Public sector Equality Duty: policy review paper on new draft specific duties

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) logo.

On 17 March 2011, Ministers made an announcement to Parliament about the new Equality Duty. They confirmed that the general duty will come into force as planned on 5 April 2011. This is a positive duty that will help public bodies to deliver effective policies and public services, while increasing transparency and democratic accountability.

Draft specific duties regulations to support the general duty were published on 12 January 2011. Since publication, the Government has considered the draft regulations further in the light of two key policy objectives: ensuring that public bodies consider equality when carrying out their functions, and not imposing unnecessary burdens and bureaucracy.

On 17 March, the Government published a policy review paper which seeks views on new draft regulations designed to free up public bodies to do what is appropriate in their circumstances, to take responsibility for their own performance, and be held to account by the public.

The closing date for responding was 21 April 2011.

From 5 April, public bodies will need to comply with the new general duty. To help public bodies understand what their legal obligations are under the general duty and how they might achieve good practice, GEO is working closely with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ensure clear, practical guidance is made available as soon as possible.

Click here for policy review paper ‘Equality Act 2010: The public sector Equality Duty: reducing bureaucracy’

Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls: Action Plan

Home Office

On 8 March 2011, Home Secretary Theresa May announced the publication of a set of supporting actions to end violence against women and girls and a full response to Baroness Stern’s review into how rape cases are handled in England and Wales.

The framework for the action plan is based on the ‘Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls’ published on 25 November 2010.

Click here for Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls: Action Plan (pdf)

Click here for ‘Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls’ published on 25 November 2010.

Click here for the government’s response to Baroness Stern’s review into how rape complaints are handled by public authorities in England and Wales

On 10 March 2011, the Home Secretary announced better support for victims of domestic violence.

Click here for announcement

Age discrimination consultation

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) logo.

On 3 March 2011, the Government published ‘Equality Act 2010: Ending age discrimination in services, public functions and associations – A consultation’.

The consultation sets out those areas where the Government believes that different treatment of people of various ages is justified; and proposes how the legislation will be drafted to take account of these.

The consultation closed on 25 May 2011.

EPSU gender pay gap report

On International Women’s Day 2011, the European federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) published a gender pay gap report.

The report highlights issues in relation to pay gap statistics, the concentration of women in low-paying jobs, part-time work or e.g. the transparency of pay systems. It shows that “the gender pay gap remains a huge obstacle to fair gender equality. It has to be tackled and addressed with effective measures, to avoid the risk that it begins to widen under current economic circumstances and austerity measures. In particular as the gender pay gap is major indicator of inequality at the workplace.”

The report is no longer available online.