29 March 2022
Thank you for your request which I received on 2 March 2022. In a set of clarified questions pertaining to ATISN 16051, you asked for information on the following points:
- How did the publicly funded report into the work of Chwarae Teg and others give due regard to BAME communities under the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010, and due regard to the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act? Please provide any documentation of how this was implemented.
- What is the Welsh Government's policy on equality organisations that have failed in their remit under the Equality Act to serve different communities?
- Would the Government consider diverting the funds to BAME women's groups?
- The failings Welsh Gov has identified with regard to the Women of Covid19 campaign, the work of Chwarae Teg, and the work of Women's Aid.
- Information relating to the actions that the Welsh Government is implementing around the accountability of organisations such as Chwarae Teg that have failed in their remit , such as any mechanisms under the Public Sector Equality Duty.
As we set out in our acknowledgment letter, we’ve understood this to mean action the Welsh Government is taking in response to the Women of Covid review report.
- If any similar reviews into the failure of organisations failing in their remit serving BAME communities have been funded by public funding, and if so, how much.
A copy of the information to be released is enclosed.
Following a search of our paper and electronic records and as confirmed in the acknowledgment letter, the information you require in relation to questions 1 and 2 is not held by the Welsh Government. However the following action will be included in the forthcoming Race Equality Action Plan and I include it here to reflect the policy intentions of the Welsh Government going forward.
Embed ways of working to tackle racism
To ensure all organisations we sponsor and fund commit to at least meet the minimum requirements of the duties in the Equality Act 2010.
Use all levers available to embed anti-racist approaches throughout the public sector including:
Ensure grants and procurement process are anti-racist.
Use conditions of grants and procurement to incentivise other organisations to improve leadership and representation and anti-racism more generally.
Published anti-racist statements and action plans for all funded organisations and their delivery partners.
All levers and enablers has to tackle institutional racism identified.
A Welsh Public Service that better reflects the communities it serves with services that meet the needs of all.
In relation to question 3, this is exempt under s21 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (information available to the requester by other means) as this is information which was provided to you at the meeting you attended on the 4th March 2022 between Diverse Women of Wales and Welsh Government officials.
In relation to question 5, the ministerial briefing MA-JH-4177-21 includes the following relevant information:
The Minister is asked to:
“Endorse all recommendations in the Review of the Women of Covid campaign (Doc 1) for Chwarae Teg and Welsh Women’s Aid and agree that officials hold Chwarae Teg and Welsh Women’s Aid to account in implementing these recommendations by requesting an action plan which is time bound and signed off by officials. Progress will be monitored during grant monitoring meetings by individual grant managers”.
Agree to officials developing a pilot (outlined in section 7), taken forward over the next 6 months, in partnership and co-production with the existing and prospective equality and inclusion funded organisations, in order to take forward recommendation 1.7 from the review into the Women of Covid campaign.
Section 7: Welsh Government funding
7.4 Recommendation 1.7 of the Women of Covid campaign review asks the Welsh Government to hold all organisations who receive government funds to account in line with their stated plan for diversity & inclusion as part of the continued funding arrangements.
7.5 Equality officials have consulted with Finance colleagues and identified the following options through which we could take forward this recommendation.
General grant funding option 1 – A mandatory change to all grant awards issued by the Welsh Government.
- The Welsh Government gives out in excess of 11,000 grant awards each year to various organisations, for many different purposes, including for the purchase of equipment or, as in recent times; emergency Covid funds. Further work is required to assess the extent to which recommendation 1.7 should apply to these awards.
General grant funding option 2 - Individualised grant changes
- Changes to specific grants or specific kinds of grants can be made. Any changes to the terms and conditions of the grant would make the commitment legally binding and so further work is required to specify which grant or grant types this should apply to and whether it is based on the type of organisation, type of funding or both. We would need to consider the consequences for organisations who break these Terms and Conditions and the impact this may have.
General grant funding option 3 – General advice to policy and grant managers on equality, diversity and inclusion
- Additional guidance could be produced for grant managers in order to facilitate improved grants and contract management in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion.
Recommended way forward
Officials suggest piloting an approach that progresses options 2 and 3 and that will help assess and evidence any need for option 1. The pilot will relate to the forthcoming new round of the Equality and Inclusion grant funding which is due to issue in 2022.
In relation to question 6, as outlined in the acknowledgement letter, your request does not provide a sufficiently clear description of the information to identify and locate the information you are seeking.
I have decided that the information requested in relation to question 4 is exempt from disclosure under section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act and is therefore withheld. The reasons for applying these exemptions are set out in full at Annex 1 to this letter.
If you are dissatisfied with the Welsh Government’s handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review within 40 working days of the date of this response. Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Welsh Government’s Freedom of Information Officer at:
Information Rights Unit,
or Email: Freedom.firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember to quote the ATISN reference number above.
You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office,
However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.
The Freedom of information Act provides a right for anyone to ask a public authority to make requested information available to the wider public. As the release of requested information is to the world, not just the requester, public authorities need to consider the effects of making the information freely available to everybody. Any personal interest the requester has for accessing the information cannot override those wider considerations.
I have decided to withhold the following information under section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act:
The failings Welsh Government has identified with regard to the Women of Covid19 campaign, the work of Chwarae Teg, and the work of Women's Aid.
This Annex sets out the reasons for the engagement of Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act.
Engagement of section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act
Section 41(1) of the Freedom of Information Act covers information provided in confidence.
Section 41(1) states:
(1) “Information is exempt information if –
a) it was obtained by the public authority from any other person (including another public authority), and
b) the disclosure of the information to the public (otherwise that under this Act) by the public authority holding it would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person.”
Section 41 is an absolute exemption and is not, therefore, subject to the public interest test. For the purposes of s41(1)(a), I can confirm that the information has been provided to Welsh Government by a third party.
‘Confidential’ is not defined in the Act; it’s a common law concept and the test of confidentiality involves determining whether information was obtained in confidence, whether the information has the necessary ‘quality of confidence’ and whether its disclosure would constitute an actionable breach of confidence. For the purposes of s41 a breach will always be actionable if:
- the information has the necessary quality of confidence;
- the information was imparted in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence; and
- there was an unauthorised use of the information to the detriment of the confider (the element of detriment is not always necessary).
This three stage test is taken from the case of Coco v Clarke. For the information in question the Welsh Government believes it has the necessary ‘quality of confidence’, the information is not otherwise accessible and it is not trivial. This review was commissioned in response to a complaint received by Welsh Government. The organisations involved participated in the review voluntarily in order to learn lessons for the future, and provided information in confidence to support the reviewer in their work with no expectation that it would be put into the public domain.
We have decided to withhold information in relation to question 4 (any identified failings) from being released into the public domain as it may contain information that was provided in confidence by 3rd parties. Welsh Government is working with the complainants and the organisations involved to address the report’s recommendations and to outline next steps.
It is our concern that were the Welsh Government to release the information requested and breach the confidence of the 3rd parties involved, it may prevent these and other organisations from participating in voluntary reviews such as these in the future. This would have negative consequences on our ability to process complaints and seek resolution to issues and concerns.