A contemptuous response from Samantha Beckett, Director General, Economics & Markets, DBIS

Some months ago we sent a public challenge to Sajid Javid MP, Business Secretary, concerning the government’s bullying of FTSE100 companies into appointing more women onto their boards, despite unequivocal evidence (from longitudinal studies) of a causal link between driving up female representation on boards, and corporate financial decline.

The response from his department was ridiculous in the extreme, and I took many hours to critique it. I included that critique in a letter to DBIS, asking for an internal review. Our blog post with the associated documents is here.

We’ve just received an email with the outcome of that ‘review’. The letter was signed by Samantha Beckett – ‘Sam’ – Director General, Economics & Markets, and she could not have engaged less with the substantive points we’re making. It is nothing short of contemptuous. She repeats some of the points made in previous communications, which we’ve shown to be demonstrably wrong.

She ends the letter with this:

In compliance with the Act, I have conducted an internal review of the original response. In performing that review I have considered whether the original response to your request was correct.

I have carefully considered the scope of material held by the Department (BIS) which potentially falls within the ambit of your request i.e. the “evidence base”. The Act gives you the right to request information held by BIS. BIS is not, however, required to create new information (e.g. by producing new synthesis of reports) in order to answer a request. Nor is it required to reinterpret information which has been published or which it does not hold but which is available commercially elsewhere.

BIS is also not required to release information which will shortly be published if, in the department’s views, the public interest in disclosing the information is outweighed by the public interest considerations in favour of withholding the information.

Having considered the information provided in the response and in the light of your request for an internal review, I have concluded that the response met the requirements of the Act.

We shall be taking the matter to the Information Commissioner, and hope to get some engagement there.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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One Response to A contemptuous response from Samantha Beckett, Director General, Economics & Markets, DBIS

  1. Women simply aren’t as good as men at many jobs and give up too easily, claims celebrity food expert Annabel Karmel (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3262756/Women-simply-aren-t-good-men-jobs-easily-claims-celebrity-food-expert-Annabel-Karmel.html).

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