The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has finally published its single equality scheme – three months late.
All public authorities have a duty to produce an overarching equality scheme, setting out their position for staff on race, gender, disability and other potential areas of discrimination.
The EHRC initially had a deadline of 1 January but this was extended until 1 April. The commission insisted that the period it was given to meet the deadline set by the government’s Equality Office was unrealistic.
The watchdog’s scheme goes beyond the legal requirement to address gender, disability and race and also covers issues around age, sexual orientation, religion or belief and human rights.
Some of the main priorities for action in the commission’s scheme include:
- Monitoring the effectiveness of its helpline services
- Prioritising legal cases in new areas of equality, such as sexual orientation to build case law
- Train staff on equality impact assessments and the implications
- Make sure that contractors providing goods, facilities and services to meet the commission’s procurement criteria for all equality areas.
Nicola Brewer, EHRC chief executive, said: “Like all public bodies in Britain, the commission is subject to legislation to promote disability, gender and race equality, but we are going beyond that to cover our full remit.
“It is about our employment practices, how we provide or buy services, how we work in partnership with others and how we include equality in everything we do.”