Camden Council has announced it will begin checking the LGBT+ credentials of businesses when issuing contracts to them.
The Labour-run council will now only work with businesses whose values align with their own.
Camden is known for its rich diversity and fostering of alternative culture, and is home to the largest market in London.
A Camden Council spokesperson said: “Camden Council, like all councils, has a long-standing expectation that all companies we work with follow the law under the Equality Act.
“We are proud of our work on equalities and inclusion.
“The change we have made is to make it clear to bidders that we can reject them if there is evidence of discrimination against anyone with a protected characteristic, in line with the Equality Act.”
The announcement has proven controversial, with many activists expressing concern and anger online and on news platforms.
Conservative MP, Jonathan Gullis, told GB News that Camden Council was virtue signalling as he felt typical Labour councils do.
He told presenters: “It’s just more of the same, rubbish, woke, virtue signalling nonsense that everyone is bored of.”
'It's just more of the same, rubbish, woke, virtue signalling nonsense that everyone is bored of'— GB News (@GBNEWS) January 2, 2024
Conservative MP, Jonathan Gullis, slams the Labour-run Camden council for 'checking the LGBT credentials of businesses' before issuing them contracts. pic.twitter.com/sTlAKsAJWy
Is it only Camden Council?
She said: “Barnet Council is committed to supporting all our communities and expects the companies it works with to comply with the Equality Act.
“Under our equality, diversity and inclusion action plan, all new contracts have performance measures built in to ensure equality issues are addressed – both at commission and throughout delivery.
“We are currently looking to build on this by exploring how we can ensure our supply chain businesses have policies in place to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.”
What does ‘checking credentials’ really mean?
When a business is seeking a contract from the Council, for the supply of goods or services of any kind, they go through a procurement process.
This is where they are vetted and assessed against other potential suppliers on their business model, their reputation, quality, etcetera.
Many companies also consider ethics and social responsibility, such as sustainability pledges made by the business, to determine the impact on their own brand identity and esteem.
Local business owner Finn Brewster Doherty said he thinks Camden Council does a very good job of promoting diversity and supporting minorities, however from a small-business perspective there are problems.
Finn said: “The way Camden Council is asking businesses to prove this, isn’t effective.
“Most small businesses just don’t have a diverse workforce simply because there aren’t enough individuals working there to be diverse and representative.
“I think for larger businesses with more employees then it does become a relevant question to be asking.”