Hounslow Council Asked To Consider What's In A Name?

London Assembly member Sian Berry wants gender neutral official forms

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Councils should remove name and gender details to help improve equality, according to London Assembly member Sian Berry of the Green Party.

London assembly member Sian Berry

She says City Hall has led the way in pledging to remove names for recruitment processes and introducing gender neutral options on official forms. And she wants councils such as Hounslow to do the same, including not looking for gender details when asking people to fill in forms to access services like parking or to leave comments on planning applications.

Ms Berry believes that these changes will help improve privacy and data protection when filling out forms and make it harder for deliberate or unconscious discrimination to affect employment decisions.

She has already won the agreement of the Mayor to introduce the following measures at City Hall; giving people the option not to reveal their gender when filling in forms to access services, including a choice of gender neutral titles and; name-blind shortlisting processes when recruiting staff.

Sian Berry AM says: "Disappointingly, I have found bad practice on many public sector websites, requiring gender details when asking people to fill in forms just to access services like parking or to leave comments on planning applications.

"People should not have to choose between male and female when giving their personal details to public bodies. And people should not be subject to discrimination when applying for a job because of their name.

“These tiny changes to the current processes would be a step in the right direction to be more inclusive to all of the residents councils represent

“The Mayor has responded positively on these issues. I hope that London's councils, if they are not already doing this, make these simple improvements to be more inclusive to all Londoners.”

In October 2015, a number of public and private organisations, including the Civil Service signed up a pledge to recruit on a name-blind basis to address discrimination. Despite this, a review of the GLA group of organisations recently found several examples of bad practice, including the form to leave comments on the GLA's own website.

August 11, 2016

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