WEC inquiry and report: Building for Equality – Disability and the Built Environment

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The Women and Equalities Committee published a report on disability and the built environment in April 2017

The accessibility of our homes, buildings and public spaces is an issue not just for those of us with a permanent physical disability. With an ageing population, it is likely that more and more of us will experience reduced mobility in our lifetime. Continue reading “WEC inquiry and report: Building for Equality – Disability and the Built Environment”

Justice Committee inquiry on courts and tribunals fees and charges – oral evidence session

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The House of Commons Justice Committee published its Second Report of Session 2016–17, Courts and tribunals fees on 20 June 2016, as HC 167.

According to the report, major changes are urgently needed to restore an acceptable level of access to the employment tribunals system. The introduction of issue fees and hearing fees for claimants in employment tribunals in July 2013 has led to a drop of almost 70% in the number of cases brought.

The Government responded to the report in November 2016, replying to the key recommendations and conclusions, including on employment tribunals, divorce petition fees, and fees for immigration and asylum appeals. It accepted the Committee’s recommendation not to increase fees for money claims without completing a review of their impact.

Bob Neill MP, Chair of the Justice Committee, said the following in relation to the Government’s response: “It is disappointing that the Government Response is so negative in respect of the Justice Committee’s recommendations; perhaps more concerning is that it is almost offensively perfunctory, appearing to have been rushed out at short notice and giving little evidence of attention paid to the Committee’s detailed evidence and analysis. This is all the more surprising given that Government has had more than four months to produce this reply. I therefore intend to raise this matter and possible further steps with the Committee at our next meeting.”

The Committee has arranged to take oral evidence from Sir Oliver Heald QC MP, Minister of State for Courts and Justice, in a one-off evidence session on Wednesday 14 December at 4.00pm, to discuss the Government Response.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting. There is no system of tickets or advance booking for seats in the public section of the committee room, but there is normally no problem in seating all members of the public who wish to attend. Please advise security staff that you are attending a committee meeting and they will direct you. You should allow at least 20 minutes to go through security.


Background information

In July 2015, the House of Commons Justice Select Committee launched an inquiry into fees and charges in courts and tribunals.

The inquiry considered the introduction of a fee-charging regime in the employment tribunal in 2013, as well as the recent increase in fees in civil proceedings and the introduction of mandatory charges on those convicted of criminal offences.

In relation to employment tribunal fees, the inquiry asked for information specifically on whether the introduction of fees has affected access to justice and whether the volume and quality of cases brought has been affected.

The Inquiry closed on 30 September 2015.

Evidence submitted to the Inquiry was published on the Select Committee’s website in October and November 2015, including evidence submitted by the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF), the Equality and Human Rights Commission and a number of EDF members and associates.

Disability Rights UK: Leadership Academy Programme

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The Leadership Academy Programme (LAP), is a programme designed specifically for junior/middle level managers, who want to progress in their careers and have a disability or a long term health condition.

The Programme was launched in October 2014.  The aim of the Programme is to empower capable, confident disabled leaders in all sectors of employment and also address the need for greater equality in the workplace, to improve the employment position of employees living with a health condition or disability, whilst providing employers with access to a wider pool of talent.

Disability Rights UK is now recruiting for the Programme. If you are an Employer or an Employee who is interested in the Programme, please contact The Leadership Academy Executive for further information:

Email: Katrina.morris@disabilityrightsuk.org

Twitter: @LapDRUK

LinkedIn: The Leadership Academy Programme

FaceBook: Leadership-Academy KM

EHRC report on ‘Crime and disabled people’

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In September 2016, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published Crime and disabled people: Measures of disability-related harassment, 2016 update.

This report provides the latest data for England, Wales and Scotland against the following Manifesto for Change measures, with analysis of change over time:

  • number of victims of hate crimes
  • proportion of disability-related crime incidents reported to the police
  • satisfaction with police handling of crime incidents
  • experience of any crime in the previous 12 months
  • worry about being a victim of crime

A British Sign Language video of the executive summary is available.

Supporting data for the report is also available to view and download.

Call for input: research on the impact of public spending reductions on LBG&T people

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UNISON has commissioned NatCen Social Research to explore whether and how reductions to public spending of recent years have affected LBG&T people.

This study will help UNISON better understand and re-act to the effect of reductions to public spending on services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

NatCen is inviting people who have used and/or provided LGB&T services to contribute by making a short written submission (before midday on Tuesday 2o September 2016), taking part in a telephone interview or both.

Research details

Research details (pdf)

How to contribute

Government audit to tackle racial disparities in public service outcomes

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On 27 August 2016, the Prime Minister Theresa May launched an audit of public services to reveal racial disparities and to help end the injustices that many people experience.

The Prime Minister has ordered Whitehall departments to identify and publish information showing how outcomes differ for people of different backgrounds, in a range of areas including health, education and employment.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed the announcement of the audit.

UN race committee concerns about post-referendum increase in UK hate crimes

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On 16 August 2016, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published its concluding observations on the twenty-first to twenty-third periodic reports of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The report states:

The Committee is seriously concerned at the sharp increase in the number of racist hate crimes especially in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the weeks prior to and following the referendum on the membership of the European Union held on 23 June 2016. In particular, the Committee is deeply concerned that the referendum campaign was marked by divisive, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, and that many politicians and prominent political figures not only failed to condemn it, but also created and entrenched prejudices, thereby emboldening individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate towards ethnic or ethno-religious minority communities and people who are visibly different.

The Committee welcomed the Government’s plan for tackling hate crime and the Scottish National Action Plan for Human Rights but was concerned that:

the proposal to replace the Human Rights Act of 1998 with a new British Bill of Rights may lead to decreased levels of human rights protection in the State party…

The report also expresses concerns about:

the reduction of the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) following the adoption of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, as well as the reduction in the resources of the EHRC

EHRC race report: ‘Healing a divided Britain’

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On 18 August 2016, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published Healing a divided Britain: the need for a comprehensive race equality strategy.

The report represents the biggest ever review into race inequality in Great Britain, providing a comprehensive analysis on whether our society lives up to its promise to be fair to all its citizens.

It looks across every area of people’s lives including education, employment, housing, pay and living standards, health, criminal justice, and participation. It examines where we are making progress, where we are stalling and where we are going backwards or falling short.

Gender pay gap reporting: section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 enforcement

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The Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No.11) Order 2016 (SI 839/2016) brought section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 into force on 22 August 2016, allowing the draft Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 to be brought into force in due course.

This is the provision enabling Regulations to be made requiring employers with more than 250 employees to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women. A final version of the Regulations is yet to be published.

Once the new regulations come into force, which is expected to be on 1 October 2016, the Equality and Human Rights Commission will update the gender pay gap part of its website to reflect the latest legislation.