Gay group’s complaint about Canterbury council rejected

PinkNews Staff Writer June 25, 2009
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The Local Government Ombudsman has rejected complaints from a gay group that their local council do not do enough for the LGBT community.

Pride in Canterbury had complained to the Ombudsman that Canterbury Council has ignored their concerns, specifically the need for a gay bar, an LGBT community drop-in centre and regular celebration of LGBT culture in the city.

They have also said the council failed to respond to a complaint made by them in November last year.

However, Omdusman Christine Kane has rejected their complaints and stated that the council has no statutory duty to promote LGBT culture.

“I see from information provided by the council that it has given your organisation funding in past years,” she said in a letter to Pride in Canterbury.

“It has invited you to provide details of touring plays and musicals, for example, which would be of interest to the LGBT community.

“And it has also invited you to put forward suggestions for small events that it might help fund, as well as proposals for other events such as exhibitions.”

Ms Kane said the council had already dealt with the substance of the complaints.

“I see no reason, therefore, for the council to keep revisiting complaints that have been properly considered simply because you are unhappy with the outcome,” she said.

Currently, there is no statutory requirement for councils to promote LGBT culture, although this will change if the Equality Bill is passed.

The Bill, which passed its second reading in the House of Commons this week, will place a duty on all public bodies to promote equality and diversity, which will include LGBT issues.

The council’s chief executive Colin Carmichael told the BBC:

“We hope that the Ombudsman’s conclusion draws a line under this particular episode.

“We will, however, continue to work closely with the local LGBT community in identifying particular needs and concerns and offering help whenever possible.”

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