Outgoing prime minister Theresa May has announced a new independent body responsible for challenging social injustices and creating a fairer country
The Office for Tackling Injustices (OfTI) will present future governments with “more effective, data-driven, evidence-based challenge to help drive forward reforms to tackle wide-ranging disparities in society”.
“Deep-seated societal injustice requires a long-term focus and cannot be eliminated overnight,” said May. “Since becoming Prime Minister, I have challenged the injustices which still exist in our society through the power of data – from our world-leading gender pay gap reporting to the Race Disparity Unit – and I have demanded that if disparities cannot be explained, they must be changed.”
She said: “The Office for Tackling Injustices will go further, using the power of data, gathered from extensive sources, to shine a spotlight on key injustices and provide the catalyst for better policy solutions. By holding government and wider society to account, we can create lasting change.”
The Office for Tackling Injustice will give us a clearer picture of the barriers and better enable us to act against the discrimination LGBT people still face” – Ruth Hunt, Stonewall
OfTI will follow the approach taken by the Race Disparity Audit which uses data to analyse how ethnicity affects a person’s experiences of public services.
It will look at disparities in areas including socio-economic background, ethnicity, gender, disability and sexual orientation and explore if specific groups of people are unfairly discriminated against or held back from getting on in life.
Ten Downing Street said OfTI will use data to “drive government” to look at gender and disability inequalities in the workplace and in housing. Women, who generally enter the workplace with higher qualifications than men, are paid less at entry level.
Minister for women and equalities Penny Mordaunt said: “We know that high-quality data and evidence are important tools in tackling inequality. We need to know how well we are tackling injustice and the impact on people’s lives.
“The Office of Tackling Injustices will provide that accountability in the new Cabinet Office equalities hub at the heart of government.”
OfTI will sit alongside the Race Disparity Unit, the Government Equalities Office and the Office for Disability.
Maria Miller, chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee said: “The sorts of social justice issues the prime minister has highlighted require a sustained focus based on good evidence. The Women and Equalities Select Committee welcomed the approach taken by the Race Disparity Audit and I hope the Office for Tackling Injustices can take this further – with additional independent challenge.”
Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall said: “We’re really pleased that the Government is making this commitment to improve the data we have on the challenges facing LGBT communities. Reliable data on the experience of LGBT people is scarce, and there are huge difficulties gathering it.
“The Office for Tackling Injustice will give us a clearer picture of the barriers and better enable us to act against the discrimination LGBT people still face.”