FOR EQUALITY & HUMAN RIGHTS GETS GO-AHEAD
(16 February 2006)
powerful new body, the Commission for Equality and Human Rights
(CEHR), that aims to put equality at the heart of modern Britain
got the go-ahead today as the Equality Act gained Royal Assent.
From October 2007, the CEHR will work with individuals, communities,
businesses and public services to find new, more effective ways
to give everyone in society the chance to achieve their full potential.
CEHR will bring together the work of the Disability Rights Commission
and the Equal Opportunities Commission from October 2007; and that
of the Commission for Racial Equality from 2009, putting expertise
on equality, diversity and human rights in one place.
the first time the equality areas of age, religion and belief and
sexual orientation will come under the remit of a single equality
body, as well as continuing work that has been done previously to
tackle racism and other forms of discrimination. It will have a
better range of powers to enforce legislation flexibly and promote
equality for all.
Commission will also promote awareness and understanding of human
rights and encourage good practice by public authorities in meeting
their Human Rights Act obligations.
CEHR will be required to produce a regular 'equality health check'
for Britain and to work with individuals, communities, businesses
and public services to find new, more effective ways to give everyone
in society the chance to achieve their full potential.
Act will introduce a new 'gender duty' which will require public
bodies to take account of the different needs of men and women to
ensure equality of opportunity when preparing policies or providing
services. The Act will outlaw discrimination on grounds of religion
or belief in providing goods, facilities or services, education
or rented accommodation.
Munn, Deputy Minister for Women and Equality, said: "The Equality
Act marks a transformation in the way modern Britain tackles discrimination.
The CEHR will be a powerful body dedicated to fighting discrimination,
predudice and inequality and promoting fairness for everyone. "
purpose of the Equality Act is to:
the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) and to define
its purpose and functions;
make unlawful discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief
in the provision of goods, facilities, services, premises, education
and the exercise of public functions;
create a duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity
between men and women (the gender duty) and to prohibit sex discrimination
in the exercise of public functions;
provide powers to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual
orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services,
etc. The duties and powers of the CEHR include:
a new duty to consult with stakeholders to ensure all groups have
an opportunity to participate and engage in its work;
a new duty to monitor progress on equality, human rights and good
relations between communities, through publishing a regular 'state
of the nation' report;
a new duty to promote good relations between and within communities,
across all sections of society;
an explicit role to combat prejudice and work to reduce crime
affecting particular communities, including new powers to monitor
hate crimes; and
regional presence in England, Scotland and Wales.