Commission assesses public authorities on published equality information.

05 December 2012

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a new report today on how public authorities in England have met their transparency obligations on equality.Just as councils publish information on their spending to prove value for money, the Commission monitors public authorities to ensure they are meeting their legal requirement to publish equality information to prove they are providing equal opportunities and making fair decisions.

The report reveals that only half of the public authorities assessed were responding fully to the requirements of the specific duty regulations1 to publish equality information such as the diversity of their staff and people who use their services.

Some of the results are encouraging - 78 per cent of authorities had taken some steps to publish equality information - but there is still a long way to go. For example, 16 per cent of public authorities had either published out of date or undated information, and six per cent hadn’t published any information at all.

Assessing how well public authorities are meeting the specific duty regulations enables the Commission to work with underperforming authorities to help them improve.

The report sets out some recommendations for public authorities. These include: identifying best practice; comparing their own performance with other authorities in their sector; and using feedback from staff and service users on their published information to identify areas for improvement.

Mark Hammond, CEO of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

'It is important that decision-makers fully understand the implications of their decisions on equality and making sure they have the right information is a first step. Publishing the information helps everyone see how they are performing.'

'Using the equality duty intelligently can help public authorities use their resources more efficiently, targeting their services towards those who could benefit the most, and potentially avoids legal costs and changes to policies at a later stage.'

Ends

For further information, please contact the Commission’s media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.

Notes to editors

The list applies to over 40,000 public authorities in England. The list of public bodies required to comply is available at: The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011

A copy of the report - Publishing Equality Information: Commitment, Engagement and Transparency, can be found on the Commission's website: Assessment of the performance of public authorities on the specific duty to publish equality information (England)

The report sets out the findings of the assessment, which was undertaken between February and April 2012. However, the Commission has noted that a number of public authorities have subsequently published some equality information.

Scotland and Wales have different specific duties placed on their public authorities and the Commission has developed a tailored approach to working with the devolved administrations.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. It took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. It encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act and is recognised by the UN as an 'A status' National Human Rights Institute. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.