Thanks to Kate Green (shadow minister for women and equalities) for her fiercely forthright response on 12 September to the government’s review of the public sector equality duty (PSED) ‘This,’ she said, ‘was an unnecessary and wasteful exercise in PR by a government which is turning the clock back on equalities.’ Referring to the committee that produced the report on the PSED she noted it ‘seems to have endorsed a “do as little as possible” approach to promoting equality, at a time when disabled people, women, black and ethnic minority groups are being hit especially hard by this government.’
Similar concerns and criticisms have been expressed on the websites of the TUC, Left Central, the Disability Rights Alliance and the Glasgow-based Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights. ‘The real problem with the duty,’ says the TUC comment, ‘is not “red tape overkill”, as the chair told the Telegraph, but a lack of awareness, resources, staffing, leadership and enforcement capacity to make the duty work properly.’
A brief blogpost published today expands on this with particular reference to the education system. It says that bespoke guidance for schools needs to explain the PSED’s three core concepts – discrimination, equality of opportunity and fostering of good relations – and the general duty of due regard. It needs also to explain how the two specific duties (publishing information and publishing measurable outcome-focused objectives) underpin and give substance to the general duty. It should take into account the excellent research recently undertaken for the government equalities office (GEO) by NatCen.
The blogpost published today was drafted by Bill Bolloten, Sameena Choudry, Gillian Klein, Berenice Miles and Robin Richardson, drawing on thoughts, concerns and ideas from many others. It can be read at
Confronting the Government on Inequalities –pre-conference memorandum to the opposition