Creating a fairer Britain
The Commission's Annual Report and Accounts for 2012/13 were laid before Parliament on 15 July 2013.
The past year has been one of significant change and progress for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, including the appointment of a new Chair and Board members. I was delighted to be invited by the Secretary of State to chair an organisation which has an important role to play in helping to make Britain a fairer and more successful country for us all.
We fulfilled our statutory role as a National Equality Body and as a United Nations National Human Rights Institution. We provided expert guidance to the private and public sectors and our expertise helped achieve important changes or clarifications to legislation, including the Human Rights Act and the Public Order Act.
We were successful in strategically important legal bearing casework on issues including the retention of personal information by public bodies and the right to privacy; the treatment of people with disabilities by the police; discrimination on the grounds of sexual identity, and the requirement to consider disability when determining housing benefit payments.
These achievements were delivered while the Commission significantly reduced its headcount, responding to government decisions on our funding. After a period of considerable uncertainty over the past two years, I am pleased to say that the Commission is now able to operate from a much more stable position. We have an agreed budget and staffing level, and a clearer agreement defining our relationship with government.
I am keen that we continue to build our partnerships with other organisations, fellow regulators, businesses and employers, and with all who can help us improve the ways in which equality standards and respect for human rights are achieved. We will be working hard to demonstrate our commitment to genuine and constructive partnerships which deliver shared aims and objectives.
The Commission relies on the continuing hard work of all our its staff and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank them all for their efforts, particularly since they have had to deal with uncertainty over their own roles.
I would also like to thank all the Commissioners who sat on the previous Board, and in particular Trevor Phillips and Baroness Margaret Prosser for their many achievements while leading the Commission since its creation in 2007.
Baroness Onora O'Neill CBE, Chair
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