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Equality North East

Commission assesses public authorities on published equality information

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a new report on how public authorities in England have met their transparency obligations on equality.Just as councils publish information on their spending to prove value for money, the Commission monitors public authorities to ensure they are meeting their legal requirement to publish equality information to prove they are providing equal opportunities and making fair decisions.

The report reveals that only half of the public authorities assessed were responding fully to the requirements of the specific duty regulations1 to publish equality information such as the diversity of their staff and people who use their services.

Some of the results are encouraging - 78 per cent of authorities had taken some steps to publish equality information - but there is still a long way to go. For example, 16 per cent of public authorities had either published out of date or undated information, and six per cent hadnít published any information at all.

Assessing how well public authorities are meeting the specific duty regulations enables the Commission to work with underperforming authorities to help them improve.

The report sets out some recommendations for public authorities. These include: identifying best practice; comparing their own performance with other authorities in their sector; and using feedback from staff and service users on their published information to identify areas for improvement.

Mark Hammond, CEO of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

'It is important that decision-makers fully understand the implications of their decisions on equality and making sure they have the right information is a first step. Publishing the information helps everyone see how they are performing.'

'Using the equality duty intelligently can help public authorities use their resources more efficiently, targeting their services towards those who could benefit the most, and potentially avoids legal costs and changes to policies at a later stage.'

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December 10, 2012

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