July 2011

Welcome to the July edition of the Commission's email newsletter, Equality and Human Rights News

Public Sector Equality Duties

Report on health sector

This report, produced in partnership with Focus Consultancy for the Commission, examines performance on the former race, disability and gender equality duties by Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts in England. These duties were replaced by the new public sector equality duty in April 2011. The research found that significant work still needs to be done to ensure identifiable changes to health outcomes for different groups. The report is accompanied by a policy paper with recommendations on how health bodies can meet their obligations under the new equality duty.
Read more about the health sector report

Human Rights Review

Latest update

This month we have been consulting with stakeholders to test our analysis of key human rights issues against the day to day reality of delivering public services on the ground and the experiences of those at particular risk of having their human rights denied. The roundtables focused on human rights issues related to criminal justice, health and social care and children’s rights.
Read more about these events and the Human Rights Review.

Careers guidance

'Aspiration gap'

On 12 July the Commission launched a report looking at careers education and guidance which shows there is an aspiration gap for some young people and specific barriers facing different groups. The report, launched in Parliament, builds on evidence from the Commission's 'How Fair is Britain?' report and provides strong evidence that careers education and guidance affects the aspirations, subject, career choices and future progression for different groups of young people.
Read more about the careers guidance report

Religion or belief

'Reasonable accommodation'

In its application to intervene in four cases at the European Court of Human Rights – all involving religious discrimination in the workplace – the Commission has asserted that the law has been interpreted too narrowly. The Commission will propose the idea of 'reasonable accommodations' that will help employers and others manage how they allow people to manifest their religion or belief.
Read more about 'reasonable accommodations'

More news

Supreme Court decision in McDonald care case

The Supreme Court turned down Miss McDonald's appeal, funded by the Commission, for an overnight carer to help her use a commode.John Wadham, Group Director Legal, said: 'We are disappointed with today's ruling which is a significant setback for people who receive care in their home.'
Read more about the McDonald ruling

Equality in the construction sector

The Commission has produced research examining good equality and diversity practice in the construction industry. It explores the benefits of implementing good diversity and equality practice in relation to race, gender, disability and age and presents a framework for action.
Read more about the construction guidance

Collecting information on gender identity

Research to develop new gender identity questions that can be used by public bodies when carrying out equality monitoring, has recently been published by the Commission.
Read more about the research report and summary report

Equality for children: new Measurement Framework

The Commission has developed a Children's Measurement Framework to monitor and evaluate progress towards achieving equality and human rights for children in Britain.
Read more about the Measurement Framework

Use of Mosquito devices

The Commission has written to the Government to advise that, in our view, the indiscriminate use of Mosquito devices is not lawful. These teenager-dispersal devices emit an unpleasant, very high-pitched noise which only young people can hear.
Read more about Mosquitos

Refugees, migrants and the public sector equality duty

Who's Still Missing?, published by the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF), explores what lessons can be learnt from the implementation of the previous race equality duty and consider how public authorities can most effectively use the new public sector equality duty to address the needs of refugee and migrant communities.
Read more about the EDF report

Public sector equality duty: Specific duties

The specific duties regulations are currently in draft form. They were laid before Parliament on 27 June 2011 and debated in the House of Commons on 11 July 2011. The House of Lords debate is expected to take place in September 2011 and the specific duties will come into force following parliamentary approval.
Read more about the public sector equality duty

Our statement on the Red Tape Challenge

The Red Tape Challenge represents an opportunity for an open discussion on the effect of a range of regulations, including the Equality Act 2010. We are pleased that the government has indicated that as part of the Red Tape Challenge consultation, it remains strongly committed to equality and does not plan to abolish the Equality Act.
Read more about our Red Tape Challenge statement

Improving education for Roma students and children

The European Commission has issued a Call for Proposals (an invitation to submit ideas) to develop and implement educational and other policy measures to raise the participation and attainment levels of Roma students and children.
Read more about the Call for Proposals

Scotland news

Housing and human rights

As part of the launch of our 'Human Rights at Home' guidance, the Commission's Scotland legal team worked in partnership with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations to hold a half day conference on the practical implications of human rights and public sector duties to an audience of Scottish social landlords.
Read more about the housing guidance

Scotland Business Plan 2011/12

The Scotland Directorate have launched their Business Plan for 2011/12. The plan concentrates on higher impact activities including supporting the development of a new vision for 2015, driving effective implementation of the Equality Act and promoting  the use of the Triennial Review 'How Fair is Britain?' as evidence to influence and inform policy making.
Read more about the Business Plan

Wales news

Equality Exchange conference

As a follow up to our publications 'How fair is Wales?' and 'An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in Wales', the Commission in Wales held a conference in June entitled 'Equality: Meet the Challenge, Lead the Change'. Delegates looked at how making small changes can tackle entrenched inequalities, using evidence to drive change and to developing strategies to engage people with influence to take forward our agenda. 
Read more about the Equality Exchange conference

Welsh Government's AM's reception

Jane Hutt, the Wales minister for finance and for equalities, has reaffirmed her commitment to the equalities agenda and stressed the importance of the partnership between the Welsh Government and the Commission. She said, 'The Welsh Government is clear that we want delivery at the heart of everything we do and we want to continue the good work delivered so far in Wales. There is no doubt that the good relationship we have with the Wales EHRC has meant that a number of significant initiatives were delivered for the people of Wales.'


Free workshop: Drivers for Supplier Diversity

Date: 19 September 2011
Time: 10 am - 2 pm (Lunch will be provided)
Location: the Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London
The aims of this workshop are to identify and better understand the drivers for supplier diversity, and how these can be used to promote the inclusion of under-represented businesses in supply chains in both the public and private sectors.
Read more about this workshop

Conference: Fairness, Justice and Human Rights: Realising Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) in the UK

Date: 21 and 22 October 2011
Location: Law Society of England and Wales
The conference, organised by Just Fair in partnership with the Commission, the Law Society of England and Wales, and the Human Rights Centre (University of Essex), will enable delegates to exchange views and consider the problems and prospects for the effective enjoyment of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the UK.
Read more about the ESCR conference

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