Please can you demonstrate how Army facial hair policy;

"Beards and whiskers are only to be worn with authority, which will usually be granted only on medical or religious grounds, or where tradition permits."

conforms to the 2010 equality act in that discrimination is made between rights of individuals to grow facial hair for religious reasons / medical reasons however this privilege is not protected for non-religious beliefs?

Yours faithfully

S Wulesleag

Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear S Wulesleag,

 

Please find attached an official response to your FOI request.

 

Kind regards,

 

Manning Team 2 | Army Secretariat

 

Dear Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER),

Thank you for your reply however, in order to clarify the request I am looking for a copy of the Army's dispensation for breaching the equality act on the grounds of religion.

Whilst facial hair is not a protected characteristic, religion is. Under the act, direct discrimination is defined as "when a person (A) discriminates against another (B) if, because of a protected characteristic, A treats B less favourably than A treats or would treat others". By differentiating the grooming standards of those with religious belief from those without, in this case through the ability to grow facial hair, the Army is directly discriminating against its some of its employees.

can I therefore confirm that the Army does not have dispensation to discriminate between those with / without religious beliefs and is therefore in breach of the equality act by enforcing differing standards based on the protected characteristic 'religion'

Yours sincerely,

S Wulesleag

Dear Ministry of Defence,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Defence's handling of my FOI request 'Inclusion policy'.

I am yet to receive an adequate response to my FOI and having clarified my request have not received any response from your department since 11 Dec 19

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

S Wulesleag

CIO-FOI (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear S Wulesleag,

 

Thank you for your email.

 

We have checked our records and can find no record of having received your
original request of 11^th December 2019.

 

Therefore, I have logged your request as being received on the 7^th
January 2020 (the date of email below).

 

I have logged your request under reference FOI2020/00181 with a statutory
20 working day target date of 4th February 2020.

 

Kind Regards

 

Information Rights Team

Ministry of Defence

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear S Wulesleag,

 

Please find attached an official response to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Kind regards,

 

Manning Team 2 | Army Secretariat

 

Dear Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER),

Thank you for your response however it’s seems to be contradictory. Can I request you confirm which piece of provided information is correct;

1. “Beards and whiskers are only to worn with the COs authority which will usually only be granted on medical or religious grounds, or where tradition permits.”

Or

2. “Please note, the requirement to get the commanding officers permission is to ensure there is not a legitimate operational reason why a beard cannot be worn.”

The first implies that beards are only granted on religious, medical or traditional grounds (treating A more preferably than B), the second implies beards can be worn by all if there in no legitimate operational reason for shaving.

Yours sincerely,

S Wulesleag

Dear Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER),

I replied to this message 4 working days ago requesting clarity on which piece of the quoted policy was correct as they appear contradictory. As yet I have not received even a holding response. The initial FOI was submitted on 11 NOV 19 and to date all I have received back is the information I provided the MOD quoted back to me followed by a contradictory statement in the next sentence. I would like to request an internal review into the poor handing of this FOI as I appear to be getting ignored and receiving lazy responses to a genuine request to establish why some individuals within the army are being treated differently to others for no legitimate operational reason.

Yours sincerely,

S Wulesleag

Dear Ministry of Defence,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Defence's handling of my FOI request 'Inclusion policy'.

I submitted the original FOI request on 11 NOV 19, requesting details on how dress policy conforms to the equality act, realising this is a question not an FOI request I clarified my request on 11 DEC 19 to see the what policy exists to allow MOD to breach equality act in a specific areas. On 04 FEB 20 I received a response quoting the same policy I had provided back to me followed by a contradictory statement. However the question had not been answered. On 05 Feb 20 I requested clarification on the answer provided as the policy given was contradictory to the statement given by the secretariat in the same response. On the 10 FEB 20 I prompted for a response as there had been no reply. To date I have received no further communication and this now sits well outside of mandated timelines.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

S Wulesleag

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Wulesleag,

 

Your enquiry of 5 February is being treated as a request for new
information under the Act and given the reference number FOI2020/01883. 
You can expect to receive a response by no later than 4 March 2020.

 

We are sorry that you appear not to have received an acknowledgment of
your request previously.  Should you be dissatisfied with the response
provided, please contact us again and we will undertake a comprehensive
review of the handling and the outcome.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

 

 

Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

I am not wholly satisfied as I have asked to clarify contradictory statements in the FOI response not requested additional information. I also feel, as this is the second time where I have been ignored and a subsequent FOI created, that the person dealing with the request is creating new FOIs to extend the deadline rather than provide a response. A new dead line would see this FOI taking well over 60 days to gain a satisfactory answer.

Yours sincerely,

S Wulesleag

Dear Ministry of Defence,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Defence's handling of my FOI request 'Inclusion policy'.

I am yet to receive a response on my request for clarification on my last FOI.

The original FOI (FOI12815) was submitted on 11 NOV 19. I provided clarification on my request on 11 Dec 19 as the response was a regurgitation of information already provided. This was logged on 07 Jan 20 as a new FOI (FOI2020/00181). Again I was provided a contradictory answer and my reply was ignored. With no communication, the clarification was raised as a third FOI (2020/01883) however I wasnt informed of this and only discovered on promoting CIO. This third FOI has now expired without answer. I believe that the department responding is creating new FOIs to avoid answering the request for clarification and gain another 20 days. This creation of a new FOI has also prevented any investigation of the handling of the FOI. The department is now in breach of the FOI act and I would request that an explanation be provided as to the poor handling of the enquiry and an apology provided.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

S Wulesleag

Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear S Wulesleag,

 

I am sorry if the response to your Freedom of Information request has
caused some confusion. I can confirm that the policy extract and the
further statement regarding the requirement to obtain Commanding Officer’s
permission are both correct as authority will usually be granted by the CO
for facial hair to be worn on medical or religious grounds. Permission may
not be granted if there are any operational reasons at the time the
request has been made so as to ensure safety equipment can properly seal
around the face to ensure safety of individuals.

 

I hope this clarifies the position.

 

Kind regards,

 

Manning Portfolio 2

Army Secretariat