Government Red Tape Challenge

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

Government response to consultation on repeal of two enforcement provisions

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) logo.

In October 2012, the Government published its response to the consultation on proposals to repeal the following two measures from the Equality Act 2010:

  • employment tribunals’ power to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases
  • the procedure for obtaining information

The response confirms the Government’s intentions to repeal these measures.

The Executive summary states (page 4):

We received a total of 157 responses to this joint consultation. Of those, 18 (12%) were in favour of repealing the wider recommendations provisions and 125 (79%) were opposed.24 (15%) were in favour of repealing the obtaining information provisions and 130 (83%) were opposed. All business representative organisations supported repeal.

Responses which agreed to the proposed repeals came mostly from private and not-for profit sector employers and business representative organisations. Responses which disagreed with our proposals were mainly on behalf of unions, equality lobby groups, staff associations, the judiciary and members of the public.

Very few of the responses, both those opposed to and those in favour of repeal have offered significant quantifiable evidence or specific evidence based on actual situations and outcomes, to support their views.

The changes will be made through amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Click here for details on the Home Office website

Click here for Impact Assessment of removing the provisions in the Equality Act 2010 on the obtaining information procedure

Click here for ‘Equality Act 2010: employment tribunals’ power to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases and obtaining information procedure. Government response to the consultation’ (pdf)

Click here for TUC press release on 10 October 2012

Click here for EDF response to the consultation (submitted in July 2012)

Please also see EDF briefing on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Government response to consultation on employer liability for harassment

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) logo.

In October 2012, the Government published its response to the consultation on employer liability for harassment of employees by third parties.

The response confirms the Government’s intention to repeal the measure.

The Executive summary states (p4):

Of the 80 responses to this consultation, 16 (20%) agreed our proposal for repeal and 57 (71%) opposed it. Responses which agreed with the proposals came mostly from individual public, private and not-for profit sector employers and business organisations, although two individuals responded on their own behalf.

All business representative organisations supported repeal. Responses which disagreed with our proposal were mainly on behalf of public sector employers, unions and equality lobby groups. The small number of responses from legal organisations and bodies with legal expertise discussed legal arguments about the compatibility of our proposal with compliance with the relevant European Directives, and the extent to which the possible alternative avenues of legal redress might apply. Some legal respondents had represented either employees or employers in situations where accusations of harassment by a third party had been made. Invariably however, these were either settled without reaching an employment tribunal, or withdrawn.

Very few of the responses, whether from those opposed to or those in favour of repeal, offered quantifiable evidence or specific evidence based on actual situations and outcomes to support their views. It is clear that the legislation in its existing form is widely considered unsatisfactory, both by those favouring repeal (who want it to be scrapped) and those opposing repeal (who would like it to be strengthened and clarified). Several responses misunderstood the concept of third party harassment, and a larger number misunderstood its intention, which is to make the employer liable in specific situations, and not as a general way of encouraging employers to treat their employees better.

Taken as a whole, this response has not persuaded the Government that there is a need to re-think the proposals on which it consulted in May.

The changes will be made through amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Click here for ‘Equality Act 2010: Employer liability for harassment of employees by third parties Government response to the consultation’ (pdf)

Click here for TUC press release on 10 October 2012

Click here for EDF response to the consultation (submitted in August 2012)

Please also see EDF briefing on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

EDF and other responses to Commission on a Bill of Rights: ‘A Second Consultation’

The EDF logo.

In September 2012, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) submitted its response to the Commission on a Bill of Rights’ second consultation.

EDF member and NGO observer organisations have also responded to the consultation.

The deadline for responding was 30 September 2012.

Click here for details of consultation

Click here for EDF response

Click here for response by the End Violence Against Women Coalition

Click here for response by Macmillan Cancer Support

Click here for response by René Cassin

Click here for response by Professor Francesca Klug and Amy Ruth Williams, London School of Economics

Modern workplaces – the Government’s response on equal pay audits

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) logo.

In June 2012, the Government published a response to the Equal Pay section of the Modern Workplaces consultation.

The response confirms that the Government will go ahead with the  proposal to allow Tribunals to impose pay audits on those who have broken the law.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) will undertake further consultation on the exact contents of pay audits and the publication requirements.

Background:

The Modern Workplaces consultation was published on the 16 May 2011 and closed on 8 August 2011. The consultation  sought views on four key areas: Introducing a new system of flexible parental leave which will allow mothers and fathers to share leave, and give parents and employers greater choice about how leave is taken; on how to extend the right to flexible working to all employees; Updating the Working Time Regulations to reflect European judgments and introducing further measures to promote equal pay.

Click here for ‘Modern Workplaces. Government Response. Consultation on: Equal Pay’

Click here for details of the consultation on Modern Workplaces

Commission on a Bill of Rights: Responses to the 2011 Discussion Paper

Commission on a Bill of Rights

In August 2012, the Commission on a Bill of Rights published the responses to its August 2011 Discussion Paper.

Click here for Discussion Paper responses

The Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) responded to the 2011 Discussion Paper asking ‘Do we need a UK Bill of Rights?’ EDF also produced a template response to help migrant community (and other) organisations respond to the Discussion Paper and published a briefing on human rights and the Commission on a Bill of Rights. The briefing, by Colm O’Cinneide with appendices by Liberty and Helen Wildbore, was written as a resource for EDF members, observers and other NGOs. EDF thanks Colm, Liberty and Helen for providing this extremely useful and timely source of information.

Click here for EDF response to the Commission on a Bill of Rights Discussion Paper

Click here for EDF template response (Word)

Click here for blog by Emma Taggart on the Migrants’ Rights Network

Click here for EDF briefing ‘Human rights and the Commission on a Bill of Rights’ (Word)

A number of organisations, including EDF members and observers, responded to the discussion paper:

Click here for British Humanist Association response

Click here for the Equal Rights Trust response

Click here for Equality and Human Rights Commission response

Click here for Equality South West letter

Click here for Freedom from Torture response

Click here for JUSTICE response

Click here for JUST West Yorkshire response

Click here for Liberty response and click here for article by Liberty’s Director, Shami Chakrabarti, in the Guardian on 14 November 2011

Click here for Macmillan Cancer Support response

Click here for Migrants’ Rights Network response

Click here for Mind response

Click here for National AIDS Trust response

Click here for Radar response

Click here for RenéCassin response

Click here for Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) response

Click here for Shelter response

Click here for TUC response

Click here for Unlock Democracy response

The independent Commission to investigate the case for a UK Bill of Rights was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke on 18 March 2011.

Click here for EDF item about the launch of the Commission and responses from EDF and other organisations

Click here for Commission on a Bill of Rights discussion paper (pdf)

Click here for Commission on a Bill of Rights website

Responses to the Scottish Government consultation on civil partnerships and same sex marriage

The Scottish Government logo

On 25 July 2012, the Scottish Government published ‘Consultation on the registration of civil partnership and same sex marriage – responses from organisations’.

In September 2011, the Scottish Government launched a consultation on the registration of civil partnerships and same sex marriage. The consultation paper asked for views on the possibility of allowing religious ceremonies for civil partnerships and the possible introduction of same sex marriage. It closed on 9 December 2011.

Click here for details

EDF and other responses to Government consultation on harassment

The EDF logo.

On 7 August 2012, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) responded to the Government consultation on employer liability for harassment of employees by third parties.

A number of EDF member and NGO observer organisations also responded to the consultation.

On 15 May the Government published ‘Equality Act 2010 — employer liability for harassment of employees by third parties: A consultation’. The consultation closed on 7 August 2012.

Click here for consultation document (pdf)

Click here for EDF response

Click here for the Disability Charities Consortium response

Click here for Discrimination Law Association response

Click here for Equality and Human Rights Commission response

Click here for Equanomics response

Click here for TUC response

EDF and other responses to consultation on repeal of two enforcement provisions

The EDF logo.

On 20 July 2012, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) submitted its response to the consultation on the repeal of two enforcement provisions.

A number of EDF member and other organisations also responded to the consultation.

On 15 May 2012 the Government published ‘Equality Act 2010. Removing: (a) employment tribunals’ power to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases; and (b) the procedure for obtaining information: A consultation’. The consultation closed on 7 August 2012.

Click here for details of consultation

Click here for consultation (pdf)

Click here for EDF response

Click here for Disability Charities Consortium response

Click here for Discrimination Law Association response (questionnaire procedure)

Click here for Discrimination Law Association response (enforcement)

Click here for response from the Employment Tribunals President

Click here for Equality and Human Rights Commission response

Click here for Equanomics response

Click here for the Local Government Association response

Click here for NHS Employers’ response

Click here for Odysseus Trust response

Click here for RNIB response

Click here for TUC response

Commission on a Bill of Rights: second consultation paper

Commission on a Bill of Rights

On 11 July 2012, the Commssion on a Bill of Rights published its second consultation paper.

The Commission was established by the UK Government in March 2011 primarily to investigate the creation of a UK Bill of Rights.

With less than six months to go until it must report, the Commission has decided to publish a second consultation paper as a further opportunity to solicit views on a number of the key issues covered by its terms of reference.

The Commission states that ‘if you responded to our first consultation last summer or have otherwise already conveyed your views to us, you do not need to repeat what you have already said which we have already taken very carefully into account’.

The deadline for responding to the consultation paper was 30 September 2012.

Click here for details of consultation