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Equality Act 2010

The new Equality Act- Framework for a Fairer Future – The Equality Act /Bill information, articles and Press Releases from June 2008 onwards

1st October 2010 - The Equality Act came into force - Visit our page at Equality Act 2010 HERE

On 8 April 2010 the Equality Act received Royal Assent after completing its parliamentary process on 6 April when MPs approved all the Lords amendments.The new Equality Act contains a series of measures for tackling inequalities in Britain.

Employment, Equal pay and Services, public functions and associations - Comes into force in October 2010

Education (further and higher education) & Education (schools) - Comes into force in October 2010

Public sector equality duty - Comes into force in April 2011

Age protection outside the workplace - Comes into force in April 2012

Click on a topic below for more information.....

The Equality and Human Rights Commission Sex and Power report revealed that more than 5,400 women are missing from Britain's 26,000 most powerful posts as they are still being passed over for top jobs - September 2011

Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 - About the Equality Act 2010 and how it affects civil servants

New guidance available on the Public Sector Equality Duty - February 2011

Equality Act Codes of Practice - 20-10-10 The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published the statutory guidance that will help employers, lawyers and courts to interpret the Equality Act. Three Codes of Practice have now been laid before Parliament. Click on a link below

Code of Practice on Equal Pay | Code of Practice on Employment | Code of Practice on Services, Public Functions and Associations

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BVRLA and the Equality Act red tape - June 2011

The Modern Workplaces Consultation - Government proposes radical reforms for parental leave and flexible working - Creating a modern workplace - May 2011

What happens to equality and diversity in the face of adversity? Queen Mary, University of London - December 2010

Implications of the Equality Act for agents accepting Landlord instructions - Blog - November 2010

Don't discriminate - implications of the Equality Act 2010 for residential letting agents when accepting instructions from landlords - November 2010

Equal Pay Day 2010

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Unite races forward to tackle discrimination - October 2010

Equality Act - October 2010 Useful information for Employers

Employers need support to adapt to Equality Act - October 2010

EFD says Employers need help with Equality Act - October 2010

Equality & Human Rights Commission make a statement on new Eqality Act - October 2010

40 Years after “Made in Dagenham” employees get a new weapon in the fight for equal pay - The Equality Act 2010 -October 2010

Large companies must embrace diversity if they are to cut costs and improve their products, according to business leaders. - October 2010

Increase in discrimination claims when Equality Act comes into force? - October 2010

Equality Act may take employers by surprise - October 2010

Equality Act to spark employee demand for pay rises - October 2010

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ACAS - The Equality Act – What’s new for employers?

ACAS - Equality Act 2010 Key Changes

Glossary of Terms from The Equality and Human Rights Commission - October 2010

CBI Comments on Equality Act 3rd July 2010 jml Training Blog

Lynne Featherstone to be ’strong voice for women at the heart of the Coalition Government' - May 2010 jml Training Blog

Equality Bill receives Royal Assent - Commission welcomes landmark equality legislation - April 2010

Equality Bill completes parliamentary process - April 2010 jml Training Blog

Equality Act 2010 - Download Here

Equality Act guidance consultation update - March 2010 jml Training Blog

Equality Bill Codes of Practice consultation - March 2010

Summary of the Equality Bill - April 2009

Government 'faces uphill struggle' to promote effective action on the gender pay gap, despite today's ASHE results - CIPD November 2009

Equality Bill disappointment as companies ‘forced’ to expose inequalities - April 2009

Commission Chair welcomes new Equality Bill 27 April 2009

Equality Bill must focus on genuine discrimination, not on insurance, says the ABI - April 2009

Equalities Bill will require employers to publish gender pay gaps - April 2009

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A Statement by the Minister for Women and Equality - June 2008

CIPD research report diversity management - September 2008

Equality and Human Rights Commission - Commission welcomes outlawing of age discrimination

Formal response by Trevor Phillips - Chair of the Commission - 21st July 2008

Equality Bill announcement - 26 June 2008

ABI - Association of British Insurers: Information, not legislation, is best way to help older insurance customers - June 2008

British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) - Brokers provide insurance solution to Government Equality Bill

Government needs to add more weight to new Single Equality Bill by promoting the business case for diversity - CIPD - June 2008

British Humanist Association welcomes Equality Bill White Paper - June 2008

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Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 - About the Equality Act 2010 and how it affects civil servants

The main purpose of the Equality Act 2010 (EA) is to streamline and strengthen anti-discrimination legislation in Great Britain. It provides the legal framework that protects people, including disabled people, from discrimination. It replaces a range of anti-discrimination legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and subsequent amendments. The EA does not replace the UK-related parts of the DDA for civil servants working in Northern Ireland.

The EA ensures that the legal framework of equality law is more consistent for all people with protected characteristics, for example, race and gender (Section 4 of the EA and the Equality and Human Rights website both offer a detailed explanation of ‘protected characteristics’). By simplifying and consolidating previous equality legislation, the Act is intended to be easier to operate and understand than previous equality legislation.

What does the Equality Act mean for civil servants?

The majority of the EA provisions came into force from 1 October 2010. The new public sector Equality Duty for public authorities came into force on 5 April 2011.

In the light of their responsibilities as employers, as providers of services to the public and in the carrying out of public functions, those in government departments should understand the EA and how it affects their area of work.

The Codes of Practice produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission provides advice and guidance on how the provisions of the Act operate in practice.

The Government Equalities Office has produced an introduction to the EA on its website with links to a series of summary guidance. It has also published quick-start guides on particular topics including disability, carers and harassment.

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New guidance available on the Public Sector Equality Duty

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published new guidance to help public authorities in England and non-devolved bodies in Scotland and Wales prepare for the new equality duty which comes into force on 6 April 2011. The new duty includes age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

The Commission's guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duty is the latest in its series of publications that explain the Equality Act 2010.The guides are a practical explanation of what can be done to ensure authorities are meeting the equality duty. They do not have legal standing like the statutory Code of Practice on the public sector equality duty, which can be used as evidence in legal proceedings under the Act. These guides can of course be referred to, but courts do not have to take it into account when making a decision

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Equality Bill receives Royal Assent - Commission welcomes landmark equality legislation -News Release - 8 April 2010

The Equality and Human Rights Commission today welcomed the passing of the Equality Bill, which received Royal Assent today. It contains a series of measures for tackling inequalities which the Commission considers will help Britain to become a fairer society.

Some of the specific measures in the bill, which the Commission has supported, include:

  • Making the law easier to understand and implement by simplifying 116 pieces of equality legislation into a single Act for individuals, public authorities and private organisations.
  • Giving people the right not to be treated less favourably by public authorities because of their age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or transgender status; as well as their disability, gender, or race which were already covered.*
  • Extending anti-age discrimination rules to include goods, facilities and services, thereby stopping people being unfairly refused insurance or medical treatments based on what age they are, for example.

Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission said:

“Simplifying legislation and extending protection to a wide range of groups that face discrimination will help Britain become a fairer society, improve public services, and help business perform well.

“The Commission’s role now is to make sure the legislation works in practice, by explaining what it means, how it should work, and ultimately, using our powers to help right any wrongs.

“We’re already working on Codes and Guidance that set out what the new legislation does for employers, public services and the people of Britain.”

Notes regarding this News Release - * The protected characteristics in the Public Sector Equality Duty are listed in the Equality Bill as: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

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Equality Bill - On Friday 24th April 2009 the Equality Bill was introduced in the House of Commons and it was published on Monday 27th April.

Summary of the Bill: Make provision to require Ministers of the Crown and others when making strategic decisions about the exercise of their functions to have regard to the desirability of reducing socio-economic inequalities; to reform and harmonise equality law and restate the greater part of the enactments relating to discrimination and harassment related to certain personal characteristics; to enable certain employers to be required to publish information about the differences in pay between male and female employees; to prohibit victimisation in certain circumstances; to require the exercise of certain functions to be with regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and other prohibited conduct; to enable duties to be imposed in relation to the exercise of public procurement functions; to increase equality of opportunity; and for connected purposes.

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Equality Bill disappointment as companies ‘forced’ to expose inequalities

According to a report in "HR Review" on the 30th April, 2009 A women’s business network has said it is disappointed that it has taken the introduction of a new Equality Bill to make employers address the issue of inequality in the workplace.

Toni Eastwood, training director for Everywoman, said that the new bill is a welcome amendment to existing legislation as it represents a move towards equality.

Referring to the equal pay audit, which will require companies with over 250 staff to disclose any disparities between male and female pay, she said it was "disappointing that ‘naming and shaming’ is necessary".

However she said that by encouraging companies to offer "equal working conditions to both men and women" it will "ensure the best talent is attracted to a company, regardless of their background".

The bill aims to end discrimination and one of the tactics proposed is to extend positive action measures that encourage employers to make their companies more representative of society as a whole.

This would mean there would not be a disproportionate amount of employees of one gender or race, for instance.

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Commission Chair welcomes new Equality Bill 27 April 2009

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission, today said the Equality Bill will 'remove the roadblocks to finding the talent to drive our economic recovery.'

Responding to the publication of the Bill Mr. Phillips continued: 'When the upturn comes we must be ready to ensure every great idea, every hard worker in every corner of this diverse nation contributes to rebuilding our economy. Britain’s got talent – but we can’t leave it to Simon Cowell to find it all.'

The Bill will simplify legislation, improve public services, help business perform, extend protection to a wide range of groups that face discrimination and help Britain become a fairer society.

'The facts tell us we mustn’t assume that progress will happen without legislation. In two years time just 20 per cent of the workforce will be made up of white, non-disabled men. Our failure to open up employment opportunities to disabled people costs us £9bn a year. The economic cost of not allowing women to fulfil their potential is £23bn.

'In Britain we know the value of talent, innovation and creativity. Our recovery and future success depends on seeking it out and making sure everyone has an equal chance to take part and is not discriminated against because of out-of-date ideas about what people can achieve.

'This Bill is also about how everyone, from whatever background, can live wholly fulfilled lives – in their communities as well as workplaces. The Bill should help create ties that bind individuals and civic society. We all want to live in thriving communities that flourish economically and socially. We cherish our wellbeing alongside economic security.'

The Equality Bill contains a series of measures to tackle entrenched inequalities including particular measures on equal pay, age discrimination and socio-economic disadvantage. The Commission believes these measures will help ensure all groups in society are able to contribute to the economy and community life of Britain.

The Commission’s role will be to ensure it works in practice through policy development, guidance, influencing and enforcement work. Specifically the Commission will take responsibility for producing an annual report on the gender pay gap, in particular an assessment of the proportion of companies which voluntarily publish relevant measures of the pay gap between their male and female staff. It will produce initial proposals to define these relevant measures for consultation by the summer. By 2013 the Commission will produce a final report which will set out progress on headline indicators.

'We believe in fairness and we believe that everyone should have an equal chance to succeed in life. It is wrong in modern Britain that just because you are a women, gay, disabled, a Muslim or old – you could find yourself excluded from economic opportunity or community life,' Mr. Phillips continues.

'So we warmly welcome the new Equality Bill. Overall we think it is well framed and proportionate. It will help unblock some of the systemic problems that get in the way of equality and achievement for everyone in Britain. We will of course study the detail over the coming weeks and continue to suggest amendments where we feel the legislation could be improved or go further.'

We believe the most important parts of the Bill include:

For employers and business

At present, employers and service providers are struggling to cope with an impenetrable mass of inconsistent equality legislation. There are 35 acts, 52 statutory instruments, 13 codes of practice and 16 European directives. This comes to 116 pieces of legislation in all, taking up a total of 4,000 pages. Laid end to end, the paper trail would be as long as 10 football pitches.

The Equality Bill plans to bring this legislation together and ensure it is consistent, understandable and easier for people to use.

The intention to create transparency around pay will encourage employers to focus on the critical issue of why a significant pay gap remains in Britain nearly 40 years after the Equal Pay Act.

In some areas, the gaps are particularly stark. A report issued recently as part of the Commission’s Inquiry into the Finance Sector reveals significant gender pay gaps of up to 60 per cent in that sector and shows that women are overwhelmingly concentrated in lower-paid administrative jobs.

The Women and Work Commission concluded in 2006 that increasing women’s participation in the labour market would be worth between £15bn and £23bn to the economy.

The Commission particularly welcomes its new role in working with business, the unions and other stakeholders to develop effective measures to monitor progress around the pay gap. The Commission will immediately begin a pre-consultation discussion with key organisations about which measures will work before making proposals which will be the subject of a formal consultation in the summer.

Mr. Phillips said: 'We have a shared agenda with business and the unions - talent is there to be encouraged if we can find the right way to do it.

'For business we believe the bill will provide a proportionate and level regulatory playing field that will encourage them to treat staff fairly, root out inequality and think in new ways about how to find and retain the best people. For staff they will have a guarantee that merit and hard work will be rewarded, irrespective of attributes like age, gender or race.”

Fairer outcomes via the public sector duties.

The Commission believes the new duty to consider socio-economic disadvantage will encourage public sector bodies to focus on policies that address systemic blockages to social mobility for the most disadvantaged groups in society.

A study released this month by the Government’s Social Mobility Commission revealed that three-quarters of judges and 70 per cent of finance directors went to an independent, as did 45 per cent of senior civil servants and 32 per cent of MPs. This contrasts with evidence that 85 per cent of poorer white boys fail to get five good GCSEs – demonstrating that the most important contributor to social mobility- educational success - is strongly associated with socio-economic background and the postcode where you live.

The duty will allow public bodies like education and health authorities to take into account deprivation in their area. It should lead to a focus of resources and policy on areas like educational attainment or poverty related illness such as heart disease and obesity. As well as creating better outcomes for disadvantaged members of society, the Commission believes there could be benefits for all tax payers from a reduction in the costs associated with economic disadvantage in areas such as healthcare, criminal justice and social welfare provision.

The Commission will work strategically with key public bodies on policy solutions that tackle some of this ingrained disadvantage giving more people the same opportunity to fulfil their potential, a right many of the more affluent take for granted.

Challenging age discrimination

The Commission welcome’s the Government’s proposals to outlaw discrimination against older people in the provision of goods, facilities and services, arguing policies affecting older people need to be made on the basis of objective evidence and each individual’s situation, not on assumptions based purely on date of birth.

At present, insurance companies can dramatically increase premiums based on age without taking into account other relevant factors such as a clean driving licence. Older people struggle to find travel insurance, with cover routinely declined, and they can be denied access to services provided by the NHS on the arbitrary basis of age rather than the benefit to their quality of life.

The Commission would like the Government to go further and end the arbitrary rule that workers must retire at 65.

Source: The Equality and Human Rights Commission Press Release

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Equalities Bill will require employers to publish gender pay gaps

HR Review reported on the 28th April 2009 that Equalities Bill which aims at tackling gender inequalities, and other discrimination against the elderly, will leave employers until 2013 to publish average hourly rates for men and women.

The move, which had been promised by the government before the last election, effects large employers – those employing over 250 staff – aims at ‘making Britain more equal’, according to Minister for Equality Harriet Harman. Additionally, the Bill will also ban “gagging clauses” from contracts, which prevents employees from revealing details of their pay.

“This is about employers coming clean with their employees”, she said.

“Unless we can see it workplace by workplace it stays swept under the carpet – that unfairness stays hidden and we can’t tackle it, if it’s hidden”. She also stressed that the economic downturn should not be used as an excuse to leave such inequalities unchecked.

“The economies and societies which will prosper in the future are not those that have rigid hierarchies, where women know their place and where you can’t go forward because of the colour of your skin,” she said. Men are averaging 23% more per hour than women, even forty years after the introduction of the Equal Pay Act.

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A Statement by the Minister for Women and Equality

On Thursday, June 26 2008 the Minister for Women and Equality, the Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP, made a statement to the House of Commons, repeated in the House of Lords by Baroness Andrews, setting out the main themes of the Equality Bill which will be introduced in Parliament in the next session.

On the same day the Government Equalities Office published Framework for a Fairer Future – the Equality Bill, which outlines the steps which will be taken to streamline and strengthen the law. See Also: Framework for a Fairer Future – The Equality Bill

A Fairer Future- The Equality Bill and other action to make equality a reality

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8 September 2008

A new CIPD research report released in time for the Annual Conference in Harrogate, Managing Diversity and the Business Case, shows that diversity management in the UK remains superficial at best, with the majority of employers just fulfilling their legal obligations. Sixty-eight per cent of those surveyed rank legal pressure as the most important motivation for implementing diversity policies and practices.

With the Equality Bill due before Parliament in December, our evidence shows only a minority are embedding diversity into their business strategy. The vast majority (71%) do not build diversity objectives into business goals and only 30% even have a budget for diversity management.

Dianah Worman, Diversity Adviser, CIPD argues: "Education and awareness on the business case for diversity must be a priority for Government as it progresses the Equality Bill. Our research clearly demonstrates the business case for diversity. But it also shows that too many businesses are driven more by the concern to meet minimum legal standards. A shiny new legal framework runs the risk of simply creating a slightly higher level of boxes to be ticked, while failing to bring about the real progress that promotion of the positive business benefits of diversity can bring.

"By building a workforce that reflects the society it operates in, organisations will be able to evaluate and understand exactly how best to deliver a product or service. This current lack of 'joined up' thinking is letting business performance down.

"The objectives behind the proposed legislation are welcome. But we believe the real opportunity lies in nudging business in the right direction on diversity through evidence of the business case in action, rather than wielding a gradually bigger stick to force compliance. Our research reveals powerful examples of organisations building a diverse workforce that has a positive impact on their effectiveness, adaptability and understanding of their customer base, and ultimately on their bottom line."

The findings also suggest that when a diversity strategy is implemented, organisations are not embedding it throughout the business and are instead using it mainly for recruitment and retention. Sixty per cent currently implement a diversity strategy purely for recruitment and retention purposes, while other drivers identified - such as marketing, product development and customer relations - are not being given the attention needed for managing diversity to fully enhance business performance.

For those organisations that do take diversity seriously, however, effort is put into measuring it in order to receive quantifiable feedback that makes clear the link between diversity management, customer satisfaction and business performance. The findings show that the majority (72%) use employee attitude surveys to drive diversity progress into mainstream activities. However, only a small number of organisations use complaint, grievance and labour turnover statistic tools such as balanced score card (17%) and impact assessments (27%).

Worman continues: "Our research suggests that diversity management could have more impact. Understanding the business advantage of managing diversity will attract employer interest and drive real change more than fear of the law ever can."

Notes about this CIPD Press Release

* A 'diversity sophistication index' was formulated as part of the research, where organisations were ranked on whether they implement good practice diversity, with the highest possible rating being 146. Five organisations achieved zero, while the average score was just 52 suggesting that diversity is not well understood and is not being adopted effectively as a guiding business principle within UK organisations

Source: CIPD

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Single Equality Bill

Equality and Human Rights Commission - Commission welcomes outlawing of age discrimination

The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomes today’s statement from Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons, announcing the new Single Equality Bill. It is a proposal that offers a valuable starting point for shaping modern, simple equality law fit for the 21st century. At its most basic, we want a new fairness act aimed at allowing everyone, whatever their background, to fulfil their ambitions.

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission, said:

‘This is the first step in a new generation of equality law. We want to enable people, businesses and the public sector to do the right thing. ‘We need an act that reflects our common sense of fair play – law that helps parents juggling work and family, law that gives the Asian girl from a council estate the same chance as the boy growing up on the other side of town, law that will stop anyone assuming people over some arbitrary age do not deserve the same rights afforded to the rest of us. The extension of the law to cover age discrimination will empower people to live full and fruitful lives defined by their capabilities and desires, not their age.

‘Britain is facing major social and demographic change. If organisations have to think about how they target resources efficiently – for example, making sure that they reflect the needs of all their users – we can be confident we are benefiting from the best public services and our taxes are spent wisely.

‘Critically this bill must help the private sector do a better job. Statistics prove many businesses that champion diversity have bigger profit margins because they understand their customers better. Sensible positive action measures can actually help businesses that take diversity seriously.

‘Positive action is not and should never be a charter for incompetency. What we want to see is a green light for employers to get the best out of a diverse workforce. We want common sense flexibility.

‘I want to give a couple of examples. What about MI5’s desire to hire British agents who are Muslim to help gather intelligence. Should that be unlawful? Or imagine a school where the head teacher has an all female staff. When she advertises for a new post she has three equally qualified candidates, one of whom is a man. Should it be unlawful for her to choose him? We don’t think it should and will be producing guidance to help employers in this area.’

The Equality Bill is a critical piece of legislation for the Commission which as regulator in this area sets standards and ensures individuals and organisations are treated fairly. The current law is complex, contradictory and confusing. If these proposals translate into a Bill that works in practice it will create a positive opportunity for the Commission to meaningfully fulfil its remit to create a fairer society for everyone, regardless of their background.

The proposals have a number of specific implications for the Commission which include:

  • Helping service providers (hospitals, schools, local authorities etc) prepare for the changes required by the extension of the law covering discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services to cover age.
  • Monitoring transparency and collection of data on issues of equality in the public sector and the effect of the public sector procurement in the private sector.
  • Specific inquiries into the financial and professional services sector and the construction industries – sectors that benefit from a large amount of public sector procurement. The starting point for these inquiries, which will be launched this year, will be a period of evidence gathering.
  • The development of an equality “kite-mark” designed to highlight best practice in the private sector.
  • Producing guidance for employers about how to use positive action to help them achieve better services and delivery.

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Formal response by Trevor Phillips - Chair of the Commission - 21st July 2008

On 21 July 2008 Trevor Phillips presented the Commission's formal response to these proposals at an event for key stakeholders.

The response does not attempt to deal with every detail of every clause of the new Equality Bill, but it does set out what the Commission would like to see, including a complete over-haul of Britain’s equality laws and a new contract with the public on fairness. This could be by placing power in the hands of citizens and not remote bureaucracies, and that people by local petition or referendum could test public services such as schools and hospitals on how fairly they treat the people who use them.

You can download a copy of the Commission's full response here:

Background to a single Act

The current equality laws have been vitally important, and over the last ten years the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, and Disability Discrimination Act 1995 have been strengthened and expanded. New laws have also been introduced to cover discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, sexual orientation and age.

But this means that the legislation has become complex and difficult to use. Replacing it with a single piece of legislation should provide simpler, more consistent anti-discrimination protection. In addition, today’s social, political and legal conditions and expectations are now very different than they were when the current laws were created. A new equality act should meet these new conditions and expectations, and proclaim that rights to equality and protection against unfair discrimination are an integral part of our constitution.

In February 2005 the government announced the arrival of the Discrimination Law Review (DLR). The aim of the DLR was to consider the opportunities for creating a clearer and more streamlined equality legislation framework. The DLR initially ran alongside the Equalities Review, which published its final report in February 2007.

The Government’s DLR team published a green paper in June 2007, setting out its recommendations for a single equality act for Great Britain. There was then a period of formal consultation with stakeholders, whose responses are now being considered by the government team, as they work towards an equality bill, and eventually, the act itself.

Information abou The Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Equality and Human Rights Commission will enforce equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourage compliance with the Human Rights Act. It will also give advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.

© Crown Copyright 2008 - jml Property Services hold a Core Licence C02W00008738**

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Equality Bill announcement - 26 June 2008

On 26 June the Government published 'Framework for a Fairer Future - The Equality Bill' containing key proposals for the Equality Bill. On the same day the Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP, Minister for Women and Equality, made a statement on the Bill to the House of Commons. The Equality and Diversity Forum has issued a press release welcoming the announcement and publication.

The Equality and Diversity Forum says new age discrimination provisions are essential to ensure fair treatment for older people

The Equality and Diversity Forum, the network of national equality and human rights organisations, welcomes the Government's announcement of new equality provisions today.

There is much to be welcomed in the new proposals, in particular:

  • simplifying and strengthening the obligations on public bodies to prevent discrimination for all parts of the population,
  • bringing age provisions into line with the other grounds of discrimination by ensuring that older people are protected from discrimination when using facilities and services,
  • new provisions to expressly permit the use of equality provisions when public bodies buy goods and services, and
  • recognition of the need for protection from discrimination on more than one ground simultaneously.

Gay Moon, the Equality and Diversity Forum's Special Legal Advisor comments:

"Fairness for older people is an important social issue. The Government is to be congratulated on making this commitment to eradicating discrimination in goods, facilities and services. These age discrimination provisions will protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community when they most need it and will promote a new sense of fairness."

Source: The Equality and Diversity Forum

The Equality and Diversity Forum is the network of national organisations committed to progress on age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and broader equality and human rights issues.

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Equality Bill must focus on genuine discrimination, not on insurance, says the ABI - Monday, 27 April 2009

The Equality Bill published today must avoid imposing any restrictions on the use of age by insurers, warns the ABI. Artificial age restrictions will only mean higher insurance costs and less choice.

Commenting on publication of the Bill, Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said: “Insurers oppose unfair discrimination. But outlawing the use of age would lead to higher insurance costs for all customers, as insurers would have insufficient information to fully assess the risk, and less choice for consumers.

“We dispute the Government’s claim that one in five older people have trouble getting motor or household insurance. Our research shows that 99% of older customers can obtain motor insurance, with 98% able to buy travel insurance. We will be monitoring secondary legislation carefully to ensure that insurers remain able to offer competitively priced products to all ages.”

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ABI - Association of British Insurers: Information, not legislation, is best way to help older insurance customers - Thursday, 26 June 2008

Today’s announcement of the Government’s intention to publish an Equality Bill, which would include provision to outlaw unjustifiable discrimination based on age, ‘will not affect the differential provision of products or services for older people where this is justified.’

Commenting, Nick Starling, theABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said:

“Insurers agree that unfair discrimination on the basis of age is wrong. That is why they do not practice it. The Government, organisations that represent older people and the insurance industry agree that insurance premiums should reflect the risk presented by individual consumers.

We are engaged in discussions with the Government on the proposed Bill, which we hope will endorse this important principle. Legislation, no matter how well-intentioned, could have the unintended negative consequence of forcing some insurers to withdraw certain products altogether, reducing competition and availability and pushing up prices for all age groups.

Insurance for older people is available from a range of providers. For example, single trip travel insurance is widely available for older people at fair prices. However, we recognise that some people may need more help to find the most appropriate insurance policies for them. We are working to improve this, and we know that the Government and age charities will support our efforts in this area.”

Notes:

The document published today, Framework for a Fairer Future – The Equality Bill, states on page 16: “The new law…will not affect the differential provision of products or services for older people where this is justified – for example free bus passes for over-60s and priority flu vaccinations for over-60s or group holidays for particular age groups or actuarially justifiable age-based treatment in areas such as financial services.”

Source: ABI

The ABI is the trade association for Britain’s insurance industry. Its nearly 400 member companies provide over 94% of the insurance business in the UK. It represents insurance companies to the Government, and to the regulatory and other agencies, and is an influential voice on public policy and financial services issues. ABI member companies hold up to a sixth of all investments traded on the London Stock Exchange, on behalf of millions of pensioners and savers.

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British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) - Brokers provide insurance solution to Government Equality Bill -27 June 2008

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has welcomed Government proposals for a draft Equality Bill.

The BIBA 2008 manifesto calls for change to respond to the fact that people are living longer healthier lives. In particular, BIBA believes there is a need to review outdated criteria for accessing and setting insurance premiums.

It is important that consumers get the right cover at the right price and BIBA believes that risk based pricing is the best approach to meeting the needs of the entire population.

BIBA supports a ban on unjustifiable age discrimination. However, the Association is urging caution to protect the many customers who benefit from discounted premiums, designed to appeal to their particular age group. Where it is possible to give certain age groups specific products and pricing this should be allowed to continue.

Graeme Trudgill, BIBA Technical and Corporate Affairs Executive said: “BIBA welcomes the proposals for a draft Equality Bill as set out by the Government.

“We will continue to work with Government to help design the appropriate regulations for all consumers.

“The important thing to remember is that cover is already available to all ages from BIBA members at a fair price. We would urge consumers not to always rely on the internet or on brand products which may not prove competitive for their particular age group. A broker can provide an independent quote for everybody whether they are young drivers or older travellers.”

Notes:

The BIBA Manifesto proposals on age criteria can be downloaded here. These were:

  • Reassessment of age criteria for the over 60’s and for greater availability of cover
  • New health/travel/motor insurance products for this growing sector of the population
  • Greater flow of information between Government and industry
  • Industry and Government to work together to raise awareness of the insurance solutions and advice that brokers can offer.

Source: BIBA

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Government needs to add more weight to new Single Equality Bill by promoting the business case for diversity

26 June 2008

Responding to the Single Equality Bill published today, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) welcomes the proposals but forewarns the Government that as well as updating discrimination law, it is imperative to promote the strong business case for diversity if significant progress on equality for all is to be made.

Dianah Worman, CIPD Diversity Adviser, said: “The UK cannot afford to miss this unique opportunity for radical change in the way unfairness is tackled. This bill seeks to simplify existing legislation which can only be a plus for employers. Government now needs to ensure that they spell out exactly how the proposals will function so that employers don’t unwittingly fall foul of the law.

“To lead in the diversity field, employers have to deliver legal obligations and implement systemic change in all business practices. This is evidenced in our new research report, Managing Diversity and The Business Case, to be published in September. The report sets out the nature of the business case and pulls together a range of findings about its relevance to diversity progress and business performance.

“To lead in the diversity field, employers have to deliver legal obligations and implement systemic change in all business practices. This is evidenced in our new research report, Managing Diversity and The Business Case, to be published in September. The report sets out the nature of the business case and pulls together a range of findings about its relevance to diversity progress and business performance.

“We welcome the Government’s strong leadership position on the introduction of ‘balancing measures’ as part of the enabling legal framework because they are needed to support the progress of diversity. But these will be highly contentious in some quarters and require clear guidance on what the law sets out to do and why. This will be vital to ensure people understand what they are and their legitimacy to avoid backlash based on false perceptions about them.

“Finally, law on its own is simply not enough. Government needs to engage employers to take action because it makes business sense. They should publish easily accessible practical guidance for employers to follow, and instigate a national education and awareness campaign with signposts to help and support. Failing to do this will short-change the UK economy at a time when business needs all the help it can get. Diversity needs to be demystified and good practice communicated down to the grass roots, where a real difference can be made.”

Source: CIPD

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British Humanist Association welcomes Equality Bill White Paper - Thursday, 26 June 2008

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed moves towards greater equality as set out in the Government’s Equality Bill White Paper but urges caution against the potential for unintended consequences, in particular that legislation does not result in increased discrimination against individuals.

Hanne Stinson, BHA Chief Executive, said, ‘Humanists are committed to the full implementation of human rights and equality for all and we look forward to working with the Government in the coming months to ensure that the Bill achieves this in practice.’

Ms Stinson continued, ‘We welcome the White Paper which aims to extend and promote equality between different people. However, we must be very careful that some proposals, such as extending positive action in employment and the proposed additional public duty in relation to religion or belief, do not inadvertently increase discrimination against individuals based on actual or perceived affiliation to a group.’

‘We hope that the new law will also address existing problems of discrimination by religious organisations. Existing UK equality law gives religious groups power to discriminate against those who do not share their beliefs in both employment and service provision – even when they are receiving public funding – and this is one inequality that we look to the Government to address.’

Amongst other proposals outlined in the White Paper, the BHA particularly welcomes the inclusion of a commitment to end the pay gap; allowing employment tribunals to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases; the commitment to allow discrimination cases to be brought on combined multiple grounds, and the commitment to consider representative actions. We also warmly welcome the ban on age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services, but deeply regret the exclusion of young people under the age of 18 from this protection.

Source: The British Humanist Association

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the non-religious and campaigning for an end to religious privilege and discrimination based on religion or belief. The BHA’s work is firmly based in principles of human rights, equality and social cohesion, and the BHA’s chief executive Hanne Stinson was a member of the reference group for the Equalities Review and for the Discrimination Law Review.

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See also:

The Equality Act 2010

Equality Act - October 2010 Useful information for Employers

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