A national campaign to end female genital mutilation was launched in February 2017, to coincide with the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Freedom Charity, in partnership with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, aims to encourage people to provide the police with information to help detect and prevent FGM in the UK and abroad. Aneeta Prem, Freedom Charity’s founder, said:
“Through education we can stop FGM in a generation. Through teaching we can explain the long-term health dangers and dispel the myths that have kept this barbaric practice alive. The help of boys as well as girls is needed to change opinions. We are asking that people wear the red triangle badge to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a consultation into its measurement framework in January 2017.
In the past, the Commission worked with four frameworks to give a picture of progress across important areas of life in Britain. They are now seeking views on the development of a single measurement framework for equality and human rights.
The single measurement framework will be based on the human rights indicator framework developed by the United Nations. It will provide evidence on structure (the human rights and equality standards the UK must follow), process (what is being done to meet the standards) and outcomes (the experiences of individuals and groups).
It will focus on six ‘domains’, which reflect the areas in life that are important to people and help them to succeed:
- living standards and social care
- security and justice
- participation and private life
Relevant documents are available in both English and Welsh. Written responses are welcomed with a closing date of 21 February 2017.
The Legal Education Foundation published the latest update to their report on the digital delivery of legal services to people on low incomes in January 2017. This report, updated quarterly by Roger Smith OBE, included contributions on:
- Drivers for change, including crowd funding and bots;
- Artificial intelligence;
- Online dispute resolution;
- Developments in progress;
- The standards and evaluation of new initiatives;
- Technology, legal education and training; and
- Organisation and leadership.
Read previous editions:
The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness was launched in January 2017. It aims to start a national conversation about the scale and impact of loneliness in the UK.
The cross-party campaign is co-chaired by Seema Kennedy MP (Conservatives) and Rachel Reeves MP (Labour); and works in partnership with Action for Children, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, The British Red Cross, The Campaign to End Loneliness, Carers UK, The Co-op, Eden Project Communities, Independent Age, Refugee Action, Royal Voluntary Service, Sense and The Silver Line.
Volunteers can share their pledges to the campaign using the hashtag .
Read reporting by the BBC and the Telegraph.
The Women and Equalities Select Committee published a report on equalities impact assessments around the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement in November 2016. The Government responded in January 2o17.
The report says that the Government must do more to demonstrate that it has fulfilled its obligations to assess the equalities impacts of future Spending Reviews, Budgets and Autumn Statements.
The Committee recommended that to maintain public confidence that the Public Sector Equality Duty is being fulfilled:
- The Treasury should be independently evaluated on how robustly it has complied with that duty in the 2015 Spending Review process, and how it can improve its equalities analysis;
- This evaluation should be carried out by an organisation with the requisite level of expertise; and
- Similar evaluations should be commissioned for the equality analyses accompanying all future spending rounds and fiscal events.
The Government later responded to the report: “The Select Committee report helps highlight the importance of Government ensuring that its policies promote fairness (including for those people sharing protected characteristics) and of the role of transparency and accountability. These principles have been adhered to in respect of funding and policy announcements made at the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement, other fiscal events, and in broader policy announcements.”
“We take a different view to the committee in regard to the Government’s record on transparency in respect of decisions taken at the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement. We believe the evidence demonstrates a positive record here and as a result, we do not agree that independent assessments are necessary at this time or that they would add useful value.”
Action on Hearing Loss launched their campaign ‘Working for Change‘ and corresponding report ‘Working for Change: Improving attitudes to hearing loss in the workplace‘ in January 2017.
Action on Hearing Loss said that: “Working for Change will help employers to feel confident about recruiting people with hearing loss as well as overcoming some common myths about hearing loss and employment – and show them how to support employees who already have, or will develop, a hearing loss.
In our previous research in 2014, eight out of ten respondents said that employer attitudes towards hearing loss was a major barrier in the workplace. For this campaign, we wanted to delve deeper into this. We commissioned YouGov to survey business leaders and we interviewed people in business to identify good practice that can be replicated across the country. Our research found that:
- There’s a lack of confidence in employing people with hearing loss
- Employers perceive there to be a lack of advice and support available about employing people with hearing loss
- There’s a lack of awareness of the government’s Access to Work scheme among employers, which can help meet the costs of reasonable adjustments to the workplace
- Employers are not yet prepared to support an ageing workforce.”
Watch the Working for Change launch in British Sign Language.
Acas and the Government Equalities Office published guidance on managing gender pay gap reporting in the private and voluntary sectors in January 2017. This report follow.d the amendment to the law in August 2016, requiring all employers with more than 250 employees to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women
More information, including factsheets and a notification template, is available on the Acas website.
- An employer must comply with the regulations for any year where they have a ‘headcount’ of 250 or more employees on 5 April, but employers of all sizes should consider the advantages.
- A wider definition of who counts as an employee is used here (from the Equality Act 2010). This means that workers are included, as well as some self-employed people. Agency workers are included, but counted by the agency providing them.
- These regulations apply to the private and voluntary sectors but the government is aiming to include the public sector by April 2017 too.
- Gender pay reporting is a different requirement to carrying out an equal pay audit.
- There are six calculations to carry out, and the results must be published on the employer’s website and a government website within 12 months. They must be confirmed by an appropriate person, such as a chief executive.
- Employers have the option to provide a narrative with their calculations. This should generally explain the reasons for the results and give details about actions that are being taken to reduce or eliminate the gender pay gap.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an initiative to provide funding for front line advice and representation for disability discrimination claims in January 2017.
The Commission says: “The work we will fund under this pilot must be carried out by 31st March 2017. So, we’d really like you to contact us with requests for funding by email (email@example.com) or by calling us on 0161 829 8407 as soon as possible – and, ideally, by no later than 3rd February 2017.”
The Fawcett Society launched a review into sex discrimination law in post-Brexit Britain in January 2017. The review will also consider current laws and how to best balance the rights of the individual with the responsibilities of the organisation.
The review was headed by Dame Laura Cox DBE (a retired High Court Justice) and co-ordinated by our Legal Fellow, Gay Moon. Particular focus was given to:
- Employment law and discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination, sexist dress codes, equal pay and pension provision;
- The application of the definition of indirect discrimination;
- Family friendly rights for parents and carers, including possible consolidation;
- Harassment, including on the internet and social media;
- Hate crime and its limits;
- Multiple discrimination, particularly intersectional discrimination and whether Section 14 of the Equality Act 2010 in its current form is sufficient;
- Public sector equality duty and specific duties; and
- The balance of individual rights vs the responsibility of the organisation to promote equality.
Find more information on the Fawcett Society website.
Dame Christine Lenehan was asked by the Department of Health to take a strategic overview and recommend what practical action could be taken to co-ordinate care, support and treatment for children and young people with complex needs (and behaviour that challenges) involving mental health problems and learning disabilities and/or autism.
Her review, published in January 2017, made 11 recommendations for improvement. Lenehan noted “children deserve to have their rights promoted, their voices heard and develop to their full potential as per our obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”