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. She could not have engaged less with the substantive points we’re making. The letter 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.

6 thoughts on “A contemptuous response from Samantha Beckett, Director General, Economics & Markets, DBIS

  1. I think we can be sure that if she’d had any business experience of the slightest note, she’d have included it in her biography. And she doesn’t. Given her position, she should be fighting tooth and nail against the government’s assault on the FTSE100. Instead she’s clearly supporting it, along with everyone else in the DBIS, so far as I can see. I’m not aware of a single politician or civil servant connected with the DBIS who’s spoken out against the government’s initiative. Shame on the lot of them.

  2. PS: What relevant business experience does this career bureaucrat have? I’ve been looking for links on-line but there’s very little about her and what is available says almost nothing about her background.

  3. coincidentally at the moment i am reading a very similar psychological scenario in the novel ATLAS SHRUGGED by the american political philosopher and novelist AYN RAND…..she describes an advanced capitalist society that willingly embraces its own decline and ruin in order to accommodate a bizarre irrational cult ideology which slowly and ruthlessly takes over the whole country; not feminism in this case but rather a kind of……actually check out the book! it gives powerful(albeit indirect) insights into the way feminism rots society away from within….

  4. Well, to be fair I suppose that she didn’t actually spray you with RAID. I suspect though that this omission has more to do with inability to fathom the workings of an aerosol can than with any sense of respect. She could not have been more dismissive and, in being so, reveals total arrogance and unwillingness to engage. That kind of behaviour is usually a thin veneer of bravado covering an indefensibly weak position. I would love to hear Sammykin’s position on forced sex quotas in the appointment of, for example, Brain Surgeons – or perhaps there she would prefer to defer to merit, competence and experience?

  5. I’m not being disingenuous when I write that I’m shocked by the arrogant and contemptuous tone of that letter.

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