Charities should not use taxpayers’ money to pursue ‘doctrinal ends’, say MPs

Citizens Advice - Dylan News Images/Alamy Stock Photo
Citizens Advice - Dylan News Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Charities should not use taxpayers' money to pursue "contentious doctrinal ends" through running diversity training, MPs have said in the wake of a Citizens Advice Bureau row.

Tory MPs from the Common Sense Group have urged ministers to "ensure that public funds are not being used to further militant ends" by charities.

It comes after The Telegraph unearthed mandatory "woke" equality and diversity training for Citizens Advice staff. This included an optional self-help glossary of 26 key concepts to learn on topics such as gender identity and race.

One was "double consciousness", described on an attached webpage as an inward "twoness" that is "experienced by African-Americans because of their racialised oppression and disvaluation in a white-dominated society".

Another covered "TERFs", a derogatory term for gender-critical feminists who believe trans women are not biological women, as well as microaggressions and privilege.

The original glossary given to staff also listed "pinkwashing", linking to a webpage that accused Israel of attempting to legitimise targeting Palestinians, but some of the concepts were removed this month following a review.

Staff are also urged to wear pronoun badges and add pronouns to email signatures.

‘Guidance is blatantly ideological’

Sir John Hayes, the chairman of the Common Sense Group, called the guidance "blatantly ideological" and "deeply disconcerting".

In a letter to the business minister Paul Scully this week, he wrote: "As an organisation which receives significant taxpayer funding, with a funding boost of up to £15 million being given as recently as last month, I am sure that you would expect Citizens Advice to maintain the highest standards of political impartiality.

"Moreover, it would be intolerable for an organisation in receipt of substantial taxpayer funds to pursue highly contentious doctrinal ends."

It comes as 122 charities have given their staff diversity training on unconscious bias in recent years, which has raised questions of how donations are being spent.

Dame Clare Moriarty, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "We keep all of these materials under review and have recently refreshed the learning library to provide material that better meets the learning objectives of our programme.

"These are challenging issues. That's why we'll continue to listen to the views of our staff, volunteers and clients to ensure that we're an inclusive organisation for all."