Equality Bill sketched out
Following the announcement that the Equality Bill will be introduced in the Parliamentary session following the Queen’s Speech, the Government have given an early indication of some of the Bill’s content, although further consultation is planned on specific issues, which means the Bill is likely to be introduced later in the 2008/09 parliamentary session, rather than sooner.
- Action recommendations: The Equality Bill will contain provisions “improving enforcement”, i.e. enabling employment tribunals to do more to tackle unlawful discrimination by making recommendations to employers on working practices.
- Single equality duty: There will be a single public sector equality duty, replacing the existing race, disability and gender equality duties. There is no indication as yet, as to whether the duty will be extended to include the other three strands of anti-discrimination legislation, sexual orientation, religion or belief (or lack of either) and age.
- Transparency: The Bill will include provisions making public bodies more transparent, i.e. confer a right on public sector workers, to get more information on discrimination matters.
- Positive action: The Bill will extend existing positive action measures to allow public bodies to deliver services in a more effective way to disadvantaged groups who may otherwise miss out.
- Consolidation: The Bill will make the law more accessible and easier to understand, by bringing together nine major pieces of legislation and around 100 other laws in a single piece of legislation.