Human rights body leaves Stonewall diversity scheme

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Britain's human rights watchdog has not renewed its membership of a diversity scheme run by LGBT group Stonewall.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says it told Stonewall it would be leaving the Diversity Champions scheme in March.

Members pay Stonewall a fee and allow it to vet their internal policies, such as who can use their toilets and changing facilities.

But the EHRC says it "did not constitute best value for money".

Nancy Kelley, Stonewall's chief executive, said the charity was proud of its work supporting organisations to create inclusive working environments, but added that it was "up to individual employers how they meet their statutory requirements".

Hundreds of private and public bodies are members of Stonewall's scheme.

But the scheme is not without controversy - earlier this week an independent report commissioned by the University of Essex found that Stonewall gave it incorrect and potentially illegal advice on transgender issues.

News that the EHRC left the scheme in March comes just days after Stonewall and several other LGBT groups criticised the organisation in an open letter, saying it was not doing enough to champion LGBT rights.

The letter followed a Times interview in May in which Lady Falkner, who was appointed head of the EHRC in December, said that women must have the right to question transgender identity without being abused, stigmatised or risking losing their job.

A spokesman for the EHRC said: "We remain committed to creating an inclusive workplace that will attract people from all backgrounds, where all of our colleagues will thrive and where all LGBT employees are accepted without exception."