New briefing: Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-13

Report stage and third reading briefing House of Commons - October 2012

Key points

  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission (‘the Commission’) has examined the government’s proposals to use the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to amend the Equality Act 2006 and remove or amend some of its powers.  The Commission concludes that these changes are unlikely to have a significant adverse impact on its work.  
  • However, the government could use this opportunity to strengthen the Commission’s accountability to Parliament, thereby making the Commission better able to fulfil its mandate as Britain’s equality regulator and a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in accordance with the Paris Principles.
  • The UK government and the Chair of the International Coordinating Committee for NHRIs have recently been in correspondence on this matter.  Letters from the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP; the ICC Chair, Dr Mousa Borayzat; and the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, are annexed to this paper.
  • The Commission would also stress the importance of functions that the government is removing from the Commission’s remit, such as the helpline, funding for voluntary organisations and legal advice, the air travel complaints service and conciliation and mediation services.  These play an important role in ensuring people are able to access the protections of equality and human rights law.  The Commission is of the view that ensuring these functions continue to be provided is more important than the question of who provides them.

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Last updated: 06 May 2016