Taskforce set up to deliver one-stop shop for equality issues

The
Government has announced a new taskforce that will advise on the best way to
create a single equality body to tackle all forms of discrimination in the
workplace.

Jacqui
Smith, deputy minister for women and equality said the people on the taskforce
would help develop the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights which would
champion equality and promote equality and diversity throughout society.

The
new commission will draw together the work of existing equality commissions and
provide support for the new groups receiving protection under equality
legislation on the grounds of sexual orientation, religion and belief and age.

As
a single, focal point, it will be designed to provide more joined-up support
and advice to individuals, businesses and communities.

"Tackling
discrimination in the 21st Century requires a joined-up approach that puts
equality in the mainstream of concerns," said Smith. "The Taskforce
members have been chosen to reflect different equality interests. They will
advise me on key issues ahead of a White Paper next spring."

Smith
will chair the taskforce, while the other members are: Lucy Anderson, TUC;
Amanda Ariss, Equal Opportunities Commission; Mohammed Aziz, British Muslim
Research Council; Neil Bentley, CBI; Frances Butler, British Institute of Human
Rights; Katie Ghose, Age Concern; Lorraine Gradwell, Small Business Council
(DTI); Patrick Grattan, Third Age Employment Network; Ros Hardie Ejiohuo,
London Borough of Croydon; Tessa Harding, Help the Aged; Rev John Kennedy, Churches
Together in Britain and Ireland; Francesca Klug, London School of Economics;
Michelynn Lafleche, Runnymede Trust; Nick O’Brien, Disability Rights
Commission; Colm O’Cinneide, University College London; Brian Pearce,
Interfaith Network; Katherine Rake, Fawcett Society; Teresa Rees, University of
Cardiff; Andy Rickell, British Council of Disabled People; Pam Smith,
Commission for Racial Equality; Sarah Spencer, University of Oxford; Hanne
Stinson, British Humanist Association; Ben Summerskill, Stonewall; John Wilkes,
Equality Coordinating Group; and Mandy Wright, Employers’ Organisation for
Local Government.

By Ross Wigham

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