Coronavirus: suspension on PSED reporting obligations
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have been reviewing our approach to enforcing compliance with the PSED specific duty reporting obligations in 2020.
Where possible we encourage those bodies who can meet these obligations to do so. The requirements of the general duty remain in force and are critically important in ensuring that public bodies consider the needs of people with different protected characteristics as they respond to Coronavirus.
In Wales, we have postponed for six months our approach to ensuring compliance with the duty to publish Strategic Equality Plans (due April 2020) and Annual Equality Reports (due March 2020). We will review the position in October 2020.
The Commission is the regulator of the PSED and our approach is to work with public authorities to encourage, guide, monitor and regulate activity on the public sector equality duty.
We have found that:
- The PSED is working effectively in Wales and should be retained.
The Welsh specific duties are supporting and helping progress on equalities work. Non-listed bodies in Wales are working to the spirit of the Welsh specific duties. Our research found that non-listed organisations are using the Welsh specific duties to align their work with listed partners in Wales.
- The PSED is a catalyst for change.
All organisations have been able to demonstrate how the PSED supports work to eliminate unlawful discrimination, promote equality and foster good relations. The PSED has raised the profile of the equality and diversity agenda in Wales. It is helping to mainstream equality issues and embed a culture of fairness, dignity and respect.
There are a number of factors that determine how much progress is being made. Important factors are:
- the level of Ministerial engagement
- the strength of leadership
- the culture within organisations
- the level of resources and staff capacity
- the extent to which equality is understood and integrated into work across organisations.
Sharing of effective practice has been identified as a key area to improve implementation of the PSED.
The PSED is being used to influence and scrutinise the way public bodies behave.
Third sector organisations have used the PSED to raise the profile of specific issues and to highlight where budget reductions could have a disproportionate impact.
The PSED is being used to increase transparency and accountability. In particular the publication of EIAs has assisted with holding public authorities to account for their decisions.
In October 2015 Kate Bennett the National Director for Wales wrote to chief executives across the public sector in Wales to reflect on the first four years of the PSED, and improvements that need to be made as we move into the next four years.
The Welsh Government can enhance its leadership role to ensure the PSED delivers stronger outcomes.
Welsh Ministers have a specific duty to publish a report on how devolved public authorities in Wales are meeting their general duty. This must set out an overview of the progress made by public authorities and proposals to co-ordinate action in Wales. These are demanding objectives that go significantly beyond describing inputs and positive examples.
Devolving the PSED to Wales would enable the distinctive approach to equality and human rights to be safeguarded and flourish.
This overview is based on the intelligence gathered from our research and monitoring.
Last updated: 15 Apr 2020