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Equality information on our services and use of our legal and regulatory powers

Equality information on our services

The Commission routinely collates information disaggregated by protected characteristic about our services and our use of our legal powers. This includes equality information relating to:

  • our specialist legal helpline and website.
  • Legal casework and interventions.
  • Enforcement and compliance actions.

We collate equality information in relation to service access and usage (and satisfaction) including complaints as well as the success rates and outcomes of the legal cases we support and enforcement action we take.

We use this information to:

  • Establish who is accessing our services to identify whether there is any under-representation for people with the different protected characteristics.
  • Understand the needs of our service users and whether there is any disadvantage faced by people with the different protected characteristics.
  • Benchmark our performance against organisations providing similar services to identify areas for improvement.

We also use equality information about our services when making decisions regarding any potential changes to them. This information is used as part of the consideration of the impact these changes may have on the different protected groups.

We continue to review our equality monitoring in relation to the equality profile of service users to improve declaration rates.

This information is published in our annual equality reports, together with our equality priorities and improvement actions.

Use of our legal powers

The Commission has a unique set of legal powers to enforce equality laws, eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, promote good relations and protect human rights. We only use our legal powers where other approaches are not effective, and normally in support of strategic objectives with wider impacts than individual cases.

The criteria we use to determine whether to provide assistance to individuals, support or intervene in legal proceedings or take enforcement action, is set out in our litigation and enforcement policy.

We collate equality monitoring information in relation to the legal assistance we provide on both the equality profile of the individuals being supported as well as the protected characteristic the matter relates to. We also collate information on the outcomes of the cases and whether our objectives for providing assistance were met.

A summary of the equality information relating to the use of our legal powers is published in our annual equality and diversity report.

More detailed information is provided in the regular legal enforcement updates published on our website: legal enforcement updates.

Regulatory decisions

The Commission's regulatory functions and powers are set out in the Equality Act, 2006.

For us, the purpose of regulation is to change behaviour in society and to prevent and stop unlawful actions through working with individuals and organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. We do this to improve equality, human rights and good relations in society. Regulation does not just mean legal enforcement action such as inquiries and investigations. It also means providing advice, raising awareness and understanding, transferring expertise and supporting organisations in their efforts to comply with the law.

In short, we have a range of tools we can use, and we will always choose the method that will work best in each circumstance. We base our actions on evidence and an assessment of what is in the public interest. In so doing, we are bound by the Hampton Code of Practice for Regulators, which outlines five principles of good regulation: proportionality, accountability, consistency, transparency and targeting. Our regulatory principles are set out in our strategic plan.

Last updated: 05 Feb 2020