LGBT monitoring of UNISON structures and activities

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2013 National LGBT Conference
2 August 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that UNISON has always been cautious about monitoring sexual orientation and gender identity, particularly in our workplaces. It is understandable that some individuals still consider their sexual orientation and gender identity to be ‘private’ for monitoring purposes and have concerns about possible discrimination if they declare their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender history.

However, within the union, the practice of monitoring the age, disability, ethnic origin and gender of members is now common. In many of our workplaces monitoring goes further, often including sexual orientation and sometimes gender identity. This is now more widely accepted as a legitimate means of understanding the profile of a workforce and can be used to monitor positive changes on equality and promote an inclusive and diverse environment.

We know that monitoring, when done properly, can help to ensure that workplace policies and practices are fair and do not discriminate. We also know that the information from equality monitoring of service users can help make services better by targeting and tailoring them at the right people.

We pride ourselves on being an inclusive union and we know that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists are working hard throughout the union. But within the union, as within wider society, we currently do not know whether LGBT members are fully participating in our structures or attending different conferences. The LGBT conference monitoring form is currently the only one that asks members to indicate if they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other, and whether they identify as trans.

Members expect to be included and their needs to be met and to see positive action. Monitoring can be a means to measuring and publicising change. The anonymous monitoring of LGBT participation in UNISON structures, conferences and activities such as training courses could help identify levels of participation and the barriers that may be adversely affecting LGBT members. UNISON could use this information to help develop further approaches to advance LGBT equality.

Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to seek to:

1. Work with the appropriate bodies within the union to introduce sexual orientation and gender identity/gender history monitoring on UNISON monitoring forms;

2. Promote the reason for this request and emphasise the importance of privacy and ensuring the data remains anonymous, so individuals cannot be identified from it;

3. Urge all UNISON bodies which conduct this monitoring to analyse the data on a regular basis and make recommendations for change based on the results.