A Single Equality Bill for Northern Ireland

On 21 October 2004, the Equality and Diversity Forum and JUSTICE hosted a seminar on the Northern Ireland Single Equality Bill Consultation at the offices of Clifford Chance in Canary Wharf, London.

The seminar was addressed by Evelyn Ellis, Professor of Law at Birmingham University and member of the Panel of Experts on the Consultation, and by Evelyn Collins, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission. It was attended by individuals from a range of organisations concerned with equality issues who discussed the Northern Ireland initiative and the extent to which it might be a helpful model for similar legislation in Britain. The response of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is available at www.equalityni.org

Note of meeting

EDF Conference: A New Commission for Equality and Human Rights

On 14 July 2004, the Equality and Diversity Forum, with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry, hosted a one-day conference to consider the Government’s White Paper ‘Fairness for All’ on the proposal to establish a Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

The event was attended by more than 140 individuals and representatives of organisations with an interest in the equality and human rights agenda. The Conference opened with an opportunity for participants to hear Jacqui Smith, Minister of State at the DTI, and Angela Mason, Director of the DTI’s Women and Equality Unit, speaking on the content of the White Paper. Participants were then able to put forward their own views on the White Paper in a series of workshops running throughout the day, before feeding back key points from the workshops in a plenary session attended by the Minister.

The key points in full from the Conference workshops

Text of the speech given by the Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith MP, Deputy Minister for Women and Equality

Reception with Jacqui Smith, Deputy Minister for Women and Equality

On Wednesday 7 July 2004, the Equality and Diversity Forum and the new all-party Associate Parliamentary Group (APG) on Equalities jointly hosted a reception in the Attlee Suite of the Houses of Parliament.  The event was very well attended by members of parliament, peers, Forum members, observers and correspondents, and by representatives of many organisations concerned with equality issues.

Vera Baird QC MP and Chair of the APG welcomed guests to the first major public event of the Group. The APG will play a similar role within Parliament to the Equality and Diversity Forum, in highlighting concerns about equality across the different strands, without duplicating the valuable work of existing parliamentary groups in individual areas of discrimination.

The Forum and the APG were delighted to welcome Jacqui Smith, Deputy Minister for Women and Equality. The Government had just published a White Paper on the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights. Jacqui gave a short address in which she welcomed the creation of the new Parliamentary Group and thanked Equality and Diversity Forum members for their involvement in the CEHR Task Force and their contribution to progress on the new Commission.

Equality and Diversity Forum hosts positive duty seminar

On Wednesday 11 February 2004, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) held a seminar at the Mothers’ Union in Westminster to launch ‘taking equal opportunities seriously: the extension of positive duties to promote equality’, a report by Colm O’Cinneide of University College London, commissioned by EDF with the support of the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Nuffield Foundation (click here for report). Continue reading “Equality and Diversity Forum hosts positive duty seminar”

EDF report: ‘Taking Equal Opportunities Seriously’

The EDF logo.

In 2004, the Equality and Diversity Forum, with the support of the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Nuffield Foundation, published ‘Taking Equal Opportunities Seriously: The Extension of Positive Duties to Promote Equality’, a piece of research by Colm O’Cinneide of University College London.

In contrast to the retrospective, complaints-driven approach of the existing anti-discrimination legislation, the proactive, problem-solving approach fostered by a responsibility to promote equality has obvious appeal. But what in practice does it require from employers and service providers and what can it really deliver?

Colm O’Cinneide’s study, commissioned by the Equality and Diversity Forum, addresses the question of whether employers and service providers in Britain should have a statutory duty, not only to avoid discrimination, but to promote equality on the basis of gender, disability, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief.

In addressing that question for the public and private sectors, this paper demonstrates that an equality duty represents an opportunity for individuals, organisations and employers, not a threat, and makes an important contribution to the debate on the strategic direction of equality policy.

Click here for link to report