Strategic priority 4

Promote understanding and awareness of rights and duties – deliver timely and accurate advice and guidance to individuals and employers

Rationale

  • The Commission has to ensure that every organisation does what is required of it in law, and that their duties are fulfilled in relation to equality legislation and the Human Rights Act. The Commission is the custodian of Britain's equality and human rights enactments - along with the Scottish Human Rights Commission in Scotland - and our role is to provide timely, accessible and authoritative guidance on the law, while encouraging the exchange and development of best practice in areas such as involvement and consultation.
  • At the same time, we need to work with organisations and communities, not set ourselves against them. We recognise that the culture of public and private sector organisations is ever-changing. As organisations become more flexible and adaptive, we will need a different approach to equality and diversity.
  • The Commission's approach will be to reward excellence among equality 'leaders', incentivise the 'willing but nervous' to improve, and take appropriate and proportionate action against 'laggards' who breach their statutory duties. It is important that the Commission provides regular, accessible updates on legislative developments, case law and enforcement action through a variety of channels so that it can be readily put into practice, particularly among Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. This will include a significant body of statutory and non statutory guidance in relation to the new Equality Act.
  • We will work with others including key partners such as ACAS, the trade unions, and business organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry, and the various trade associations covering the professions, manufacturing and service industries. All public and private sector organisations must carry out their duties under the law.
  • The individual's right to redress remains paramount. However, the Commission believes that advice and guidance are often best provided through intermediaries such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and community law centres, and that our role is to provide effective oversight to ensure an adequate infrastructure of advice and access to justice across Britain.

Last Updated: 21 Jul 2009