Investigation into Pontins

Our action

We investigated whether Pontins discriminated against Gypsies and Travellers on the basis of race.

Read the report

Read an Easy Read summary of the report

What this covers

Our investigation considered whether Pontins committed unlawful acts under the Equality Act 2010. We looked at:

  • whether Pontins committed race discrimination against Gypsy and Traveller guests, prospective guests or their associates in how it provides its services
  • whether Pontins’ booking policies directly or indirectly discriminate on the basis of race, including a requirement that guests, or prospective guests, are on the electoral register
  • whether Pontins used its intelligence, information and record-keeping systems in a way that discriminates directly or indirectly on the basis of race

Read the full terms of reference

Why we were involved

On 22 February 2021, we entered into a legally binding agreement with Pontins for 12 months after we became aware of the use of an ‘undesirable guest’ list containing Irish surnames, raising concerns about discrimination against Gypsy and Traveller people.

Pontins agreed not to commit unlawful acts of race discrimination when providing its services and to take other steps in an action plan, including training staff and reviewing its systems and policies.

On 11 January 2022, we notified Pontins about potential breaches of the agreement. After considering its response, we ended the agreement from 18 February 2022.

We were not satisfied that Pontins was taking the required steps to prevent unlawful discrimination from occurring, or fulfilling its commitments under the agreement.

We were still concerned about how the ‘undesirable guest’ list was used and the way Pontins currently provides its services to the Gypsy and Traveller community.

We considered it necessary to move to using our formal legal powers to investigate these issues with Pontins.

We suspect that Pontins may have committed unlawful acts in relation to providing its services to Gypsy and Traveller guests or prospective guests, or people associated with the Gypsy and Traveller community.

We are now opening a formal investigation using our powers under the Equality Act. We make decisions on how we use our legal powers in accordance with our litigation and enforcement policy.

More help

If you have concerns about potential discrimination, you can contact the Equality and Advisory Support Service.

The result

Our investigation found that Pontins committed 11 unlawful acts.

We have now published our report, including our recommendations. These are designed to prevent this discrimination from happening again.

Pontins is now legally obliged to draft an action plan to tackle the unlawful act findings we have made. This should be based on our recommendations.

Once the action plan is agreed, we will monitor it. If Pontins does not live up to its commitments in the legally binding action plan, we may take further enforcement action.

Inquiries and investigations

Inquiries and investigations

Using our unique powers to investigate when the law is not followed.

1 July 2021