Public Services

Humanists want inclusive, accessible, secular public services with no discrimination in employment or service delivery, and human rights protection for service users.

The great majority of public service provision has been in the hands of secular bodies (public or through contractors), and there is no evidence that the public is dissatisfied with this.

On the other hand, the main example of non-secular public service provision is state-funded religious schools, which notably finds as many as four out of five people hostile.

However, as part of its marketisation of public services other than education, such as the welfare and employment, health, social care and housing services, the Government has been promoting the specific inclusion of religious organisations as providers of public services.

Religious organisations have important exemptions from the Equality Act 2006 and from the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 and from the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, which allow them to discriminate in various ways, even when working under contract to provide a public service.

Read more about the British Humanist Association (BHA) campaign to prevent religious organisations from discriminating in their provision of public services and to make them accountable for these services.

Public Services in West Sussex

Mid Sussex District Council responded positively to an inquiry regarding their Equality policies and practices. You can read more in the forum.

Crawley Borough Council were asked about their Equality policies and practices, including contracting out services to religious organisations. You can read more in the forum.

Our local development volunteer Andrew Edmondson attended a workshop/consultation run by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) in 2008. This was to give "faith" groups input into the services provided by WSCC. There was supposed to be a follow-up meeting to deal specifically with religious matters, which were entirely ignored at the workshop. There has been no such follow-up meeting. Read more in the forum.

WSCC have had a fast turnover of personnel, making it difficult to obtain responses to emails regarding their Equality policies and practices.

Our local development volunteer Andrew Edmondson represented the BHA at a conference on the new so-called Sprituality Strategy, hosted by the NHS Sussex Partnership. He met with several West Sussex chaplains and put the case for inclusion of Humanist chaplains. sent extensive feedback to the authors of the new strategy. You can read more about this coference and the spirituality strategy in the forum.

West Sussex Humanists would like to hear from any resident who is concerned about any issue regarding the provision of public services in their area, especially those provided by religious organisations. Email your local representative (see Local Groups) or Andrew Edmondson or make a post in the forum.

 

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