Creating a fairer Britain
Welcome to the January edition of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's enewsletter.
One of the key recommendations from the Commission's recent Home Care Inquiry was to ensure that the growing number of older people receiving home care from private and voluntary sector agencies are protected under the Human Rights Act. Commissioner Baroness Greengross has tabled an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to close this loophole. This is due to be debated when the bill reaches report stage in spring. If successful, this should make a difference to half a million people who require home care services across the UK, and bring home care in line with residential care services.
Read more about the Home Care Inquiry
Listed authorities in England (and non devolved public authorities in Scotland and Wales) apart from schools and pupil referral units are required to publish equality information by 31 January 2012 as part of their responsibilities under the specific duties. This is to help public authorities capture evidence of the impact of their activities on their staff and service users and enable them to address any equality or good relations issues they identify. We recommend that you read our recently updated guidance to ensure you are fully prepared to meet this requirement. From February 2012 the Commission will be assessing the degree to which all of these authorities have taken steps to meet their legal obligations.
Read more about the PSED
Earlier this month we held a consultation event with disabled people's organisations and representatives from the public sector to discuss implementing the disability-related harassment inquiry recommendations. Discussion focussed on developing a disabled people's toolkit, opportunities and challenges surrounding multi-agency working and the attitudinal/societal shift critical to improving responses to disability-related harassment. Key points from the consultation will inform our continuing work on the Manifesto for Change. The online consultation is open until 29 February.
Read more about the Disability Harassment Inquiry
Our review of human rights in England and Wales follows on from our Triennial Review report, How fair is Britain?, launched in October 2010. The review will bring together available data and evidence to set out some of the key human rights challenges in England and Wales, highlighting areas where society should be more proactively defending and promoting human rights concepts in Britain. We will launch the review on 5 March 2012.
Read more about the Human Rights Review
In response to the ruling, Commission Chair, Trevor Phillips, said: 'Stephen Lawrence's murder was a turning point for Britain; it changed us all. Most people today see racial prejudice as a secular sin that is not to be tolerated. One legacy of his tragic death was a significant change to race discrimination law. This goes way beyond how the police handle hate crimes, it gets to the very roots of how any public body considers and deals with discrimination of all kinds.'
Read the statement
The Commission is using the first two age discrimination cases to be heard by the UK's Supreme Court, Seldon v Clarkson, Wright and Jakes and Homer v Yorkshire Police Constabulary , to argue that an exception to the law banning age discrimination in employment is in urgent need of clarification. John Wadham, Group Legal Director, said: 'People should be measured on what they can contribute in the workplace: age-related stereotypes about what people can or cannot do should not be a factor.'
Read the press release
In response to a Met Police plan to reduce the number of random stop and searches it carries out under s60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, John Wadham, Group Legal Director, said: 'We welcome the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner's statement . We are pleased the force intends to change its practices, so that fewer people are stopped without good reason - breaching their human rights. We will continue to work with the Met Police to make sure it deals with all the issues we've raised about its use of stop and search.'
Read more about Stop and search
The Commission, in partnership with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, has published the groundbreaking Human Rights Measurement Framework (HRMF) that brings together information and evidence for analysing and assessing human rights in Britain. It will enable the Commissions, Government, public bodies, NGOs and others to evaluate compliance with, and progress towards, the implementation of human rights in Britain. The 'prototype' framework covers five rights that are domestically enforceable under the Human Rights Act, and three rights from international instruments that the UK is signed up to.
Read more about the HRMF
We have recently launched the Web Accessibility Essentials e-learning course, offering tools and guidance on improving websites to make them more accessible. Under the Equality Act, organisations are required by law to ensure that their websites are fully accessible to disabled people - this course provides all the support you need. The course has been developed by the Commission, AbilityNet - the industry leader on providing accessible IT, and is accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.
Read more about Web Essentials
Thank you to those of you who contributed to our consultation on the Commission's strategy for 2012-15. So far, 181 individuals and organisations have provided us with evidence and ideas about our roles and priorities for the next three years. The delay in the UK Government's response to its consuiltation on the reform of the Commission means we are not able to carry out the online consultation we had planned for the next phase of development of our strategic plan and future vision. Instread, in February, we now plan to write to those of you who have previously contributed, outlining how your views have helped shape our future plans. We have also analysed the contirbutions we have recieved to date. Where there are gaps in reaching certain groups, we will conduct outreach work to ensure we have engaged those people who are likely to be impacted by our work.
Read more about the Strategic plan consultation
The Commission is working with AdviceUK to offer the advice sector the very best training on advising on discrimination issues. Aimed at front-line advice and information workers, the training focuses on four key issues: reasonable adjustments; flexible working; harassment; and pregnancy and maternity. Find out about a training day near you and register online.
28 February 2012, 1-4.30pm at the Neuro Support Centre in Liverpool
This free event, organised by the Human Rights in Healthcare Programme, will share the findings of our 'Close to Home' report, consider the human rights issues associated with care at home, highlight the positive obligations of local authorities who commission care to protect and promote human rights, and share good practice.
This event is aimed at local authorities who commission home care for older people; private and voluntary sector organisations providing home care, voluntary organisations with an interest in empowering older people to know their rights; anyone who would like to know more about human rights and home care. Places are limited so to book your place, please e-mail Carol.Gannon@merseycare.nhs.uk or tel: 0151 285 2321.
Read more about this event
In November 2011, the Commission published the findings and recommendations of its Inquiry into the nature and extent of human trafficking in Scotland. Critical to the Inquiry was the research study 'Investigating the experience of people trafficked into Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Scotland' by Helen Easton and Roger Mathews. This research is now available to download from our website. You can also watch film clips from our launch event: Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, the Inquiry's Investigating Commissioner and the Rt. Hon. Kenny MacAskill MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice address the event.
Read more about the Human Trafficking Inquiry