Call for Newham Council to introduce ‘neutral’ gender option on forms

PUBLISHED: 16:08 16 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:08 16 August 2016

The Green Party's Sian Berry

The Green Party's Sian Berry


A member of the London Assembly has called on the council to be more inclusive by making changes to its recruitment process.

The Green Party’s Sian Berry has written a letter to Newham Council urging it to remove names from job applications and add a new, neutral gender option on official forms.

Her suggestions, which she said would help protect privacy as well as make discrimination harder, have already been taken on board by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

He said City Hall will permit people to not reveal their gender when filling in forms to access services and would introduce name-blind shortlisting processes for recruitment.

Ms Berry said: “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.”

Newham Council, however, said information used in the application process is kept separately throughout by the use of different online forms.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Equality monitoring information for individual job applicants is not accessed by managers or HR staff except for the response to two questions about whether the applicant has a disability under the Equality Act 2010 and what assistance they may require in making an application/attending a selection process.”

She added that while names are currently used in the recruitment process, the council is reviewing its recruitment processes “within the functionality of the online system”.

“This review will also consider how we can ensure there is a gender neutral option for the ‘Title’ field,” she said.

“It is our intention to follow good practice so that we are employers of choice.”

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