In the recent parliamentary debate on the government plans for the Equality and Human Right’s Commission I asked the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to justify the downgrading of the EHRC and to consider the messaget that it gives. You can read my contribution to the debate here.
Government plans for the EHRC are contained in the The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-2013. The Bill amends the Equality Act 2006 by repealing the Commission’s general duty to exercise its functions with a view to encouraging a society free from discrimination, to promote good relations and to provide conciliation services to resolve disputes. It also changes the Commission’s requirement to monitor progress from every three years to every five years.
All the sections in law that the Bill proposes to repeal in Clause 51 received cross-party support when the Equality Act 2006 progressed through Parliament and I am concerned that changes to the Commission will undermine the effectiveness and independence of the EHRC.