In February, we set out our concerns about some Government Departments’ use of the Emmanuel Centre, specifically events that promoted ‘gay cure therapies’. As we said at the time, we do not consider it appropriate for the Civil Service to use this venue. Government Department’s, and the Civil Service as a whole, have various public sector equality duties under the Equality Act to ensure that discrimination is eliminated and that equality is advanced. Hosting Civil Service events at venues like the Emmanuel Centre is not, in our view, compatible with these duties.
We have been consistently raising these concerns at the highest levels of the Civil Service and now senior managers are taking action. We can now advise that this issue was discussed at the cross-Government Heads of Diversity Board and Departments were asked to stop using this particular venue and to advise their agencies to do likewise. This message was then followed up in writing after the meeting.
This approach is already starting to have an impact with several Departments removing the Emmanuel Centre from their list of venues. If your Department hasn’t yet done so, we would encourage you to hold them to account.