Information about your dealings with Stonewall [Extraneous material removed]

The request was partially successful.

Dear Newcastle upon Tyne City Council,

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Please provide any information that you hold answering to any of the following descriptions:

1. Any application you made in 2019 or 2020 to be a “Stonewall Diversity Champion” or to be included on Stonewall’s “Workplace Equality Index,” including any attachments or appendices to those applications. Please redact personal details if necessary.

2. Any feedback you received in 2019 or 2020 from Stonewall in relation to either application or programme.

3. Any other communication you have received from Stonewall in 2019 or 2020 unless privileged or otherwise exempt from disclosure (but if you claim privilege or exemption in relation to any material, please say in broad terms what the material is and the basis on which you claim to be entitled to withhold it).

4. Full details of any equality impact assessment you carried out connected with any of these applications (including any equality impact assessment carried out prior to an earlier application of the same kind, if no further assessment was done).

5. Details of the total amount of money you paid to Stonewall (i) in 2019; (ii) in 2020, whether or not as payment for goods or services.

6. Whether you intend to continue your membership of any Stonewall scheme in the future, and if so which.

Yours faithfully,

Diane Jones

Freedom Of Information Requests Mailbox, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Acknowledgement: FOI 17450

Thank you for your request for information. We are dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We have passed your request to relevant colleagues who will respond within 20 working days starting the working day after receipt of your request.

Regards
Freedom of Information Team

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Wilton, Matt, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Dear Diane Jones
Please find below a response to your Freedom of Interest request dated 4th February. I apologise for the late issue of this response.
Yours faithfully
Matt Wilton
Head of Policy
Newcastle City Council

1. Any application you made in 2019 or 2020 to be a “Stonewall Diversity Champion” or to be included on Stonewall’s “Workplace Equality Index,” including any attachments or appendices to those applications. Please redact personal details if necessary.

The Index is not held by us

2. Any feedback you received in 2019 or 2020 from Stonewall in relation to either application or programme.

The council has demonstrated its commitment to equality by embedding LGBT inclusion throughout the council, from employee policies, to recruitment practices, to internal communications. The council leads the way in its support for trans staff, service users and communities, working closely with local trans organisations to raise awareness of trans experiences. In November 2019, the council collaborated with the NHS and other regional stakeholder partners on a ground-breaking conference which improved understanding of the needs of trans people, and particularly the needs of the local trans community.

Our active LGBT staff network group runs a reverse mentoring scheme for senior leaders, helping them to better understand the lived experiences of LGBT staff. The network also provides confidential support to LGBT staff and consistently offers constructive feedback to the council on issues of LGBT inclusion.
The group, alongside its growing network of allies, has led a wide range of community engagement activities over the last year. This included a ‘7 days of Pride’ campaign in the run-up to Pride Newcastle, as well as events for Bi Visibility Day, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHoBiT), and Trans Day of Remembrance.

The network has consistently engaged with diverse communities across the city, raising awareness of intersectionality and bringing together LGBT people of faith, LGBT people of colour and LGBT people with disabilities.

3. Any other communication you have received from Stonewall in 2019 or 2020 unless privileged or otherwise exempt from disclosure (but if you claim privilege or exemption in relation to any material, please say in broad terms what the material is and the basis on which you claim to be entitled to withhold it).

We receive mail shots from Stonewall in relation to diversity champion updates and offers.

4. Full details of any equality impact assessment you carried out connected with any of these applications (including any equality impact assessment carried out prior to an earlier application of the same kind, if no further assessment was done).

An EINA was not required

5. Details of the total amount of money you paid to Stonewall (i) in 2019; (ii) in 2020, whether or not as payment for goods or services.

£2500 was paid for the Diversity Membership

6. Whether you intend to continue your membership of any Stonewall scheme in the future, and if so which.

This will be reviewed when the current membership expires

Matt Wilton
Head of Policy
Newcastle City Council

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Dear Newcastle upon Tyne City Council,

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

I am puzzled by the content of your response, and I am therefore writing to request an internal review of Newcastle upon Tyne City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Information about your dealings with Stonewall #DontSubmitToStonewall'.

I will spell out the reasons for my request.
I would appreciate it if you would please revise your response to provide documentation as specified below.

QU 1. Any application you made in 2019 or 2020 to be a “Stonewall Diversity Champion” or to be included on Stonewall’s “Workplace Equality Index,” including any attachments or appendices to those applications. Please redact personal details if necessary.

Your response "The Index is not held by us"

Surely it is...

QU 2. Any feedback you received in 2019 or 2020 from Stonewall in relation to either application or programme.

Your response does not contain feedback from Stonewall.  

QU 3. Any other communication you have received from Stonewall in 2019 or 2020 unless privileged or otherwise exempt from disclosure (but if you claim privilege or exemption in relation to any material, please say in broad terms what the material is and the basis on which you claim to be entitled to withhold it).

Your response does not share details of communication relevant to your dealings with Stonewall  

Newcastle City Council is shown to be first in the list of the Stonewall Top 100  Employers 2020

According to this document  https://www.stonewall.org.uk/system/file...
the top employers list is compiled  "from the Workplace Equality Index – the UK’s leading benchmarking tool for LGBT inclusion in the workplace."

The document linked to above states "Completing the Workplace Equality Index is a voluntary, annual exercise which enables employers to measure, verify and improve their inclusion practice. Organisations that enter the Index submit evidence detailing their LGBT practice across ten areas.
 
This report indicates that Newcastle City Council was in 5th Place in 2019, so it appears that a submission to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index was made in both 2019 and 2020. https://www.stonewall.org.uk/about-us/ne...

In this document, Newcastle City Council is shown on p85 as being a Stonewall Diversity Champion in 2019 https://www.stonewall.org.uk/system/file...

 As I understand it, membership of the Stonewall Diversity Champion scheme entitles the organisation to receive “in-depth, tailored feedback” on their submission to the Workplace Equality Index.

I'm not sure therefore what could posibly be meant by your statement that  'the index is not held by us'.  

It must be clear to you from my request that I was asking for sight of the documents submitted to Stonewall in connection with the Workplace Equality Index, and/or the Diversity Champion programme including any attachments or appendices. 

Did Newcastle City Council enter the Workplace Equality Index to be assessed on evidence provided across the ten specified areas in 2019 and 2020?

If so, please provide the detail requested, i.e. the submission(s)made, the feedback reports received,  and any correspondence between the City Council and Stonewall in connection with the submissions, the feedback and the assessment made.

QU 5. Details of the total amount of money you paid to Stonewall (i) in 2019; (ii) in 2020, whether or not as payment for goods or services.
Your response -  £2500 was paid for the Diversity Membership

Could you please elaborate whether the sum of £2500 cited included VAT or not, and whether this was paid in 2019 or 2020.

Did Newcastle City Council apply to be listed as a Stonewall Diversity Champion in the year to which the fee cited does not apply? 

Also as regards expenditure, would you please state whether any staff of Newcastle City Council participated in any of Stonewall's training programmes during 2019 and 2020?

For example, LGBT Leadership, LGBT Young Leader's Programme,  Inclusive Leadership Programme, Trans Allies Programme, LGBT Role Models. 

Please also state whether any staff member attended any other training, conference or other event provided by Stonewall during 2019 or 2020. 

Please itemise any fees paid for such participation in any training programme or conference or other event during 2019 or 2020.  

Here are some examples of the comprehensive responses made by other bodies when asked the same/similar questions. You may wish to consider following their example as regards the detail  provided. 

The response provided by Sussex University  is here  https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...
And here is the response provided by Edinburgh University  https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/m...

This is the response provided by ACAS https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

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,

Diane Jones

Freedom Of Information Requests Mailbox, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Dear Diane

Thank you for your email.

In line with guidelines from the Information Commissioner’s Office, we can confirm that the response to your Freedom of Information request will be independently reviewed and we will write to you again as soon as the review is complete and in any case, within 20 working days from receipt of your request.

Kind Regards,
Freedom of Information Team
Newcastle City Council

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Freedom Of Information Requests Mailbox, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Dear Ms Jones,

 

Thank you for your request on 8 April 2021 for us to carry out an internal
review into the response for your FOI request with the reference FOI
17450. Please accept our apologies for the delay.

 

QU 1. Any application you made in 2019 or 2020 to be a “Stonewall
Diversity Champion” or to be included on Stonewall’s “Workplace Equality
Index,” including any attachments or appendices to those applications.
Please redact personal details if necessary.

Your response  "The Index is not held by us"

Surely it is...

Internal Review Response : The Stonewall submission was input directly
into the Stonewall portal in September 2019 and is therefore held by
Stonewall. We do not hold a copy of the submission.

 

QU 2. Any feedback you received in 2019 or 2020 from Stonewall in relation
to either application or programme.

Your response does not contain feedback from Stonewall.  

Internal Review Response: Feedback, WEI submission and benchmarking
information has been provided to the Council by Stonewall in confidence
with an explicit instruction from them not to disclose, therefore is
exempt under Section 41(1) of the Freedom of Information Act. Any
disclosure of the information to the public by the Authority would
constitute a breach of confidence by that or by any other person.

 

QU 3. Any other communication you have received from Stonewall in 2019 or
2020 unless privileged or otherwise exempt from disclosure (but if you
claim privilege or exemption in relation to any material, please say in
broad terms what the material is and the basis on which you claim to be
entitled to withhold it).

Your response does not share details of communication relevant to your
dealings with Stonewall  

Internal Review Response : The Council’s response to question 3 was “We
receive mail shots from Stonewall in relation to diversity champion
updates and offers.” Our review found that the response was correct
however to provide further clarity, we have provided a list of this type
of communication below.

 

Communications have been received by the Council from Stonewall on :-

 

o WEI Submissions, Feedback & Benchmarking Report
o General Newsletters
o Monthly Newsletters
o Invitations to Best Practice Seminars
o Event notifications
o Conference details
o Webinars

 

QU 5. Details of the total amount of money you paid to Stonewall (i) in
2019; (ii) in 2020, whether or not as payment for goods or services.

Your response -  £2500 was paid for the Diversity Membership

Could you please elaborate whether the sum of £2500 cited included VAT or
not, and whether this was paid in 2019 or 2020.

Internal Review Response : This sum was paid in both 2019 and 2020 and VAT
was not paid.

 

Did Newcastle City Council apply to be listed as a Stonewall Diversity
Champion in the year to which the fee cited does not apply?  

Internal Review Response : Not Applicable (see response above).

 

Also as regards expenditure, would you please state whether any staff of
Newcastle City Council participated in any of Stonewall's training
programmes during 2019 and 2020?

For example, LGBT Leadership, LGBT Young Leader's Programme,  Inclusive
Leadership Programme, Trans Allies Programme, LGBT Role Models. 

Internal Review Response : No Stonewall training took place during these
years.

 

Please also state whether any staff member attended any other training,
conference or other event provided by Stonewall during 2019 or 2020. 

Internal Review Response : Yes.

 

Please itemise any fees paid for such participation in any training
programme or conference or other event during 2019 or 2020.  

Internal Review Response : One member of staff attended the Stonewall
Annual Conference on the 29^th November 2019 at a cost of £210

 

 

 

If you are still unhappy with how we have handled your request following
our internal review you can complain to the Information Commissioner. 
Contact details are as follows:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Phone: 0303 123 1113
Email: [1][email address]

 

 

Kind Regards,

 

Freedom of Information

Newcastle City Council

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