Monitoring sexual orientation - best practice
and the equality duty
20 May 2011
Why monitor sexual orientation?
• What you measure you can manage
• Identify gaps, barriers and areas of concern
• Avoid risk – identify and tackle discrimination
• Treating SO as equal to other strands
• Demonstrates commitment to diversity
• The Equality Act…
The Equality Act 2010
All public bodies need to have regard to (so reflect in their
planning and policies) three areas or elements…
• (a) eliminating discrimination, harassment, victimisation and
any other things made unlawful by the Equality Act
• (b) advancing equality of opportunity between different
people – for example people who are gay and people who are
• (c) fostering good relations between people – again,
including gay people and heterosexual people
This general duty covers both employment and services
provided to the public, and brings together the previous
legislation in this area.
What does the Equality Act say about monitoring?
• By December 2011, public bodies must publish
information to show how they are complying with
the general duty. There is nothing to suggest that
public bodies should not publish info about sexual
orientation or monitor sexual orientation
• By April 2012, every public body must publish
equality objectives (one or more). They then do this
every 4 years
How can Stonewall help you meet your duties under
the Equality Act?
• Stonewall is developing a guide on the Equality Act
• The Workplace Equality Index - useful tool to help
bodies measure progress and to ensure compliance
with the duty
• Diversity Champions programme – demonstrate
visible commitment and receive support on the
What sexual orientation monitoring can tell you
Are lesbian, gay and bisexual employees…
• applying for jobs and being recruited at the organisation?
• developing their careers within the organisation?
• comfortable being themselves at work?
• able to report bullying and harassment?
• more likely to leave than their straight colleagues?
• comfortable about telling you on a monitoring form?
How to monitor?
What is your sexual orientation?
• Gay man
• Gay woman/lesbian
• Prefer not to say
Where to monitor?
• Recruitment or selection
• Staff attitude surveys
Sample question from WEI
17. Which of the following are scrutinised through
monitoring sexual orientation?
A Fairness in recruitment and selection
B Distribution of LGB staff by level or grade
C Pay or reward
D Staff satisfaction and/or engagement
E Leavers or redundancies
F None of the above, or we do not monitor sexual
Preparing to monitor sexual orientation
• Demonstrate senior support for monitoring
• Be clear about aims and objectives
• Stress anonymity and confidentiality
• Build trust and ensure organisational culture is
• Brief managers and other staff to respond to
• Communicate the results and action them
Confusion, worry, embarrassment!
• It’s not about sex! It’s about identity
• Not disclosure – always confidential
• Don’t make it into a big deal
• Same concerns raised for ethnicity
• Research indicates people confused
about monitoring generally – not just SO
% LGB Staff
2001 2003 2005 2006
People perform better when they can be themselves