Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
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Home Office makes equality improvements after EHRC intervention

An agreement to help improve the UK Government’s treatment of people from ethnic minorities has concluded after the Home Office made improvements required by Britain’s equality regulator.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) put the legally-binding agreement in place after the Home Office failed to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) when implementing ‘hostile environment’ immigration measures. In particular, it had neglected to fully consider the impact its policies would have on black members of the Windrush generation.

The EHRC made a series of legally-binding recommendations to improve the Home Office’s compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty. The improvements, which have now been put in place, included:

  • The rollout of training on the Public Sector Equality Duty for all staff to ensure they are aware of their legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Improving the quality of advice to Ministers, to ensure that Ministers due regard to the equalities impacts of policy decisions
  • Regular identification and recording of equality and PSED compliance risks.
  • Clear ownership of PSED compliance at a senior level.

Some of the actions required as part of the agreement were not completed in time to meet the deadline of 31 March 2024; for example, how the Home Office considers the evidence gathered from stakeholders to better inform decision-making.

However, the Home Office has committed to continuing work on satisfying the remaining requirements and providing an update on progress to the EHRC later in the year.

Recognising the improvements that have already been made, as well as the ongoing work to complete the requirements, the EHRC has now decided to conclude the agreement.

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

“The Public Sector Equality Duty is a legal requirement for good reason. It makes the public bodies we all rely on fairer, more effective, and more representative of the communities they serve. As Britain’s equality watchdog, we have the power to take enforcement action where we see non-compliance, as we did in this case.

“In our role as an independent regulator, we worked closely with the Home Office to address our concerns in the most effective manner. Significant progress has since been made.

“While the Home Office could not complete all of our requirements in full by the 31 March deadline, we are satisfied that the department is committed to finishing the work and acknowledge the effort which has already gone into embedding our recommendations across the organisation.”

Channel website: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en

Original article link: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/home-office-makes-equality-improvements-after-ehrc-intervention

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