In March 2012, the Government published a new planning policy for traveller sites and the final equality impact assessment for the new policy.
The Government also published a summary of responses to its public consultation on the draft new planning policy for traveller sites.
Click here for details of planning policy
Click here for details of summary of consultation responses
In March 2012, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced that it is no longer able to proceed with plans for further statutory codes of practice on the Public Sector Equality Duty.
The EHRC website states:
We were intending to produce further statutory codes of practice on the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which came into force on 5 April 2011, and codes for the Further and Higher Education (FEHE) sector and schools.
Unfortunately, we are no longer able to proceed with these plans. The Government is keen to reduce bureaucracy around the Equality Act 2010, and feels that further statutory guidance may place too much of a burden on public bodies. Although the Commission has powers to issue codes, it cannot do so without the approval of the Secretary of State, as we are reliant upon government to lay codes before parliament, in order for them to be statutory.
It is the Commission’s view that, rather than creating a regulatory burden, statutory codes have a valuable role to play in making clearer to everyone what is and is not needed in order to comply with the Equality Act. However, as this is no longer an option, we feel the best solution is to issue our draft codes as non statutory codes instead. These non statutory codes will still give a formal, authoritative, and comprehensive legal interpretation of the PSED and education sections of the Act and will make it clear to everyone what the requirements of the legislation are.
The FEHE and schools underwent a full consultation in 2011 in the form of draft statutory codes, and we intend to publish the revised versions as non statutory codes shortly. The draft PSED non statutory codes will be published shortly for review and we will be looking for feedback on the draft texts so that we can make sure they fully meet the needs of public bodies and other potential users.
Click here for link
In March 2012, the Government announced that it has decided to delay a decision on implementation of its proposed ban on age discrimination in the provision of services, which it had envisaged bringing into force in April 2012.
Ministers are still considering the scope for and content of any exceptions from the ban, in the light of responses to the consultation in 2011. The Government considers it preferable to take a little more time both to get the decision right and to give businesses and others affected more time to prepare and adjust as necessary.
Any ban is unlikely to come into effect before October 2012 and the Government will set out a way forward in due course.
Click here for link to statement on Government Equalities Office website
On 21 February 2012, the Department for Communities and Local Government published a strategy paper entitled ‘Creating the conditions for integration’.
The strategy document proposes that issues of social mobility, participation, sense of responsibility, common ground, extremism and intolerance are key factors in creating conditions for integration. It argues that changes to society are needed, not changes to law and pledges to create the conditions for civic leadership on integration.
The document sets out the Government’s approach to achieving a more integrated society, focusing on creating the conditions for everyone to live and work successfully alongside each other.
Click here for further details
Click here for response from Runnymede Trust and Voice4Change England
In 2011, the EDF Research Network and EDF produced a dossier of evidence and research relating to equality to inform the Government’s evaluation of the Equality Act 2010.
The Network was commissioned by the Government Equalities Office to contribute to the Government’s ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the Equality Act 2010 by collating and analysing research relevant to measures in the Act and on discrimination in general.
The findings of the project were published in a dossier to inform the Government’s evaluation and as a resource for academics and NGOs more widely.
Click here for link to dossier (pdf)
Click here for link to information on the Government Equalities Office website
In response to threats to the Human Rights Act 1998 and the establishment of the Commission on a Bill of Rights, the EDF Research Network set up a working group to provide equality and human rights organisations with accessible briefings and other materials.
A briefing on ‘Human rights and the Commission on a Bill of Rights’ was published in October 2011 to inform the policy and campaigning work of equality and human rights NGOs and enable them to respond to the Commission’s consultation.
Click here for briefing
A Court of Appeal ruling means that disabled passengers are not covered by UK law and the European Regulation on air travel.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is considering taking the case of Tony Hook against British Airways and Christopher Stott’s case against Thomas Cook to the Supreme Court.
Click here for EHRC statement
In January 2012, a jury in Derby found three men guilty of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation in the first criminal conviction in Britain for this offence.
Click here for details of the case on the Equal Rights Trust website
On 17 January 2012, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced that it would use the first two age discrimination cases to be heard by the UK’s Supreme Court to argue that an exception to the law banning age discrimination in employment is in urgent need of clarification.
Click here for announcement
The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities Third Opinion on the United Kingdom was adopted on 30 June 2011.
Comments of the Government of the UK on the Third Opinion were received on 4 January 2012.
Click here for link to Third Opinion
Click here for link to Comments