Looking to the future for new EHRC Chief Executive

by Marcial Boo

Published: 30 Sep 2021

On 20 September Marcial Boo joined as our new Chief Executive. Here he shares his thoughts on the Commission’s remit and its future priorities.

I’m honoured to lead the Equality and Human Rights Commission and excited to join as we consult you about our proposed activity for the next three years.

The Commission’s work over the last year has demonstrated how we uphold equality and human rights law without fear or favour. From our investigation into allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party to our assessment of the Home Office’s compliance with Equality Law in relation to the Windrush scandal to challenging shocking racism at Pontins, our work has not only hit the headlines but had real impact on changing behaviour and practice.

We’re privileged in Britain to have strong equality and human rights laws. They are the result of decades, if not centuries, of struggle. People in too many other countries lack our protections. But laws are only strong if they are upheld and enforced.

The Commission has a unique role as Britain's regulator of equality and human rights.

I know that some people don't like regulators – who likes being told what to do? But regulators play a vital role in making communities work fairly, with everyone playing by agreed rules.

Our rules are set by parliament. The rules evolve over time in response to campaigns and changes in society. Our role as an impartial referee is to make sure that everyone, whoever they are – whether organisations or individuals – understands the rules and sticks to them. And we’re an advisor to rule-setters in government or parliament too, so that they benefit from the expert knowledge of an independent organisation established to promote equality and human rights. I expect us to play that role with strength and authority.

I have spent my career in public sector and voluntary roles – teaching adults to read in evening classes, leading government work on counter-terrorism, working in public health through Covid, and regulating MPs after the expenses scandal. In all these roles, I have been totally committed to building a fairer, more equal society for us all.

You have a vital role to play too, whether you are in a charity, in government or in academia. I look forward to working with you all so that together we can ensure compliance with our strong, existing equality and human rights laws, and work to improve them even more.