Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
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Commission publishes guidance on public sector procurement

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published new guidance yesterday to help public authorities in England comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) by giving due consideration to equality issues in their procurement processes.

Public authorities spend £236 billion each year on buying goods, works or services from other organisations. Buying Better Outcomes provides clear advice on what the law requires, together with practical examples, so that public authorities can see what they need, and don't need, to do to comply with the PSED.

Following the PSED can be an effective tool for directing resources to where the need is greatest and thus improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery.

It can allow organisations to better meet the needs of their customers, achieve better value for money and improve outcomes for disadvantaged groups. Complying with the PSED also helps ensure that organisations meet the requirements of European procurement law.

The Commission's guidance shows how organisations can take a proportionate approach to shaping and targeting of goods and services, whether it is simple, straightforward compliance with the law or following best practice examples.

The guidance also shows how, by using their purchasing power, public authorities can promote equality and, where appropriate, achieve wider social benefits. This could include, for example, creating training or employment opportunities to support disabled people into the workplace.

Dr Karen Jochelson, Director of the Commission’s Economy and Employment Programme said:

"There are a lot of myths about what organisations need to do to comply with the public sector equality duty and the amount of time and effort it involves. This guidance will help dispel some of the misconceptions by demonstrating what public authorities need to do as a basic minimum to ensure they comply with the law, as well as how they can take a best practice approach to using their procurement processes to improve equality outcomes.

"In developing this guidance, we have had extensive input from both procurement and equality professionals, to ensure that it is practical and user friendly. At its core, this is about providing goods and services in an innovative, cost effective and fair way to benefit both the organisations themselves and their customers."

For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on, 0161 829 8102, out of hours 07767 272 818.

Notes to Editors

  • ‘Buying better outcomes. Mainstreaming equality considerations in procurement’ is available at: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-and-guidance/public-sector-equality-duty/guidance-on-procurement/
  • The Commission will publish an additional suit of supporting materials including 4 training modules, PowerPoint presentations, case studies and references to further reading and complimentary products in April.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. It took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. It encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act and is recognised by the UN as an ‘A status’ National Human Rights Institute. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.

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