On 7 April 2011, the Government launched the Red Tape Challenge on a website ‘challenging the public to help us cut unnecessary regulations’.
From 3-19 October 2011, the Red Tape Challenge ‘spotlight’ was on employment related law. From 9-30 June 2011, the ‘spotlight’ was on Equalities.
On 29 July, the Government Equalities Office gave the following update: ‘We have received approximately 7,000 comments on the Equalities theme on the Red Tape Challenge website showing huge support for the Act as a whole but also with some suggestions for improvements. We are now in the process of analysing the responses received to date to inform next steps’.
In a Government Equalities Office newsletter message on 2 June, Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities, addressed concerns about the inclusion of the Equality Act as part of the Red Tape Challenge:
‘Firstly, I would like to assure you of this Government’s strong commitment to equality. We are not changing direction on this. We set out our commitment in the Coalition Programme and Theresa May, the Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, set out the Government’s approach in more detail in the Equality Strategy published last December.
Secondly, as the website now makes clear, a particular regulation being featured on the Red Tape Challenge website should not be read as implying any intention on the part of the Government to remove that regulation.
Indeed, the Home Secretary stated in Parliament on 5 May, in reference to the Equality Act’s inclusion on the Red Tape Challenge website, that “it is not the Government’s intention to abolish the Equality Act”.
Instead, the Government wants to hear from members of the public, businesses and voluntary and community organisations about how the Act is working in practice. We want to know whether the Act could be simplified, better implemented, or if certain provisions should be dropped or amended, or whether it should be kept exactly as it is.
Any proposals for change would receive careful consideration as to whether they were proportionate, practical, beneficial and in keeping with our wider commitments and EU or domestic legal obligations. Any proposals that passed that test would need to go through the appropriate consultation and Parliamentary process.’
There is no deadline for submissions and the website is expected to be operating for two years from April 2011.
On 3 May 2011, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) wrote to the Prime Minister expressing concern that the Red Tape Challenge website canvasses views on repealing the Equality Act 2010.
The Discrimination Law Association has produced a briefing encouraging people to support the Act and explaining how to do so.
In October 2011, the TUC published a response to the Government’s Red Tape Challenge paper on employment related regulations, ‘Flexible, Effective, Fair: Promoting economic growth through a strong and efficient labour market – A consultation’.
Other organisations, including Equality and Diversity Forum members, have raised concerns about the the Red Tape Challenge.
Click here for Red Tape Challenge website
Click here for ‘How it Works’ section of the Red Tape Challenge website
Click here for EDF letter to the Prime Minister
Click here for Discrimination Law Association briefing
Click here for TUC response to ‘Flexible, Effective Fair’
Click here for Equal Rights Trust letter asking the Prime Minister David Cameron not to repeal or emasculate the Equality Act 2010