House of Commons Equalities Committee enforcement report

The Women and Equalities Committee at the House of Commons has just published its report on Equality Act enforcement.

The report’s main recommendations are:

  • Develop a ‘critical mass’ of cases to inform employers and organisations about their legal duties and make adherence to existing equality law a priority for all organisations;
  • Move away from relying so heavily on the current model of using individual litigation to create precedents;
  • Make obligations on employers, public authorities, and service providers explicit and enforceable;
  • Ensure that all who have powers to change the way in which employers, public bodies and service providers operate use their powers to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality;
  • The EHRC must refocus its work and be bolder in using its unique enforcement powers.

Committee Chair Maria Miller said:

“Above all, the Government must act on its own obligations. It must embed compliance and enforcement of the Equality Act into its most significant strategies and action plans. That it has not yet done so in its recent efforts to improve the quality of work – where stopping discrimination is so clearly an essential precondition to any improvements – beggars belief. Our report sets out exactly what needs to be done, and we look forward to hearing how the Government plans to act on this".

Full details can be found here

One in 200 applications for discrimination legal aid successful

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued a report saying that 1 in 200 applications for legal aid for discrimination resulted in legal representation being obtained.  I'm surprised it's that high.  The Civil Legal Aid Gateway is specifically designed to be inaccessible as it is a bureaucratic obstacle course that even most non-disabled people would struggle to get through.  It was brought in to coincide with more and more discrimination by the Government itself, particularly in social security.