The vision of the Accessible Britain Challenge is for communities to become more inclusive and accessible by engaging and working with disabled people to remove barriers that get in the way of them being full and active contributors in their community.
Mark Harper, Minister of State for Disabled People launched the Accessible Britain Challenge on Thursday 4 September 2014.
To support the challenge, the Government has also published:
Fulfilling Potential: making it happen is the Government’s disability strategy. It was launched in July 2013. In September 2014 the Government published updates on the strategy and documents showing the progress that has been made.
In August 2014, the Scottish Government called for further powers to deliver at least 40 per cent female representation on public boards.
In a letter to the Department of Culture Media and Sports, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Equalities Shona Robison calls for the transfer of competence for Equalities legislation so that Scotland can ‘take definitive positive action that will lead to meaningful change in boardrooms’.
Identifying Human Rights Stories: A scoping study by Dr Alice Donald and Elizabeth Mottershaw was published in July 2014 with the support of the Thomas Paine Initiative.
This report explores ways of generating stories that show how the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998 affects the lives of people in the UK.
On 26 August 2014, Home Secretary Theresa May officially launched a new scheme to reform police use of stop and search powers.
While stop and search is undoubtedly an important police power, when it is misused it can be counter-productive. It can be an enormous waste of police time and, when innocent people are stopped and searched for no good reason, it is hugely damaging to the relationship between the police and public.
The Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, is designed to contribute to a significant reduction in the overall use of stop and search, deliver better and more intelligence-led stop and search, and improve stop-to-arrest ratios. It will also provide the public with further information on the outcome of searches.
The Liberal Democrats policy paper: Expanding Opportunity, Unlocking Potential was published in September 2014.
This policy paper lays out what Liberal Democrats regard as some of the most pressing areas in individual and community equality today. It tackles inequality and diversity thematically addressing the themes of employment and opportunity, health and wellbeing, inclusive environments, and citizens and the State – at home and abroad. On each theme it makes a number of detailed recommendations toward eliminating the prejudice and discrimination that remains based on race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation to break down entrenched forms of privilege and inequality.
In July 2014, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) published its race equality policy paper, highlighting the need to combat prejudicial attitudes and to develop robust and reliable statistical information to better target and monitor key policies and actions.
More information about the Commission’s racial equality work is available on the website.
Legislation introduced on 16 June 2014 makes forcing someone to marry against their will a criminal offence.
The maximum penalty for the new offence of forced marriage is seven years imprisonment.
Law enforcement agencies will also be able to pursue perpetrators in other countries where a UK national is involved under new powers defined in legislation.
Home Office Circular 010/2014: new forced marriage offences provides details.
On 17 June 2014, the Council of the European Union published the Council’s 18 month programme (1 July 2014 – 31 December 2015) from the future Italian, Latvian and Luxembourg Presidencies.
Social Platform – the platform of European NGOs – published a summary of some of the priorities in the areas of justice and home affairs.
On 14 May 2014, the Joint Committee on Human Rights heard evidence from Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Mark Hammond, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Neil Crowther, a former director at the Commission, blogged about the evidence session on 22 May 2014.