Parliamentary committee report on ‘Women in Workplace’

The House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee published its First Report on Women in Workplace in June 2013.

The report’s recommendations include:

Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

14. The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) is a useful tool to ensure that public bodies take steps to secure parity in pay, and in other terms and conditions of employment. The Government is nearing the end of a year-long review of the Public Sector Equality Duty—even though it was only introduced in 2011—in the interests of removing unnecessary burden on businesses and organisations. We do not believe that the Public Sector Equality Duty is an unnecessary burden on employers, but is a vital tool for the collation of evidence and for ensuring that steps are taken with the aim of achieving parity. The Government should send a clear message that the PSED is valued. We urge the Government to retain the PSED in its current form, unless a full analysis of its compliance by public bodies has been carried out by the EHRC, and the results of that analysis point towards the need for change. Published statistical analysis should be at the heart of that review. (Paragraph 70)

15. The Equality and Human Rights Commission needs to improve its performance in relation to the monitoring and assessment of compliance of the Public Sector Equality Duty. It should use its powers to issue compliance notices to those public bodies that have failed to comply with the PSED. The Government should give a clear statement of support for the EHRC in exercising these duties. (Paragraph 71)

Equality Impact Assessments

16. Equality Impact Assessments shine a light on the differing impacts of decisions, policies and practices adopted by large organisations, identifying those which might help to advance gender equality as well as those which adversely impact on particular groups. Given the fact that large companies have Human Resource departments that hold the relevant data, they are relatively easy to undertake, and they provide a positive context in which to work. We urge the Government to reconsider its decision to ‘call time’ on the undertaking of Equality Impact Assessments. This change in policy is in direct contradiction with the Government’s other measures directed at achieving equality in the workplace. (Paragraph 73)

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Click here for Guardian article by Adrian Bailey MP, chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee and a Labour and Co-operative MP (20 June 2013)