FOI 1727 - Stonewall

1. Any application you made (or intend to make) in 2021 or 2022 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.

 Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is a longstanding member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme. We did not make a fresh application to join the scheme in 2021. Our membership details were carried over from previous years.

 Our submission for inclusion in the 2022 Workplace Equality Index was completed in September 2021. This involves answering a detailed set of questions, available only to those paying membership of the Diversity Champions scheme. Sharing our submission, and by definition the question set, would damage the charity’s commercial interests (Section 43, FOIA) and potentially give other organisations an advantage in a competitive initiative.

2. Any feedback you received in 2021, or to date,  from Stonewall in relation to either application or programme.

 Although we have been told of our ranking, we have yet to receive feedback on our latest submission. Feedback is provided to organisations in confidence and disclosure would represent breach of that confidence.

 3. Any other communication you have received from Stonewall in 2021 or 2022 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).

 As Diversity Champions we receive regular newsletters and updates about training and events from Stonewall as part of our membership benefits. We do not intend to share these, on the basis of commercial interest (Section 43) and confidentiality (Section 41) exemptions in the FOIA.

 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).

 There is no specific equality impact assessment in relation to our Stonewall membership or submission to the Workplace Equality Index. Our commitment to external benchmarking and accreditation, across multiple protected characteristics, is set out in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (EDI) 2021-24, available on our website:

 5. Details of the total amount of money you paid to Stonewall (i) in 2021; (ii) in 2022, whether or not as payment for goods or services.

 During 2021/22 we paid the £2,500 Diversity Champions membership fee and an additional £111.65 for rainbow laces, at the request of firefighters and fire staff who wish to wear them in support of their LGBT+ colleagues and communities.

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

 We continually review the costs and benefits of EDI memberships and accreditations through our EDI Steering Group. At this time, it is our intention to assess feedback from Stonewall (when we receive it) on our latest submission and consider how and where we can continue to make improvements in our LGBT+ inclusion activity.

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Last updated: Friday, 20 October 2023